The Library of Congress has its archive, as does the British Library. Henry Ford has his archive and the Marx Brothers have theirs. There are, it would appear, archives of typewriters and trees, dreams and love letters, and even an archive concerned with dirty linen (which is not generally open to the public its website states without a hint of irony). Today, I am pleased to announce, a new on-line archive has joined the shelf-full of archives out there: let me introduce you to the Burnett Family Archives.
I have always been a collector and a classifier. Whatever occupies my time and attention - be it tobacco pipes or flat caps, vintage postcards or 78 rpm records - before too long I have started a database to record it and a classification system to encompass it. So it is inevitable that, as I have become more and more fixated with my own family history, I have gathered material together - photographs, diaries, postcards and odds and ends - into an archive of sorts.
I would like to hand all this material on to whichever member of the next generation of my extended family steps forward to carry the genealogical torch into the future; but you can never be sure who that is going to be. I could leave the material in a cardboard box - whether real or digital - in the hope that someone might discover it, but such an approach is full of dangers. Computer-held information has a habit of dying when computers die, and storage devices have a life expectancy shorter than that of a moth.
The best answer I have been able to come up with is the cloud, and I have therefore established the Burnett Family Archives as a Flickr Group. Anyone can access the material and any member of the family can add to it. It might not result in the story of the Burnett Family being carved in everlasting granite, but it keeps me out of mischief for an hour or two.