Leaving a legacy online

Geneology with Kristin Butcher

Most genealogists have rooms full of binders, documenting their years of research, because genealogists are nothing if not thorough.

But what happens to all that material when the family genealogist is gone? Perhaps a son or daughter will take over and add a few binders of his or her own. It’s a nice thought, but chances are that won’t happen. It is my experience that relatives like to hear the stories, but they aren’t interested in carrying on the research. So, if you’re lucky, your binders will end up in someone’s basement or attic unless you leave them to your local genealogy society.

This situation has been on my mind recently. You see, I’ve been checking out the calendar, and though my heart and soul argue to the contrary, the numbers say I’m getting uncomfortably close to becoming research material for future genealogists. OUCH! I can’t stop time, but I can—I hope—make the nuggets of family history I’ve found interesting to my descendants.

Enter: the ‘aha’ moment. I shall write the stories down. After all, stories are what I do. And I shall make sure that everyone in the family—whether they live across the country or across the world—has access to them. Instantly. Any time. Forever.

It is the age of the Internet, and I intend to take advantage of it. I am not a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but I am still able to put together a website – I’ve done it several times for my writing. (Check me out:  www.kristinbutcher.com )

But this website will be all about family. Anyone can visit it, but it will be devoted to the family ancestors. My family history will be online.

It will be very different from genealogy binders though. It will be dead simple (excuse the pun), both in content and navigation.  I shall include only the very basic statistics, photos if I have them, a map to show location—those sorts of things. Primarily, the site will focus on the stories I have unearthed about my ancestors. You’d be amazed how many there are. And, as I’ve said before, everyone loves a good story.

So that is my 2016 goal. I shall set up a family history site, and I shall update it as I learn more, so when the time comes that my kids need to know—and I’m not there to tell them—the answers will be there. I shall also make it possible to comment on the material there. My hope is that other relatives I don’t know—yet may contribute to my family history too.

Of course, I shall still keep the more in-depth records, on the off-chance someone may one day want to know more detail.

If you’re a bit of a voyeur – or a fellow genealogist or historian – or just a lover of stories, stay tuned. When the site is up and running, I shall post a link.




Need help researching your own family? Contact

The Campbell River Genealogy Society

Maritime Heritage Centre