Family History: 13 questions to ask yourself before you throw it out

Family History Organization

13 Questions to ask Yourself before you throw it out

  1. Does the item now, or will it ever interest me?
  2. Do I think people 50 years from now will find it interesting?
  3. Does it help me to get to know or understand someone?  Some things that I have found help me to know my great-grandmother, who I have no memory of.  Will it help my great-grandchildren to know me?
  4. Does it embarrass?  Would I want my children or grandchildren to know that about me or relate that item to me?  If not perhaps my ancestor wouldn’t either.  Then again, if it shows that someone overcame an obstacle or problem and could be an inspiration to ones posterity it might be worth keeping anyway.
  5. Does it contribute?  Does the item or information tell something about the time period or lifestyle it is from? Does it cause happiness or sadness?
  6. Is it preservable or in good enough shape to bother?  There are some things you will be better off to just keep a photograph of.
  7. Even if it doesn’t have sentimental or family history value, will it or does it have monetary value?  Is it or will it be a collector’s item?  Will I wish I had sold it rather than put it in the trash or donated it to a second hand store?
  8. Do I have the space for it?  Is it important enough to deserve that space?  Is it worth the time to dust it or provide any other care or maintenance that keeping it might involve?
  9. Does it add detail to the personal history or family history story?  Will it help to give the story color or life?
  10. If the item is mine, would I treasure it if it had been left to me by an ancestor or would I only keep it because I felt guilty getting rid of it?
  11. Does it contain anything personal enough that it should be shredded rather than just put  in the trash?  (social security numbers, account information, names and addresses)
  12. What is the worst thing that could happen if I throw it away?
  13. Do I just absolutely LOVE IT?   If so, none of the previous questions matter.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *