The author, Thomas MacEntee, age 3 months being held by his mother, Jacqueline Austin MacEntee.
Going to RootsTech next week? Visit Forever.com at booth 415 in the Expo Hall and find out how you can preserve your family’s memories forever.
Do you have a favorite aunt or uncle that you remember from your childhood? Is it the sound of their voice, the way they laughed or told a joke, or perhaps how they dressed that recall most? Can you put your finger on what makes their influence in your life memorable?
What about your own chance to be remembered? Besides the “what” that will be remembered about you by friends and family, have you considered the challenge of “how” you will be remembered?
Documenting Our Own Legacies
As a genealogist and family historian, I often observe this situation: we have mad skills when it comes to documenting the lives of our parents, grandparents and other ancestors. However, we often get so wrapped up in “the hunt” that we do not dedicate time to preserving our own memories and important aspects of our lives.
So do we just leave that for our descendants to do? With the current concern about privacy and information, what will be available to those researching our lives? So if you aren’t going to take the reins and control what is remembered about you, be prepared to have your life story written by someone else.
Social Media, Smart Phones and The Baby Boomer
And can we talk about the abundance of tools available for preserving our own memories? As a Baby Boomer, I grew up with what I thought was great technology, but I’m blown away by everything that is now available at my fingertips. Here is my typical week in terms of social media and smart phone usage when it comes to documenting my life:
- Lots of time spent on Facebook discussing growing up in New York during the 1960s and 1970s. I love nostalgia (like most Baby Boomers) and just the other day my friends and I discussed television shows like Batman, Laugh-In and The Sonny and Cher show!
- I take tons of photos and not just at family events! If I’m attending a genealogy conference, I document my work life. I even take photos of torture devices (aka the elliptical trainer) at my gym as I struggle to stay in shape. My iPhone is always filled with photos that I’m offloading to a cloud site or my computer.
- Pinterest is an obsession as well (my family says I need a “Pintervention”) since it is fun to gather similar items and post them to my boards. I’ve created ancestor timelines on Pinterest and also boards filled with old family photos. Plus, I often get inspiration from other pins on Pinterest!
All this content producing and gathering and guess what? It is all over the place! Sort of like “virtual clutter.” If anyone asked me to find a specific photo or a message I’ve posted, I wouldn’t know where to start . . .
Beware the Digital Dark Ages
Besides locating your “memory markers” as I call them, is the issue of “data loss” on your radar as the Chief Memory Officer for your family? What happens if a website you are using to store items such as photos, videos and more just shuts down? It happens more often than you think!
As a tech expert in the genealogy field, I always urge users to embrace these important practices when it comes to uploading and using personal content:
- Always read the Terms of Service: Ideally you would do this before you create a login, but definitely before you upload any data. The “TOS” will govern not just what the site can do with your data, but also what you can do with your own uploaded data.
- Have a Data Exit Strategy: Remember when MyCanvas or MyFamily by Ancestry.com shut down? Many users scrambled to offload their data before the announced shut down date . . . only to find out that the export function didn’t include one data type or another. ALWAYS do a dry run by exporting all your data and look at the end result. Can you use it? What format is used for the export?
- Futureproof Your Technology: Don’t fall behind on updates and migrating to new data types. All it takes is for a few sites to stop supporting a file format and then POOF! . . . you are at the mercy of third-party vendors who will charge a pretty penny to convert your data.
Why Forever.com Works for Me
One crucial part of my current formula for memory preservation is missing: I’m not ensuring that all these items are safe and secure in one convenient place and forever. Not just for me to access, but to share with my family and to make certain that these memory items “live on” after me. That’s where Forever.com comes to the rescue!
I recently discovered Forever.com which offers one home for all my memories, my stories and special moments. The process is easy and I can make sure that everything that’s important to me gets stored safely and securely.
And remember what I said about “forever” and how some cloud storage sites just disappear? Forever.com is the only site I’ve found that is committed to “permanence” which means forever. Period. Here is what I mean, with a quote taken from the Forever.com website:
Forever has the patent pending Forever Guarantee, a contractual commitment to each and every permanent Forever Storage customer that we will preserve their content for their lifetime plus 100 years, with a goal of many generations beyond.
What a great idea! It is right there in the Terms of Service for Forever.com:
“4.1 FOREVER Guarantee. Forever guarantees that Content will be preserved and accessible (using then current formats and supported devices based on FOREVER’s best judgment and assessment of future technology) in your FOREVER Guaranteed Permanent Account for the lifetime of the Guaranteed Member and 100 years thereafter (‘Guaranteed Period’).”
Forever.com has set up an “investment plan” whereby a portion of your purchase price is set aside to ensure that your content on Forever.com is protected for generations. This “FOREVER Guarantee Fund” is separate from the day-to-day operating activities of Forever.com
In my popular lecture and book After You’re Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research, I discuss working with an estate planning advisor to make sure that your genealogy research, photos, documents and more are adequately protected and distributed according to your wishes. Guess what? Forever.com has that covered in its Terms of Service:
“4.3 Preservation and Control of Guaranteed Permanent Accounts
FOREVER enables you to determine how your Guaranteed Permanent Account and Content is preserved and managed after your death.
You may designate a sequence of people to act as Account Managers for your Guaranteed Permanent Account. You grant an Account Manager full or partial control over your Guaranteed Permanent Account and Content.
FOREVER will preserve your Guaranteed Permanent Account and Content after your death in accordance with your Account settings.”
You won’t find these features with any of the cloud storage sites you are currently using. Not Dropbox. Not Amazon. Not Google.
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Take a close look at the photo at the top of this article. It is me in March 1963, aged 3 months being held by my mother who recently passed away. It is probably the most precious item I have in my possession right now. I have the original photo, I’ve preserved it in archival safe materials, and I’ve created a high-resolution scan. And now, I need to make sure it lives on forever with Forever.com.
If I don’t do this, who will?
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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.
©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.