What is your legacy plan for your accounts, trees, dna and records?

+23 votes
We do a lot of work on genealogy.  But evidently, we can't take it with us when it comes time to enter our death date.

Recently, a brilliant Russian scientist from St Petersburg passed away

She took advantage of the end of communism to begin an exhaustive search of her family, help them find their way "out of their closet" for protection,  get the court papers about those assassinated by Lenin and Stalin and spread her network including to myself.

On my English side, I have corresponded with my de Vere Hunt cousin, who has taken the expensive step of putting together a wonderful huge  book, well researched - and indicates what is known and not known - its the second edition and he is looking toward a third - at the age of almost 80.  

I am seeing aged people with important DNA samples, trees etc who havent visited their various sites for some time now and sometimes wonder the worst.  In fact, in doing some research to connect with one, I saw their obituary which was the first thing that came up on google

I thought that it would be worth generating a discussion to remind ourselves of the important of a legacy plan and checklist, etc
in The Tree House by Lloyd de Vere Hunt G2G6 Mach 3 (33.5k points)
edited by Ellen Smith
Great question and a good point of discussion!!!
it is a very good question! At FT in y DNA surname studies quite a number of the initial participants have passed since the initial founding of the company, and left no legacy, so there is no way to do anything else with their kits, and b/c of privacy there are strict guidelines that must be followed to access their kits. Legacy is an important consideration!

And the other consideration of course is simply contact is lost, for whatever the reason,....

Personally, I treasure my wikitree account and would wish it to continue, glad to have add profile managers in many instances, Have my brother and some cousins on WT but I honestly don't think my kids would bother.

I'll check to see if I can add a statement at wikitree.
Oh, and my paper stuff goes to Bedford County Virginia Museum.
Thanks for asking such and important question. Now that many of my elders are gone I wish I had taken time to get their stories.

7 Answers

+10 votes
I actually don't have anything organised or arranged.

There is noone from the younger generations in my family or in my husbands family showing any interest in the family tree at this time (in 2018)

As long as I keep the living (unlisted) profiles to a minimum, the rest can probably stay online as orphaned profiles, although I would hate for them to be orphaned.

I hope to still be here in 20 years and maybe things might change in that time...

My DNA will just stay on the websites where it has been uploaded...
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+11 votes

For the case of Wikitree, you can specify on your profile what should be done with the profiles you manage. See Help:Advance Directive.

Other services may have beneficiaries you can specify, e.g. FamilyTreeDNA.

by Stephen Reeves G2G5 (5.6k points)
Thank you Stephen!
Thanks for the pointer
+7 votes
I look upon my genealogy legacy as being in about 4 parts:

1) My one name study of Rowley for which a) I've sent 2 file cabinets of paper up to NEHGS archives where they don't charge even non-members; b) Gave them permission and they accepted it to take responsibility of my website RowleyResearch.org and provide a home for it; and c) I send them regularly a copy of my database which will be used to write a book for this One-Name Study upon my demise with my annuity I have given them.They already have the software to run the database.

2) My personal genealogy is being spread among as many of my nephews, children, and grandchildren who will accept a digital copy of all my records (of who two have agreed). Meanwhile I am scanning and electronic filing by family, individual, photos, and papers my full collection which gives them, including my cousins to want it since I am the oldest of my generation. That will be distributed as a first version this Christmas to all cousins who I've been able to contact. All were enthusiastic. I will slip their genealogy i with it so that they can figure out who the people are.

3) My books and left over papers will be left to my daughter or nephew who are both interested. They can decide who gets them and how to divide them. If not, they can go to a local library or my sister can sell them.

4) My trees on each of the sites on which I am active: Some I will leave instructions for them to be informed that I am deceased and my work will be inactive or be deleted, at my daughter's option. Other's will be taken over by her or other friends or cousins as they decide to divide it up. I have left a list and how to access each one.  That same applies to my other digital footprints on the internet, such as on Amazon with my Amazon books
by Judy Bramlage G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
edited by Judy Bramlage
+8 votes
I was working on my suggestions and went to add some sources and found out a guy I corresponded with for quite some time had passed - and he was a key guy in the one line - I am sure I will find what I needed later but it got me thinking about this - All my work!!  Who will carry it on? Will anyone care? will it all just be tossed?

I guess it would be wise to set up a few things so that if one of the kids gets into it they can pick up and go with it - and send the rest to younger cousins - Thanks for the reminder

And here is to Tony Schoonover and all the work he did that helped me and so many cousins
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
+6 votes
The reason for working on Wikitree is to share the stuff that is on paper in my office. (Throw out some paper?) I worked in the 1990s for my father who was interested. His sister was interested and now her granddaughter. I am trying to work out where to leave my Pomeroy book (400 copies), now online, it was my grandmother's. I am wondering if any of the Rufus Soule heirs wants the photo I have in a guilt frame from my father. I have started inviting cousins to Wikitree, one just accepted and started adding stuff. I have a few other books, does anyone want books anymore? Our library stopped accepting donations. I added the directive to my profile.
by Sue Hall G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
+5 votes
1. Organization. I am in the process of organizing my data for easy transfer and use.

2. Saturation. I keep a personal family tree, and I contribute to a number of online sites/trees, including WikiTree.

3. Donation. I am donating hard copies of my family tree to local archives in specific places.

Hopefully this all helps ensure that my research long outlives me.
by Ryan Ross G2G6 Mach 3 (31.5k points)
+4 votes

Perhaps we could compile of a list of interested "WikiConservators" who would be willing to be added to the Trusted List of someone's unlisted profiles?  I wouldn't do this without asking them first, but at least there would be people available, if a WikiTreer can't find anyone else to serve.

"If a member is unreachable for an extended period of time, or we discover that they have passed away, we need to delete the private profiles that they were managing unless there are other family members on the Trusted Lists of those profiles. See Death of a Member.

To prepare for this, it's best that you make sure every private profile you're managing has others on the Trusted List."


by David Brodeur G2G6 (7.5k points)

David, that's a good idea, except for one problem - that paragraph says "other family members", not just other interested parties.  That rather limits the candidates.  I don't know how they determine whether someone is a family member, how closely related they have to be (e.g. is a 'cousin' acceptable).

That's a bit narrow interpretation, don't you think?  If a member's account is inactivated at death, the others on the Trusted List will still control an Unlisted profile.  No one needs to check anything.  Just as no one is checked for why they were "Trusted" when they were added in the first place.

"Trusted Lists are about Privacy, not Control"

If someone needs help to "backstop" their Unlisted profiles, I'd be happy to consider it.  

It's my understanding, and personal experience, that people who are Aspergers-like are often very literal, takes things too literally, even idioms.  I probably did take it too literally.

I did think it was a good idea, but wasn't sure it was allowable.
I didn't mean to be offensive in my reply, Rob.  Thanks for considering my idea.

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