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A Genealogist In The Archives

Monday, January 15, 2018

Checking Framed Photographs for Hidden Treasures

Many of us have inherited framed photographs or documents as part of our family genealogy collections. In the Houston County, TN. Archives, we sometimes receive framed photographs and documents as part of a larger records donation.

Many of these framed photographs and documents are in frames that have removable backs. This way the photographs and documents can be changed out if the person wanted to display a different photo or document. My Grandmother, Ida Kathryn (Drummond) Bartram, had framed photographs of all her grandchildren's school pictures and each year she would put the newest photo in the front to be displayed.

Frame with Removable Back

















Frame with Removable Back




















If you have received framed photographs or documents with removable backs, have you taken the back off to see what secrets could be hiding? Recently, I inherited some framed photographs from my aunt and I found that there was a different photograph hiding behind the one that was showing.

The photograph that was on display was:

William Sherman Bartram (1872-1961)
The photograph that I found, in the same frame, hiding behind the William Sherman Bartram photo was:

Filmore and Mary Drummond

The interesting thing about these two photographs is they are from two different families that are both related to my late aunt and myself.

One of the first things we do in the archives when we have received framed photographs or documents that have removable backs is to remove the back and see if there are any additional hidden documents or photographs that can't be seen from the front.

It is surprising how many people will put more than one photograph or document in a single picture frame. Then, over time, those older photographs and documents are forgotten. There has been many times when people have found long lost photographs and documents in picture frames of their family.

Some might remember back in 1991 when someone purchased a $4.00 painting at a flea market and when the frame was taken apart an original copy of the Declaration of Independence was found which was estimated to be worth $800,000.00 to 1 million dollars at the time. You can read about this event here:

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/03/arts/declaration-of-independence-found-in-a-4-picture-frame.html



While we may not find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence behind one of our ancestor's photos, it is still a good idea to check those framed photos and documents for anything that might be hiding!

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

******



Have You Registered for The Archive Lady Boot Camp? Register and Save Your Seat TODAY!

Early Bird Registration Ends TODAY Monday, January 15th

Get $10.00 OFF the registration fee with the PROMO CODE "Archive"

Topics Are:


"That’s in the Archives! Digging Deeper In the Archived Records"

"The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records and Heirlooms Like A Pro!"

Register Today! Save Your Seat! Click Here!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Using Archival Boxes for Records Storage



A box is just a box, or is it?

Organizing and preserving family documents, photographs and artifacts is something that all genealogists have to contend with. In the Houston County, Tennessee Archives we work on processing and preserving county records and local historical records everyday.

Tools of the trade, Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Part of the preservation process is having the right tools for the job. I am asked all the time by genealogists about the boxes, file folders and other materials that we use here in the archives to preserve records. Many times I am asked the question, "A box is just a box, right?" and my answer is always NO!

Storing documents, photographs and artifacts in archival storage boxes is the only way to properly preserve these items so that future generations can enjoy them.

Flip Top Style Hollinger Box

The most popular boxes used in an archive setting and perfect for any genealogist to use with their own records is a Flip-Top Archival Storage Box, also called a Hollinger Box. These boxes are used the most in archives. They are durable, sturdy and will repel moisture. They come in different sizes to accommodate documents of all sizes.


Record Storage Carton with shallow lids, Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Another type of archival storage box that can be used is a Record Storage Carton with a Shallow Lid. These types of boxes are great for a large amount of records as well as to store 3-dimensional objects or artifacts.


Irish Celebration Records Collection 1963-Present Day, Houston County, Tennessee Archives


Whichever box you choose to use for your genealogical records and artifacts, make sure it has "Passed the P.A.T." test. This is the Photographic Activity Test and is a worldwide standard for archival quality.


So, the next time you start thinking "A box is just a box, right?". Thank again and make sure you get archival safe and archival quality boxes to store your precious family records and artifacts.



Online Archival Material Stores:

Gaylord Archival

Hollinger Metal Edge

Light Impressions

University Products

Brodart


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


******

Have Your Registered for The Archive Lady Boot Camp? Register and Save Your Seat TODAY!

Early Bird Registration Ends Monday, January 15th

Get $10.00 OFF the registration fee with the PROMO CODE "Archive"

Topics Are:


"That’s in the Archives! Digging Deeper In the Archived Records"

"The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records and Heirlooms Like A Pro!"

Register Today! Save Your Seat! Click Here!


Monday, January 8, 2018

Writing on Photographs: What to Use?

One question about photographs that I am asked a lot as an archivist is:

"What do I use to write on my photographs when identifying them?"

That is a great question!

Family photographs are very precious to us all. Many of us don't have old photographs of our ancestors because they were lost, destroyed or belong to an unknown family member that we hope to discover one day.

Christian Barth Family, Melissa Barker Photograph Collection


Identifying the people, places and objects in photographs is very important and should be done with each and every photograph. But how that information is recorded on the actual photograph is something every genealogist should think about.

Using a soft lead pencil to write on the back of your photographs is the best and preferred method. Archives and archivists use soft lead pencils everyday to write on photographs and the genealogist should do the same.

Remember, when handling photographs it is important to wear gloves. Either white cotton gloves or non-latex powder free examination gloves are acceptable. The oil and dirt of our hands can damage photographs, that is why it is always recommended to wear gloves when handling photographs.


Gloves at Amazon.com Link
http://amzn.to/2FeVtnf

Soft lead pencils can be bought at any local office supply store and are fairly inexpensive. Be sure to purchase a pencil sharpener if you don't already have one. As the pencil is used and wears down, you will want to be able to sharpen it.



The most important thing to remember is to identify your photographs if you know who is in the photo. Don't put it off or say to yourself "I will get to that one day". Do it NOW! So many of us have photographs in our collections that have not been identified and now nobody knows who the people are in the photo.

Identifying your photographs today will make your descendants happy in the future!

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

****


Have Your Registered for The Archive Lady Boot Camp? Register and Save Your Seat TODAY!

Early Bird Registration Ends Monday, January 15th

Get $10.00 OFF the registration fee with the PROMO CODE "Archive"

Topics Are:

 
"That’s in the Archives! Digging Deeper In the Archived Records"


"The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records and Heirlooms Like A Pro!"

Register Today! Save Your Seat! Click Here!



 


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Organizing Your Genealogy Research, Tips from an Archivist

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's 2018!

I am excited about a New Year for genealogy research and being the archivist at the Houston County, TN. Archives. I am looking forward to meeting all the genealogist that will walk through the archives door, call me on the phone or send me an email with their genealogy research questions. Helping genealogists is the best part of my job as an archivist.

I am also looking forward to the opportunities to speak, teach and write about researching in archives and records preservation. I love teaching others about archives research and the best practices in preserving your genealogy research.

Today, I would like to talk about organizing your genealogy research. Many of you will make New Year's Resolutions 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.

Houston County Highway Dept. Records Before Organization


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 records 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 will leave the method you choose up to you. 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 Organization 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.

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


The online archival material business are now advertising their 2017 catalogs. You can access their materials 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.

For the start of this New Year, I would like to encourage those that follow me and read my blog, writings and watch my webinars to 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!



Last, in 2018 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. We need to keep these facilities OPEN, so.....



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



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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










    








Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Our Ancestors, Christmas and the Archives

We are now only days away from Christmas 2017! Many of us are scrambling to get the grocery shopping done, present shopping completed and completing and mailing out those Christmas cards.

Vintage Postcard


As I work here in the archives, I am reminded of the Christmas items I run across as I process records. The records that are donated to an archive can literally encompass anything and it makes me smile when I am processing a records collection and come across a piece of Christmas cheer!

So, how do you find Christmas in the Archives? Here are some examples:

Local Store Advertisements: Many local stores advertise their Christmas sales and offerings. They will also produce special brochures and advertisements at Christmas time to entice the local shoppers to come into their stores. These types of ephemera, as it is usually called, can be located in the Vertical Files Collection of an archives or in the Manuscript Collection.

Mitchum Drug Co. Advertisement, Houston County, TN. Archives


Scrapbooks: Many archives have scrapbooks as part of their records collections. These scrapbooks are personally put together by an individual and could contain any number of documents, photographs and ephemera. In a few of the scrapbooks we have here in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives, there are Christmas cards and postcards. Seeing the vintage cards really puts you in the Christmas Spirit!

Christmas Postcard from Evelyn Ellis Scrapbook, Houston County, TN. Archives


Correspondence: A lot of our families were not able to be with each other at Christmas for whatever reason. Maybe it was war time and members of the family were off to war in a foreign country. Maybe our ancestors just lived too far away from each other and couldn't make the trek to meet up with family members for Christmas. If your lucky, possibly you have Christmas letters in your genealogy collection. These types of correspondence exist in the archives too! Most of the time these types of correspondence will be found in specific Manuscript Collections.

Christmas Greeting Letter, Houston County, TN. Archives


This is just a few ways you can "Find Christmas in the Archives"!

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

*****

What more of The Archive Lady?

Here is my Presenter Page over at Legacy Family Tree!

http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=2967

-11 Webinars 
-10 Legacy Quick Guides

All about researching in archives and records preservation!


DISCLAIMER: The post content above contains affiliate links. This means I make a percentage of sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It simply supplements my income so I can continue providing as much free content.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Archival File Folders: A Must for the Home Archivist

Recently, I was asked "Do you really need to use archival file folders, can't you just use regular file folders?".

Actually, I get this question all the time and I love answering it!

I work in an archives everyday at the Houston County, TN. Archives. We use tons of archival file folders when we are processing records collections. They are a staple archival material for our archives and should be a staple for every Home Archivist.

File of Records, Houston County, TN. Archives


You have been entrusted with your family documents, photographs and ephemera.

Think of all the people that came before you that had these records and have passed them down in the family and now they are your responsibility.

Placing our most precious family records in archival file folders is important for the preservation of those records.

Archival file folders are a great records preservation tool to house original records safely so they are not damaged. Regular file folders that are not archival contain acidic chemicals that will eventually damage your records.

Correspondence Records, Houston County, TN. Archives


Archival filed folders come in different sizes to accommodate the different sizes of documents in our collections. The most frequently used sizes are letter size and legal size.

Link: http://amzn.to/2BFQgGH

Example of 1" tab on archival file folder


It is also important to get archival file folders that have a large tab for writing information about the documents inside the folder. I generally recommend genealogists get the archival file folders that have the 1 inch tab which provides ample room for writing dates and descriptions of what is in the folder.

Options of how to file the folders is entirely up to you, the home archivist. Using archival boxes, such as a Hollinger box (shown below), adds an additional layer of protection for your records. Putting the folders in filing cabinets is not ideal but is quite acceptable.

Link: http://amzn.to/2BDt7V3

Example of Hollinger Box

So, why use archival file folders? Because we want to preserve our family records so they survive for future generations to enjoy!


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


*******

Legacy Quick Guide

Scrapbooks: A Genealogist's Gold Mine

PDF Version: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1413
Amazon Kindle Version: http://amzn.to/2BGoDNt



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Unusual Archival Boxes for Unique Genealogy Items

Let's face it, many of the items we as genealogists have in our family history collections are unique and even odd shaped. These are usually called family artifacts or family heirlooms. These items help to tell our ancestor's story and also help to remind us of our family members that are no longer with us.

Trying to archive or preserve these items can be a challenge but with the right box it can be done! These items are those 3-dimensional items that we might display on a shelf or bring out at family gatherings to show to our family members.

They are a point of contact with our ancestors and they have true family history meaning to us and are items we cherish.

Just like our paper documents, our family artifacts should be preserved and stored correctly so that they survive for future generations to enjoy.

Do you have your Grandfather's bowler hat? There's a box for that! Check out this hat box http://amzn.to/2kpngvf:

Archival Hat Box from Gaylord Archival 


Do you have an American flag that was draped over your ancestor's casket during the military funeral service? There is a wonderful box just for American flags: http://www.gaylord.com/Preservation/Textile-Preservation/Storage-Boxes/Gaylord-Archival%26%23174%3B-E-flute-Clamshell-Flag-Box/p/HYB02302:

Clamshell Flag Box from Gaylord Archival


Do you have your Grandmother's favorite doll? Or maybe your favorite doll from when you were young? There is a great box for dolls http://amzn.to/2koBfRV:

Doll Preservation Box from Gaylord Archival


 With Christmas almost upon us, are you looking for archival boxes to store your family treasured Christmas ornaments? Check out this box http://amzn.to/2nARL2i:

Christmas Decorations Box from Gaylord Archival


And there is even a box to store Christmas wreaths http://amzn.to/2koDaG7:



One of the best ways to find these wonderful and unique archival boxes is to search the archival stores catalogs. I always encourage genealogists to order a FREE paper catalog and have it delivered to your home so that you can sit down and easily look at all the wonderful archival boxes that are available.

Here is a listing of several archival stores that will send out FREE paper catalogs:

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/

Our family artifacts and heirlooms are very important and mean so much to us. Make sure they are being preserved!


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


*******

Get My Legacy Quick Guide

Preserving Old Family Letters: Tips from an Archivist

PDF Version: http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1283
Kindle Version: http://amzn.to/2AYd2si