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A Genealogist In The Archives

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Preserving Diaries and Journals


"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #20

Diaries and journals are some of the most unique records that can be found in family records. Many genealogists can only hope that they will receive or inherit diaries or journals from their deceased family members or ancestors. These very personal record sources have helped many genealogy researchers by supplying dates of events, family secrets, family tragedies and family successes.


Preserving diaries and journals can prolong the life of the record. The process is quite simple and only takes purchasing a couple of archival items.

You will need:

An Archival Box: In the Houston County, TN. Archives we like to use this Adjustable 1-Piece Rare Book Box OR the Clamshell Custom Rare Book Box, which can be purchased at any online archival supply store.

Adjustable 1-Piece Rare Book Box











Clamshell Rare Book Box



























                                                                           
Archival Tissue Paper: Tissue paper is not always necessary in this process but in an archive setting we like to use archival tissue paper to wrap the diary or journal for additional protection before the book is placed in the book box. Also, if there are pasted items in the diary or journal such as newspaper clippings, it is suggested that archival tissue paper be placed between the pages where these items are located to deter ink transfer or other damage. Feel free to insert archival tissue paper anywhere in the diary or journal that you feel necessary, it will be an additional layer of protection.

Wrap the diary or journal in the tissue paper. Do not use any tape or adhesive to secure the tissue paper, just fold the ends neatly. Place the diary or journal in the book box. If the diary or journal doesn't fix snuggly, crumple up some archival tissue paper and put around the book so that it does fit snuggly in the book box.

It's as simple as that!

When storing diaries and journals or any rare books, be sure to lay them down on their sides and do not stand them up on their ends. The pressure on the spine when they are stored on their ends on shelves can be damaging to the books. Store in a cool, dark and dry place. Do not store in an attic, basement or where the humidity levels are too high.

So, if you have your ancestor's diaries and journals, use these simple steps to preserve them for your descendants.

Online Archival Supply Stores:

Gaylord Archival: http://www.gaylord.com/
Hollinger Metal Edge:  http://www.hollingermetaledge.com/
University Products: https://www.universityproducts.com/
Light Impressions: http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/


REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!

******

Have Scrapbooks? Want to know how to Preserve them?

Get My Legacy Family Tree QuickGuide

Scrapbooks: A Genealogist's Gold Mine

http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1413




Monday, October 19, 2020

Preserving a Lock of Hair

 


"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #19


Genealogists love anything they can get their hands on about their ancestors. Whether that is documents, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia, we want to collect it all. Many times family members hand down or bequeath genealogical related records and memorabilia to the next generation.

A lock of hair could be one of those unique items that a genealogist could receive among all the other documents and photos. In some families, it was even customary to clip a lock of hair from the deceased to save the memory of that person.

Today's tip will explain how to  preserve a lock of hair so that it endures for generations to come. For this example, I have used a lock of hair located in the Houston County, TN. Archives.

This lock of hair is housed in an old harmonica box and is tied with a delicate blue ribbon in the Houston County, TN. Archives. On the top of the box is handwritten "N.H. Scholes, Halls Creek, Tenn". You can also see a place where there was once a postage stamp. I estimate that this lock of hair and box are dated to the late 1800's or early 1900's.

Harmonica Box with lock of hair. Located in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

First, the lock of hair was photographed, in the box and out of the box, to document the original disposition of the artifact. It is important that the lock of hair in the possession of the genealogist be documented in a similar way.

Photo of artifact inside the box as received. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Photo of artifact outside of the box. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Next, the box was lined with a piece of acid free, archival safe tissue paper.

Harmonica box with acid free tissue paper. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Then the lock of hair was carefully placed in the tissue paper lined box.

Lock of hair in the box with acid free tissue paper. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Last, carefully fold in the sides and ends of the tissue paper so that the lock of hair is entirely covered. Replace the lid back on the box.

Completed preservation of the lock of hair. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

The box with the lock of hair is then placed in an acid free box for additional protection. If you just have a lock of hair with no original storage container, purchase an archival safe box to preserve the lock of hair.

Locks of hair in the genealogists collections need to be preserved right along with the paper records and treasured for generations to come.


REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!

********

Do you have old family letters? Want to know how to preserve them?

Get My Legacy Family Tree QuickGuide:

Preserving Old Family Letters: Tips from an Archivist

http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1283

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday School Records in the Archives

 

"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #18


Researching our ancestor's school records should be something that is on our to-do lists. Even if our ancestor didn't go to school, it is possible that there are still records associated with the school system where they can be mentioned. But what about Sunday School Records? 

Many churches have Sunday School as part of their Sunday Services. Sunday School is different in every church but usually consists of the congregation dividing up into classrooms to be taught a lesson fitting for their age group. So, their could have classes for all ages from Kindergarten up to the Senior Citizen Class.

Wells Creek Sunday School Record Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives


A lot of churches kept Sunday School Records which consisted of attendance numbers, offering amounts and the names of who attended the classes. These records could have been kept in any form but most of the time they are in ledgers or pre-made books just for Sunday School statistics.

Wells Creek Sunday School Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives


Many of us had ancestors that were faithful to attend church and Sunday school. Possibly their names were recorded in Sunday school records. These records would be another avenue to add to our ancestor's life story. They could also help us to place our ancestors at a certain time and a certain place if we are trying to find that type of information.

Wells Creek Sunday School Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives


Where can Sunday school records be found? Start with the local church, if they are still active. Contact the church the ancestor attended and ask if they have an archive or have kept their church and Sunday school records. If they don't have the records, they may be able to tell you which repository they were donated. Next, check the local county archive, historical society, genealogical society or wherever the historical records are housed for that area. If no records can be found at the local level, try the state level. State archives for each state houses tons of records including church and Sunday school records.

Research Room at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Historical Library and Archives


Another asset to researching in church and Sunday school records is the denominational archive. Many of the different denominations have their own archive. For instance, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has an archive in Cordova, TN. which is near Memphis called the Historical Library and Archives (http://www.cumberland.org/hfcpc/). Also, the Southern Baptist denomination has an archive in Nashville, TN. called the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (http://www.sbhla.org/). Both of these archives have tons of records and great archivist there to be of help.

If you haven't yet sought out Sunday school records for your ancestor, why not put that task on your to-do list, you might just be surprised to find there are records available and they list your ancestor!

REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE: CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!

********

Legacy Family Tree QuickGuide:

Preserving Old Family Letters: Tips from an Archivist

http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1283

Oral Histories in the Archives

 

"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #17


Oral histories are a great resource for the genealogist. Many local and state archives have oral histories in their collections. Seeking out oral histories is something every genealogist should have on their "To-Do List".

Recorded Oral Histories, Houston County, TN. Archives


Oral histories usually consist of voice recordings of people who are telling their life story or recounting their personal experience during a particular event. Oral histories could also be found in printed transcribed interviews. Maybe the person recounted their story to someone and then their story was typed up like a transcribed conversation or Q & A.

In the Houston County, TN. Archives we have oral histories of surviving WWII Veterans on video that were compiled in the 1990's. Sadly, many of these Veterans are now passed on but we have their voices and images on video as they recount their service during the war. These same oral history videos have also been transcribed and available in written format.

Houston County, TN. Archives Entrance


Many oral histories are of local residents telling about their experiences growing up in the area or recounting their personal experiences during The Great Flood, The Big Tornado or The Historic Hurricane. Natural disasters affected our ancestors as they affect us today and some of these stories have been captured on video, audio or in written transcripts.

Newspaper Clipping of Powell's Store During the Flood of 1968, Houston County, TN. Archives


Oral histories are not normally available on the shelves in the research area of an archive. The researcher will have to ask the archivist if they have oral histories. The archivist should be able to supply the researcher with an index of what is available. Once you find what interests you in the index, ask the archivist to bring you the record source. If it is video or audio, the archives should have the specific machine needed to play the recording. If the oral history is in written format, they should bring you the transcription. 

Sadly, there are not a tremendous amount of oral histories available. So, try not to be too disappointed if there isn't one for your ancestor. It is still a good idea to listen to or read oral histories by others in the community that experienced the same events during the same time period that your ancestor did. That way you can get a sense of what your ancestor saw, heard or experienced themselves.

So, add Oral Histories to your "To-Do List" and be sure to ask the archivist about them on the next research trip or contact with the archive.




REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!


*********

Statistics say that there are only about 10% of all genealogical records online, the rest are sitting on shelves at the local archive waiting for the genealogist to discover them!

Get My Legacy QuickGuide from Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

It's Not All Online, Researching in Archives


Friday, October 16, 2020

The Mercantile: Where Our Ancestors Shopped

 

"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #16


Ever thought about your ancestors and their shopping experience?

The Mercantile or sometimes called The General Store is where many of our ancestors shopped. There would have been so much to see in these kinds of stores. The penny candy on display in the candy jars, a barrel of crackers, the wheel of cheese and of course the caskets. Yes, I said caskets!

Wiseman & Sykes General Merchandise Letterhead, ca. 1933, Houston County, TN. Archives

Today, when we walk into the mall or our favorite grocery store we will most likely not see caskets for sale. But in the local mercantile, in the 1700's-1900's, it was common to see caskets on display and for sale. It was also common for the mercantile to be the local undertaker or funeral director. The mercantile letterhead would list as part of their services and product offerings "Funeral Director" or "Undertaker".

C.C. Cook & Company Letterhead, ca. 1921, Houston County, TN. Archives

This is why it is important to research the local businesses where our ancestors lived, especially the local mercantile or general store. These businesses generated store ledgers, piles of receipts, accounts payable records and even a record of who bought a casket for their dearly departed. These records could be in an archive, historical society, genealogical society, library or local museum.

Records for the local mercantile could list anything purchased at the store, including caskets. There could be invoices or receipts that specifically list fees for embalming, caskets, clothes to dress the deceased, etc. like this account receipt from the Sparkman General Merchandise Store. When searching for death information on an ancestor, these records could prove to be helpful.

E.P. Sparkman General Merchandise/Funeral Director account invoice, ca. 1939, Houston County, TN. Archives

Records for the local mercantile or general store will be located in either the Vertical Files Collections or the Manuscript Collections in an archive. Ask the archivist about the local stores in the area and if there are records available. The records for the local mercantile can be a gold mine for the genealogist.

REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!!

******

Melissa Barker's Legacy QuickGuides at Legacy Family Tree Webinars 

Researching in Libraries and Archives
http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1159







It's Not All Online: Researching in Archives


Thursday, October 15, 2020

5 Steps to Preserving a Scrapbook

Scrapbooks are a genealogists gold mine! If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that my favorite record collection to do research in and to process in the archive is Scrapbooks!


Scrapbooks are like time capsules, nobody knows what will be found in them until they are opened. There are all kinds and styles of scrapbooks from newspaper clippings, obituary, diary, sports teams, personal history and many more.

Donated Scrapbooks, Houston County, TN. Archives

Maybe you have some scrapbooks that have been inherited from family members. Are they falling apart? Are the contents falling out? Scrapbooks are usually one of those record sources that are handled a lot over time because they are so interesting.

Preserving scrapbooks is actually fairly easy and any home archivist can do it. Here are 5 easy steps:

1. Digitize each and every page of the scrapbook. You can use a flat bed scanner or you can use your digital camera. Do not use any kind of self-feeding scanner or a hand held scanner, they can potentially damage the pages or the items pasted to the pages.Make sure to digitize the scrapbook in original order from the first page to the last page.

2. Purchase archival tissue paper. Get a size that is about 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the scrapbook page. You want to make sure the tissue paper covers the entire page but there is not too much excess. You can cut the tissue paper to size if needed.

3. Interweave the tissue paper in-between each and every page of the scrapbook. The tissue paper will act as a shield to protect anything on the pages from bleeding onto or damaging the other page.

Archival Tissue Paper in the Scrapbook, Houston County, TN. Archives

4. Purchase an archival box that is as close to the size of the scrapbook as possible. Put the scrapbook in the box. If there is still room in the box and the scrapbook is sliding around, crumple up archival tissue paper and tuck it around the scrapbook to secure it in place so that it doesn't move.

Scrapbook in an Archival Box, Houston County, TN. Archives

5. Label the box with information about the scrapbook. For instance, "World War II Scrapbook, Belonged to John Jones, 1941-1945". Store in a cool, dry and dark place. Keep away from sunlight and handle the scrapbook as least as possible. Consult with the digital images as much as possible so that damage is not done to the original scrapbook.
    These 5 easy steps to preserve scrapbooks will insure they will survive for many years to come.



    REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVE TODAY!!

    **********

    Get More Information About Scrapbooks!

    Watch My Legacy Family Tree Webinar

    Scrapbooks: A Genealogists Gold Mine




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    Scrapbooks: A Genealogist's Gold Mine

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    Wednesday, October 14, 2020

    3 Tips to Organizing Your Genealogy Research

     

    "31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

    DAY #14


    Today, I would like to talk about organizing your genealogy research. Many of you make New Year's Resolutions every year that will have something to do with organizing genealogy research and records. Many of you will decide to go totally digital, many of you will try to eliminate piles of papers and many of you have tons of photographs to scan and organize.


    In an archives, organization is very important and something I do on a daily basis as I process the records in my care. If I don't use the proper methods to process record collections, they won't be in a form that can be used by genealogy researchers. Also, using archival safe materials is essential to protecting and preserving original documents so they will be around for the next generations of genealogists to enjoy.

    There are all kinds of ways to organize your genealogy research, I would like to give you three tips to help the organization go more smoothly and hopefully help you to not become overwhelmed during the process.

    Choose an Organizational Method that Works for You and be Consistent

    It's true, there are many methods and ways to organize your genealogy research. You can talk to 10 people and get 10 different methods of organization. I always tell genealogists to figure out the method that works for you and just be consistent in implementing it. An organizational method that works for me may not work for you and that's okay! If you don't like the organization method you are using, most likely you won't stay very organized. So, find what works for you and be consistent in using it everyday.

    One of the best books out there to help you organize your genealogy records and one that I highly recommend is Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher.

    Here are the links to get it at Amazon:

    Paperback: https://amzn.to/2R81HyL
    Kindle Version: https://amzn.to/2Asv4Sh



    Take Small Bites

    There is a saying that goes something like this "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." This is also true for tackling the job of organizing genealogy research. Don't try to do it all in one day. You will get overwhelmed and discouraged if you try to take on too much at one time. In the archives, when I have a large records collection to process, I take it slow and steady. It might take me a few days or even a few weeks to complete the processing of a large records collection. I have one particular collection right now that has taken me a couple of months and I am still not done. The reason I take my time is because I want to process the collection properly so when genealogists want to use the records collection, it is organized and easy to find what they are looking for. So, don't try to organize everything as fast as possible. Take your time, you will be glad that you did.



    Use Archival Materials

    As an archivist, I can not emphasis this tip enough. I encourage everyone to use archival file folders, archival sheet protectors and archival boxes for all genealogical documents. Even if you have decided to go totally digital, I am sure there will be some original records that you will want to keep and preserving them should be at the top of your organizational list. Many of the documents we own as genealogists are one-of-a-kind and should be protected for future generations to enjoy.

    Archival Materials Used in an Archives, Houston County, TN. Archives


    You can access archival materials stores online or you can request that a catalog be mailed to you, here are links to their websites:

    Online Archival Supply Stores:

    Gaylord Archival
    http://www.gaylord.com/

    Hollinger Metal Edge
    http://www.hollingermetaledge.com/

    University Products
    https://www.universityproducts.com/

    Light Impressions
    http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/


    Following these three tips as you organize your genealogy research will hopefully make the process more enjoyable and you won't get overwhelmed.

    I would like to encourage those that follow me and read my blog, writings and watch my webinars and contact me with your questions about researching in archives and preserving records. My email address is just to the right of this blog post at the end of the "About Me" section. I love talking to genealogists about the in's and out's of researching in archives and I love helping them get the right archival materials to preserve and protect their genealogy records, photographs, memorabilia and artifacts. So, please feel free to email me anytime!



    I encourage everyone to seek out the thousands of archives, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, university libraries and archives and museums that hold genealogical records. More and more these repositories budgets are being cut because of non-use. If you can't visit these archives, reach out to them by email or telephone, they are there to help! We need to keep these facilities OPEN, so.....



    REMEMBER: IT'S NOT ALL ONLINE, CONTACT OR VISIT AN ARCHIVES TODAY!!



    ****

    Jump Start Your Genealogy by Getting My Legacy Family Tree Webinar:

    Researching in Libraries and Archives: The Do's and Don'ts

    http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1142




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    Researching in Library and Archives