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A Genealogist In The Archives: 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Simple Guide to Saving Your Family Photos: Book Review

From my bookshelf....

I am an avid reader and my genre of choice is non-fiction, history, biography and of course genealogy books.

From time to time I am going to start posting a book review of a book that I have on my bookshelf.

I hope you enjoy!


A Simple Guide to Saving Your Family Photos aims to help anyone who has photographs stashed in shoe boxes, plastic containers, under their beds or in the back of a closet. Many genealogists have this problem and are always seeking help to organize their photos.



Knowing where to start in photo organization is how this book begins. Bartlett says “I wrote this book in several chapters to set the state for the multiple phases your photo organization project can go through”. The author explains she and Ann Matuszak founded the company Pixologie, Inc. and states “it’s the first photo organization company of its kind in the country”.

There are seven chapters in the book; each deals with a different topic related to photo organization. Bartlett addresses many aspects of photo organization from organizing original photographs to dealing with digital photographs. Bartlett explains that preserving and organizing photos are important for our children, families and to connect the generations.

George Washington Stringfield Family, ca. 1903, Melissa Barker Photographs

This book has appropriately placed photographs of the organizational process in each page where that part of the process is being described. Many of the steps described in the book are in bullet point listings for easy reading and referencing. Bartlett instructions are concise and are very easy to follow.

On page 31, Bartlett provides an example of an age chart to use as a tool to dating photographs and is a great tool when trying a large amount of photographs. Chapter 3 discusses which photos to keep and which ones to toss. I pretty much agree with Bartlett’s suggestions with the exception of tossing photographs of people she says are “not relevant in your life anymore”. As an archivist, I would suggest that no photos of people be tossed but donated to an appropriate archive.

Age chart from Page 31


Bartlett gives the reader great step-by-step instructions on how to organize the many different kinds of photographs. The steps are easy to follow and there are many photos share in the book to help those that need visuals. Chapter 5 deals entirely with scanning photographs. Bartlett does a great job of explaining the process and the equipment needed to achieve this goal. The last chapters shows the reader how to back-up digital photos, save photos and use cloud storage for all digital photographs.

A Simple Guide To Saving Your Family Photos is a great little book and reference guide for anyone embarking on a photograph organization project.



Published 2016 by Pixologie http://www.pixologieinc.com 
ISBN 978-0-9978136-1-6

Get Your Copy from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eDGy7m

******

Get My Legacy QuickGuide 

Scrapbooks A Genealogists Gold Mine



Wednesday, June 3, 2020

GenFriends with Dr. Penny Walters

Have you ever wondered why we do genealogy research? Why do we have this addiction to researching our ancestors? What ethical concerns do we all have when we find information that may not be something all our family members would want out there?

Well, Dr. Penny Walters discusses that in her two books that were recently discussed with the author on GenFriends, a genealogy discussion group.



Dr. Walters joined the GenFriends panel to discuss her two books:

The Ethical Delimmas in Genealogy



The Psychology of Searching



I was part of this discussion as one of the panelists for GenFriends and found these topics to be quite interesting and something I felt other genealogist would enjoy exploring.

You can watch the full episode of GenFriends at this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2s4xmDtwg

After you have watched the discussion on YouTube you can then decide if you would like to purchase Dr. Walter's books, they can be purchased at Amazon:

The Ethical Delimmas in Genealogy
The Psychology of Searching



Exploring why we research our ancestors and the ethical dilemmas we face is something many of us think about and Dr. Penny Walters has researched and written about in her two books.

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The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records Like A Pro! Webinar by Melissa Barker

Learn from a professional archivist how to preserve, protect and archive family records, photographs and artifacts.

Here is the link to view the presentation: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=4729




Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Buffered vs Unbuffered Archival Tissue Paper: What's the Difference?

Archival materials are something that archivists and conservators work with on a daily basis. When we are working on an archival project, we reach for the materials we need to help us preserve documents, photographs and artifacts.

As genealogists and home archivists, you need to be using archival materials to preserve the documents, photographs and artifacts you have in your collections. Knowing the right kinds of archival materials to use is a necessity.



One of the staples of any archive is archival tissue paper. Archival tissue paper is a must for any genealogist and home archivist. We use this archival material to line archival boxes before putting things into them. We crumple it up and put it around items in boxes so that they don't move around in the box and get damaged. There are many uses for archival tissue paper and just like white gloves, the home archivist should have a supply on hand.

There are two kinds of archival tissue paper, buffered and unbuffered.

The difference between these two kinds of archival tissue paper is:

Buffered Archival Tissue Paper: This tissue paper is "buffered" because it contains an alkaline substance, usually calcium carbonate, added as an alkaline reserve or "buffer" to counteract acids that may form in the material.

Unbuffered Archival Tissue Paper: This tissue paper is free of the alkaline substance



Most genealogy records, photographs and artifacts would benefit from being archived in buffered materials like boxes, tissue paper, folders, etc. There are some exceptions:

Dye Transfer Prints or Cyanotypes Photographs: Should only be archived in unbuffered materials. These particular types of photographs and/or blueprints should never be archived in buffered materials due to the reaction of the calcium carbonate that could happen with the photographs.

Protein Based Materials: Materials that come from animals should be stored in unbuffered archival materials or at least should not come in contact with buffered materials. These items could include silk, wool, leather, feathers, animal specimens, horsehair, etc.

Using the right materials to preserve our family documents and heirlooms will help them to last for generations to come!


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


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Need Some Help for Your Next Research Trip!

Get My Legacy QuickGuide

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

PDF Version: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1159

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Genealogy Records Off the Beaten Path

Court records, deeds records, scrapbooks, photographs... these are some of the more well known record groups that most researchers access when they visit an archive, historical society or library.  

But did you know that there are numerous other record groups and types that are housed in archives that are almost never requested to be viewed by researchers. Why is that? Maybe it's because the researcher doesn't know these wonderful collections exist.

Wisdom Lodge #300 Newspaper Clipping, Houston County, TN. Archives
                     

Here are 5 tips for genealogy researchers to learn about and view unique records in the archives where their ancestors lived:

1. Plan, plan, plan! Every genealogist who visits an archives, historical society or library to do research needs to have a research plan in place before they step foot in the door of the facility.  

2. Ask the archivist or librarian what record collections they have that are unique or unknown to the general public. Possibly there is an index of what is in the collection or better yet a Finding Aid.

3. Ask the archivist or librarian to allow you to view all of their records indexes or all of their Finding Aids. Most repositories will have these printed and in notebooks or they will be available on patron computers in the facility.

Election Worker's Payroll Request, Houston County, TN. Archives
                                       

4. Specifically ask to view the Vertical File Collection index. This index will be alphabetical and will include surnames as well as subjects such as "Erin United Methodist Church". Each file could contain just about anything. Remember...Vertical Files are like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get!

5. Specifically ask to view the index to the Manuscript Collection. Again, this listing will be alphabetical. The titles could be named anything, some of the more familiar titles will look something like this: "John Doe's Family Papers 1812-1900", "Erin Methodist Church 1848-1920". These collections could be contained in one box or in multiple boxes. The Finding Aid for the collection will help you decipher what is in the collection.

The next time you visit an archives, historical society or library to dig up those records on your ancestors, try these 5 tips to help you find those unique records, the ones that will tell more of your ancestor's story, the ones that will put "meat on your ancestors's bones"!



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

****

Want to know more about researching in archives?

Get My Legacy Family Tree QuickGuide:

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

PDF Version:  http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1159






A Great Companion QuickGuide is:

It's Not All Online: Researching in Archives

PDF Version: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1202





Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Preserving Pressed Flowers

Many genealogists have inherited their family member's documents, books, photographs and other genealogical materials. When it comes to the books we have inherited, I hope that everyone reading this blog post takes the time to search through all the books you are given to make sure to retrieve any scrap of paper, newspaper clipping, photo or pressed flowers that your family member put in those books. Even if the books you received are not genealogical in nature, search through them anyway. You just never know what you might find in their pages.




Now, let's talk about preserving pressed flowers. Most of the time when a genealogist encounters these items in books they are brittle, fragile and falling apart. It can be a challenge to remove these items in one piece and transfer them to a medium that will protect and preserve these precious family items.

First and foremost, make sure your hands are clean and free of any lotions or hand creams. The chemicals in these lotions can adversely affect the pressed items. There is no need to wear gloves, in fact, it is preferred that gloves not be used in this instance. The reason being, when gloves are worn, they remove the textile sensation you need to feel the items. It is important to feel how you are handling the items so that they are not damaged.

Example of Pressed Flowers


If you don't feel comfortable picking up the pressed items with your hands, use a plastic or rubber spatula. Do not use metal spatulas as their sharp edges could damage the items. Be sure the head of the spatula is as big as the item so that all if it can be picked up and transferred at the same time. An ordinary kitchen egg turner or spatula that you already have will do just fine for this project. If you find that any part of the item is stuck or adhered to the page, gently use the spatula to separate the item. I have found that most of the time pressed flowers and leaves are not stuck to pages but can be removed quite easily.

Two options that I can recommend preserving and protecting your pressed flowers, leaves and ferns are:

Specimen Mounting Boxes

These boxes are easy to use and can be purchased at any of the online archival materials stores (see list below), the local hobby store, taxidermy stores and at Amazon.com. These types of mounting boxes are used for pressed flowers, leaves, preserving butterflies and other zoological items. These boxes are great to use if you plan to display the items.


Example Specimen Mounting Box from Gaylord Archival


Suspension Boxes

These boxes are also easy to use and will protect the pressed items once they are removed from the books. These boxes can also be purchased at any of the online archival materials store and at any hobby store. The clear, polystyrene box has flexible membranes in the top and bottom which conform to the item, holding it firmly in place. The nice thing about these particular boxes is they can be held and the items inside can be viewed from all sides. These suspension boxes also come in many different sizes to accommodate the different sizes of flowers, leaves and other pressed items.

Example of Suspension Boxes from Gaylord Archival


Remember, your ancestor or family member took the time to lay those flowers, leaves and ferns in books to be pressed. They were making a day of remembrance, remembering a family member or just appreciating the foliage itself. These items meant something to them at the time and it should mean something to us today. Sadly, many times there are no notes or writings to tell us exactly why our ancestors pressed these items. We are left to guess at their significance but what we can do is preserve and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Archival Material Websites

Here is a listing of online archival materials stores. They all have online catalogs and paper catalogs that can be sent to your home. Also, be sure to sign up for email notifications because they periodically have sales and will send out email notifications:

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

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

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

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

Brodart
http://www.brodart.com/


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


******

Scrapbooks: A Genealogist Gold Mine QuickGuide

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


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Preserving A Lock Of Hair

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.

Here is 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 housed in the Houston County, TN. Archives Manuscript Collections.

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!

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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