Genealogy Time Capsule

     Once again I am writing this blog surrounded by construction debris and piles of dust.  Having unearthed my computer from its protective cocoon of plastic wrap has allowed the dust to colonize yet another area of the house and will most likely soon render the computer inoperable. Lest you be thinking that I will soon be living in a house worthy of a photography session in House and Garden let me disabuse you of that notion.  This is more a “we have to do it or the whole think is going to collapse” sort of remodel.  When I attempted to stay home on Thursday having contracted whatever plague is going around I heard the workers under my bedroom window saying, “You think there’s an animal living in there?”  This was followed by the response, “Nah, I think Jack chased it out yesterday.”

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I am still without access to most of my genealogy stuff. I am, however, occasionally able to read other genealogy blogs, although usually long after their original posting, and I saw that Bill West at West in New England had asked folks to write about what they would place in a genealogical time capsule.  This is a post I can write without any actual data, so I’m all over it.  It is also helpful to have missed the requested deadline and have read all the other actually thoughtful and interesting responses.

My first thought is that my time capsule is MINE and will be a twisted reflection of the oft-repeated phrase “history is written by the victors.”  My family history research has made it clear to me that all of my ancestors were liars.  They lied about everything, to my great frustration as a researcher, but who am I to mess with family tradition. So, my time capsule will contain pictures of me and my offspring, but only the best looking ones, with a little help from Photoshop. If it appears to my descendents that the body simply does not match the head, that’s their problem.

It would be nice to include a well-sourced, extremely accurate version of my family history to date.  Unfortunately, such a document does not exist.  What they will get is the poorly sourced, mostly accurate, and occasionally incomprehensible current version. “Hey descendents, if you think you’re so smart, you figure it out.”

I would have to include personal mementos of life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, including:

1.  One of each of the various pills that have been prescribed for me during my life, only to be withdrawn from the market after we learned that they actually kill people.  No wonder I’m dead.

2.  My favorite recipes. No wonder I’m dead.

3.  All of my exercise equipment.  Oh wait, there isn’t any.  No wonder I’m dead.

4.  My report card from the fourth grade.  My kids didn’t want it, now you’re stuck with it.

5.  All of the TV and internet ads of the 2012 presidential campaign.  Please tell me it doesn’t sound familiar.

6.  The story of my life.  It was fun, really, almost all of it.


Now, how to insure that my time capsule is found in a hundred years or so.









First, be sure to bury it somewhere that will not be under water due to global warming.

Second, put it anywhere but inside this house.  I know this house is going to fall down no matter what we do, hopefully without us inside.

Lastly, provide a series of intricate and painfully difficult to decipher clues to find it.  Intricate, painfully difficult to decipher clues will make it appear that there is actually something valuable inside.  I have no doubt greed will survive the twenty first century.

It’s been fun thinking about my time capsule.  I know that the goal of family historians and time capsules is to preserve the past.  I think I have achieved the more common human result, reinventing the past.


Click on the photos to link to the websites of their creators.



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