things to consider when you ponder the possibility
that some close family member or
family researcher you know was to pass away
there could be many aspects - - the focus here
is from the perspective of their genealogical research – and not the
of their loss)
CAVEAT – nothing herein should be construed to be “legal
advice”. In a specific case of your own – contact
your own lawyer as
many of you know of a family researcher who amassed a large amount
of research and activity and then passed away and chaos ensued as
to their records.
Here are some tips that any person should
follow - so that if anything happened to them - their research
would live on in a way that would not create mass chaos
upon their death.
I'm sure I must have missed various things - so any feedback as to other items would be greatly appreciated.
Researchers should have a record on paper file of their
accounts, user id’s and passwords (stored securely but with
knowing where) - and this applies to
any account types for
that matter. Keep in mind that another person (in the close
after the point of death – may be able to log on – and change
as email address and credit card info – so as to be able to retain the
the account and transfer ownership to a new
“custodian”. In some
cases you may wish to advise the vendor that the user is now deceased –
should consider the possibility that in many cases this may not be the
thing to do. You may be able to transfer the account to a new "custodian"
without the vendor even really realizing the person is deceased - and in many cases that may be perfectly ok.
Online Genealogical accounts
could include as an
example: FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findagrave etc.
Researcher should make sure that very select trustworthy few people have access to
In association with the above bullet – realize that any credit cards
with paid genealogical services – will need to be updated if the intent
keep the account alive.
Credit Card companies will usually not honor
transactions made after the person’s death date. (Don’t think you will
get away with creating credit card transactions after the death of the
and then not have to pay)
accounts that you should consider are also email
could be both work and personal). Is there
that is being kept in email format? Consider the possibility that a
who generates a lot of genealogy related email – should consider ways
extract those records from the email – and store them in pdf format on
portable hard drive or in a cloud storage system. There
may be ways to mass extract emails to a pdf file - without having to do
it one by one - if you do your research on the subject. Consider
that it might (or might not – depending ) be
good for someone to send a mass email out to address book
advise the of the death.
the researcher have recorded in some location that few select others
– a list of genealogical databases that may be on their computer and/or
What is there intention about who
these should be
passed on to. Consider the fact that information on
persons” could be in these files. Consider
though that passing these data file on to
the right person – could really eliminate countless hours of
by someone trying to replicate what the deceased once had.
- Some researchers have compiled
genealogical books and
reports based off of a genealogical database – preserving this database
passing on to someone who knows how to use it – could allow for a
updated release of the compilation – with someone else making
additions and updates (without having to re-enter eveything from scratch)
records – Researchers should really highly consider the option to
records – while they are still alive and can do it. They
should also look
into options of “high speed scanning” versus the very slow
top scanner. Most large office copy machines now
days – can scan
hundreds of pages in a minute or two. Scanning can take much
less time than the average person thinks - if the right tools and methodologies
in my experience way too many people wait to digitize until after they
have there records cleaned up, after they have it organized, after they
write a book or report, after they have all the photos labeled . . .
after, after, after, and before we know it they are six feet
under . . . and we have nothing. . . when we could have had a digital
copy - even if of less organized records - if they would have only done
that FIRST and not LAST. Organizing, sorting, labeling,
annotating can all be done with digital records - much easier than it
can be with paper records.
And if you are someone
that thinks you have many decades ahead of you
dont forget that "proverbial bus" that everyone keeps warning
us of - that we may get hit by.
Who knows . . . tomorrow could be that day.