Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dear Abby's Advice on Family Heirlooms

Today's Dear Abby column was very interesting. To read it click on One of the letters was from a couple who have inherited family heirlooms from their parents and childless aunts and uncles including "a Family Bible, military memorabilia, photos of pets, etc." Their house is becoming cluttered with the stuff and they want to know how to dispose of it. (Boy isn't that a problem most of us genealogists wish we had?)

Abby's advice starts out fairly good, she recommends donating the Bible and the photos to the state historical society. (Though I'm not sure pet photos would rank on a state historical society list of things they want to acquire). She then goes on to comment that the military memorabilia could be appraised and might be quite valuable. The she advises that the rest could be sent to a consignment shop or a thrift store.

Hmmm. What about other family members? Could another family member possibly be interested? There are more than just direct descendants, there may be cousins and such who would love to be the caretaker. Too bad that Abby didn't know about the various websites that reunite Family Bibles and family photos with their owners. Yes, you could donate the military memorabilia to a museum or a historical society but there might be family members that may be interested.

This is a good lesson for us as genealogists to make sure that we discuss with our family where our precious genealogy information and heirlooms should go before we pass on. Plus make sure that they people you plan on willing it to want it. If they don't, start making plans now to will it to a society, museum or some entity that will want it.

1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

Reading that column was a little scary. I hope that I am "competent" enough to inventory everything I want to be saved and passed down to family members as well as have a list of genealogy organizations that would accept the research if no one in the family wants it.