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  • Writer's pictureDevon Noel Lee

5 Things To Do With Finished Genealogy Research

what to do when you finish your family tree

As genealogists, we should always keep an eye on preserving our family history. As such, we must also consider the ultimate question of, "What will we do with our genealogy when we finish our research?"

Here are five things to do as you're working toward finishing your family tree.

Update Your Will

Before you finish your genealogy research, update your will. Previously I interviewed a lawyer who happens to be a genealogist. She shared how important it is to write into our swill that our digital assets can go to an heir.

With that language and official documentation, your descendants should receive access to the genealogy websites you have created.

Additionally, designate your descendants on the genealogy platforms that you use.

Additionally, identify who should obtain the physical historically significant assets. Specify them in your will, or consider giving them these items before you pass because gifting is better than probating.

Finally, consider donating your genealogy research to libraries and archives. In this post, I share 5 Tips for Donating Your Genealogy Research.

Account Access Plan B

Consider creating a list of passwords and user ids for all of your genealogy accounts. After my mother died, she had written down a few logins for crucial websites. This list helped me start handling her estate.

However, I wish she had included her social media and genealogy website logins. I could more easily have notified friends and families of her passing. Then, I could download relevant genealogical information before closing out her accounts.

Create a Project

When you create a project, your relatives can connect with their heritage in new ways. Give one of these three examples a try:

  • Use MyCanvas. My Canva is accessible using an Ancestry subscription. You can order charts, books, prints, calendars, and other displays.

  • Create a Wall Chart. There are a variety of wall charts to highlight the people in your family tree. I showcased several neat family trees and charts in this video. The following companies can assist you with these charts.

    • Family Chartmasters

    • Genealogy Wall Charts

    • Gould Genealogy Wall Chart Printer Recommendations

  • Create a Family History Video. Turning photos and stories into an audio/visual presentation can dramatically impact how our loved ones connect to the past. Learn How to Create Family History Videos that Pack a Punch.

For more insights about this topic, watch the full video.

Make Your Private Family Trees Publically Accessible

Not all of your relatives will care about your family tree research when you pass away. If you have a private family tree on Ancestry, MyHeritage, or Findmypast, please make it public.

Suppose your heirs do not want to manage your genealogy research. They may neglect your work or discard it entirely.

By making your trees public, a third cousin once removed who is actively researching your surname can have access to the excellent research that you created.

Place Your Family Tree Research Everywhere

While doing genealogy research, you may have planted your family tree in one location. When you've finished working on a branch, share that information with all genealogy research websites. Make sure your genealogy research is available on the following websites:

  • Ancestry

  • FamilySearch

  • MyHeritage

  • Findmypast

  • WikiTree

  • Geni

If there are other websites, let me know.

Once again, I recommend Donating Your Genealogy Research.

Write Family Stories

After you finish researching an ancestor, consider publishing their story. If you write as you go, you will have the overwhelming task of writing 'the family history big book.'

Instead, you'll have a collection of stories. Try writing a short story of about 600 words. Or follow the Recipe for Writing Family History method to create a biography for your ancestor. Also, consider creating a family history scrapbook focused on one ancestor.

The possibilities are endless. Train yourself to stop researching once in a while and write those stories.

When I pass away, my children and cousins will have:

  • a published memoir

  • two published narratives about my ancestors

  • over 60 scrapbooks

  • 120+ drafts for additional narratives

My heirs can pick up where I left off and enjoy the legacy I preserved for them.

↪️ Do you want to write a family history book?

Grab your copy of this FREE Writing Guide:

laptop and writing notes with title Free Guide: 5 Steps to Quickly Write Family Histories

May you have a long life with many genealogy research discoveries. Take these tips into consideration while making those discoveries. If you plan well, your research will carry long into the future.

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