Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

May 2, 2009

Making a Genealogy Time Capsule

When my husband and I were building our home in the country 12 years ago, we filled a 1-Litre plastic pop bottle with odds and ends of items for a make-shift Time Capsule. We dropped in coins, a note explaining who we were, and other small items that we thought would be fun for someone to find whenever our house is torn down. We sealed the bottle and dropped it between the walls of the basement.

Now our idea is to create a Genealogy Time Capsule to be found and opened in 100, 200 or even more years from now. So let me share with you our ideas for what we could put in our Genealogy Time Capsule.

1. Our Family Trees. Print a chart or create your own on a pre-printed blank tree.
2. Photographs of us, our family and other loved ones - all labelled on the reverse
3. Dated and signed letters that we write to whoever finds the Time Capsule
4. Newspaper Clippings - news, obituaries, anything of interest genealogically speaking
5. Copies of documents such as birth certificates, marriage records, family bible pages

We also plan to add such items as digital cameras (a non working one of course!), an old pair of glasses, an old watch, a couple of old keys - anything that we ourselves would love to find that belonged to someone 100 years ago. Think how much fun it would be to find a pair of glasses that your great great grandmother wore... Think in terms of artifacts that you'd like to find. What you use today will be an artifact in the future!

Burn a CD ROM with photos or other genealogical information. How about including a video? Sure it might not be able to be read in the future but then again, some information might be gleaned from it and a CD doesn't cost very much to include

Put in something you made - a doily that you crocheted, a scarf you knit, a needlepoint (does anyone do these anymore?), a picture you drew, a tiny figurine you carved from wood or soapstone. How about a favourite recipe? That would give future generations an idea of the kinds of food their ancestor made and ate. Even better if it's an old family recipe.

A child's toy, doll or stuffed animal would be nice to include, especially if you involve your children or grand-children in the project. Let them choose an item or two that says something about them. Perhaps they can write or print a little note to go with the item. Date it, put their name and draw a picture of themselves playing with it. Or take a photo of them playing with the toy.

You can add anything you want but our plan was to keep it as genealogy-related as possible. I'm definitely putting in coins from this year. What fun it would be to find coins that someone had put in a Genealogy Time Capsule 100 years ago!

Put all your items in ziplock plastic bags to help protect from water. Go crazy, let your imagination run wild. Involve your entire family and make this a way and time to spend some quality time together, quality time that involves genealogy.

My next post will give you our ideas and tips on containers you might want to use for your Genealogy Time Capsule. We have several different suggestions so stay tuned! We also have quite a few ideas for the location of your Genealogy Time Capsule so again if this is a project that sparks your interest, keep watching for that post on this blog.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Think how great it would have been if our ancestors from 100 or 200 years ago had made similar time capsules for us! Thanks for the dose of genealogical inspiration!

Stephanie at the Irish Genealogical Research blog

Jennifer said...

I have been thinking of a Time Capsule for our family too. Thank you for lots of ideas of what to include.