How I almost threw away priceless genealogy papers

How I almost threw away priceless genealogy papers

Recently, while throwing out some old papers so I could reuse folders for tax filings, I made a discovery: a set of priceless genealogy records that I thought had been lost.

The first sheet was a hand-drawn family tree in Chinese from my wife's mother's family in Taiwan. I remember asking her to draw it on a visit 10 years ago, and she graciously did so in her beautiful Chinese handwriting. She also explained additional details including occupation and her siblings' marriage status:

taiwanese family tree written in chinese

Sheets #2 and #3 were my notes of a 2015 phone interview with a distant cousin on my father's side of the family. Not only was it great to rediscover these notes, but I had taken them on the back of a photocopied 1886 will from my great-great-great grandfather, an immigrant from Scotland! I had paid a researcher from the New England Historical Genealogical Society to track them down, and had also assumed they were lost:

1886 will

To think that I almost threw them out with a bunch of old insurance statements and kids' school records! All three sheets are now protected by acid-free document protectors and placed in sturdy genealogy binders I have for each branch of our family.

But I also learned a valuable lesson: Don't mix genealogy papers with other records. They might get thrown out by accident. Create a genealogy filing system to protect the important genealogy papers that you will gather over the years, from "true documents" to paper genealogy charts.

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