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Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past, by Marian Burk Wood

genealogy heirlooms

What will happen to your ancestor photos, family heirlooms, and genealogy documents when you someday join your ancestors? The new year is a good time to plan for passing family history to future generations.

Planning a Future for Your Family's Past

Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past by Marian Burk Wood offers a practical, step-by-step process for getting your collection in shape for the next generation and beyond. Wood’s concise book shows how to prepare by inventorying and organizing family-history items, indexing documents to tease out new clues, and keeping items safe through proper storage.

Wood devotes two chapters to sorting and curating your collection. The goal is to keep important items in the family while identifying items that can go to distant relatives or be donated to an institution such as an historical society. She suggests recruiting future heirs for your collection—such as younger relatives or an appropriate institution—and she includes a sample genealogical “will” as a starting point for writing your own instructions to the family. In addition, she provides pages of online resources and sample forms so you can put together your own plan.

Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past [98 pages, (c) 2016) by Marian Burk Wood is available from as a paperback ($11.99) or in digital format ($3.99]. Wood is a professional author and genealogy speaker who has spent more than two decades tracing her family tree. She blogs about genealogy at