Backing Up My Brain

A pillowcase embroidered by my great-grandmother - that woman worked 12-14 hour days and still had too much time on her hands, I'm tellin' ya!

I am very pleased with the course of today’s genealogy work! Though I still have reams of notes from both the UGA Conference and the research I did at the FHL to sort and categorize, I did not tackle that project today. Instead, I took advantage of the rare fact that my father and brother are in town (their jobs have them on the road a lot), and used my dad for two things:

1) A genealogy y-DNA test (46 markers) that I have been putting off having him do for years – finally done!

2) Going around his house and photographing every significant heirloom I could see and getting his story about the origins and meaning of it, which I then wrote down on the computer in conjunction with the number of the photo.

Though I’m thrilled about both, I’m particularly glad I did the second – we have a lot of STUFF in our family passed down from his side, wonderful things, old things, but I realized with all this talk of backing up our computers, do we ever think to back up our brains? Who will keep this information if I turn into a vegetable tomorrow? If I’m the repository, isn’t it my job to not only back up my GEDCOMS, but also my memories and the information I’ve collected? I keep asking him to remind me who that chair was from or where that set of china originated – now I don’t have to ask anymore. It’s documented and saved! We didn’t go through every single thing – some of it’s still in boxes. But the majority is catalogued,  it was done in only a few hours, and I feel much better for it. Now I just need to get it printed and perhaps save another copy in EverNote or some other place people can find it.

If you have a collection of heirlooms you are holding onto for the family, have you catalogued and documented them? Will anyone else remember what they are or where they came from if you were to get abducted by aliens tomorrow?  If not, you might try this method. Taking a few digital photos and making some notes in a place people will find it might mean the difference between forgotten heirlooms and treasured keepsakes. It’s not unlike putting a name on the back of a photo – and how often have you wished someone had done that?

© 2011, copyright Genealady & JustFolks

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