Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Content at Before My Time is protected by copyright and may not be copied for publication elsewhere without permission. © T. K. Sand.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Royalties? Or Royal Tease? You decide!

Have you found a little Queen in your family tree? If you haven't yet, you will today!

Friday, April 08, 2016

What You Can Do with Unwanted Family Archives

I've read a few items lately pertaining to the problem of what can be done with historical items such as photographs and documents when there is no family member who wants to keep them. Some of them come to us when our parents or grandparents pass on. When there are no children to inherit them, many times these personal treasures are handed over to second-hand dealers who sell them, and they end up being purchased by others who may or may not regard them as valuable historical items.

Some people use them in collage or craft projects--yes, I know, we are genealogists here and we are all shuddering at the very thought! We would never do that!

Some people recognize that the items may be of value to someone now or in the future. The first step they take is to digitize the items and post them online somewhere, in hopes that a family member will come upon them and claim them. I've done that myself here at Before My Time, and was able to turn over a couple different items to people who were glad to get them. I have to admit, it's a little bit thrilling to be able to do that, and maybe all the moreso because I waited years for the items to be found!

And what about our own archives that we, as genealogists and family historians, have devoted untold hours of our lives building? What if our own descendants are not interested in inheriting and making a safe and thermally proper home for our real family treasures--great grandfather's portrait and communion certificate, grandma & grandpa's marriage license, that box of tintypes and daguerrotypes and cabinet cards? Etc!

I'm no authority on how to handle this problem, but it seems to me that if there's no family member waiting impatiently to claim these items, maybe the best thing to do with them is to inquire at facilities whose business it is to maintain historical and research materials. The items may be offered to local or state organizations such as libraries and genealogical or historical societies. These are the places you and I would check if we were researching our ancestors, aren't they? It just makes sense to try to find a home for the items at a place where someone would come looking for them someday.

I have found items of interest for my own research in several such places. In addition, I happen to know that a cousin of mine was able to place such a collection at a well-established historical society which welcomed the items, and they'll be available there for generations to come.

In the long run, that may be a much better idea than trying to hand off items to family members whose interest level in family history is unremarkable, which is nothing but a short-term solution to the long-term problem of maintaining historical items.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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