Thursday, March 15, 2012

Creating a Time Capsule

Blogger Bill West at West in New England asks how other genealogists would go about creating a time capsule to be opened in 100 years.
1 Make a list of what you would put in a time capsule and why you'd chooseeach item.
2, What would you use for the time capsule? Where would you have it kept? 
First: I would not put in any CDs, DVDs, or Flash Drives.

Doing a little spring cleaning recently I came across some 3.5 inch diskettes and wondered what was on them. I remembered I had a USB floppy drive - somewhere.  I was able to find it, however, I last  used that drive a few years ago.  We're talking 100 years?

Sure.  I could put a new computer in the time capsule, and assume it would operate in 100 years.  But would there be any way to transfer the documents from the computer to whatever devices are being used at that time?  And no batteries will last that long -- how certain are we that electronic devices will be plugged into wall sockets in the exact same way as they are today?  What kind of wall sockets were in use in 1912?  (Answer: The two-pin socket was invented in 1904. The grounded socket was invented in 1915.)

So I would eschew storing any data on any electronic storage medium for this time capsule.

1) I would store photographs, clearly labeled with names, places, and dates.
2) I would store printed copies of genealogy registers
3) I would get family members to write down any stories of their own lives they'd like to share with the future, and I would do the same.

I would store these in an air-tight container.  But where would I place it?

I would be hesitant to bury the container...where would it be buried where the family might have access to un-bury it in a 100 years?  Community Time Capsules have an easy answer burying it on government property, private families do not.

I would be hesitant to use a safety deposit box...why burden future generations with paying for that safety deposit box?  I suspect a future generation might decide to open it beforehand rather than letting it sit for additional decade(s)

I'm not really sure the best answer to this question.

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