The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
This is Part #1 of a 2-part series.
We often take email for granted these days. For many people, it is a process of writing a quick note, reading a return note, clicking DELETE, and then moving on. However, is deleting a good idea? I can think of at least two reasons why we might want to archive all our email messages, both sent and received. One reason is genealogy-related, the other is not.
Did you inherit family heirlooms of letters great-grandfather sent to great-grandmother during the war? Or perhaps other letters written for other purposes? While love letters are always great for sentimental reasons, other letters, even business correspondence, can offer great insights into the lives of our ancestors. Will your descendants have similar feelings about the correspondence that you write?
Of course, nowadays the art of writing letters on paper, sealing them into an envelope, and mailing them is quickly becoming lost. Future genealogists probably will not have letters available from the early twenty-first century in the same manner that we save letters from earlier times. Today, email is the preferred method of correspondence. Are you going to deny your descendants access to your correspondence?
Another reason for saving email messages is for you to retrieve such messages in the future. I have saved all my email messages for years and frequently refer to past messages. What was Aunt Mildred's telephone number? How about remembering a relative's birthday? Then again, how about that message that a distant cousin sent about his or her findings in the family tree? If you keep an archive of all your past messages, finding that information again is trivial.
Luckily, archiving all your messages is easy to do. You probably don't even need to change your email address or the service you presently use.
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