An article appearing in Diggin’ for Davises 16 (Feb 2010), entitled “What are your Plans to Preserve your Research Data?” started me thinking.
As I drove the long miles, from flooded Kentucky where I had planned to do research for a week or more, to my home in Tremonton UT, I thought about that article–talking of the impermanence of today’s acid-based paper, and toner ink from cartridges on computer printers which fades in 10-20 years, and early computer discs–called floppies–which can only be read on the machines that generated them, and the laptops of great 20th-century writers like John Updike and Norman Mailer with uncertain storage dates, and the NASA photos of US moon landings stored on magnetic tapes assembled on huge pallets and the enormous size of the machine that had to read them, and on, and on, and on.
It is still a little too early to get a full assessment of water and subsequent mold damage to records that may have been in the paths of the flooding rivers in Kentucky and Tennessee. The water rose so quickly and almost without warning–Did we lose records for which there are no copies? No digital scans? No printed versions? Still too early to tell.
My husband Alma and I started the Genealogy Library Center, Inc. with the idea that your personal genealogy files could have a permanent home if family members decided they could not preserve them.
Actually, the GLC was begun as much more selfish and narrow idea–the preservation of my own collections of data. My genealogy, Alma’s genealogy, my mother’s antique music collections, Alma’s mother’s antique music collections, my 15,000 genealogy books, my 22 file cabinets of historical, social, and genealogical materials–my own stuff!
Then it expanded to files of no longer active of all my 600 genealogy research clients and over 400 consulting clients–also my stuff!
Then it expanded to include the files of clients and their relatives who had no place to put their stuff. So I began to collect these.
Then it expanded to any collection that needed a home.
NOW, I want to solicit Kentucky genealogy and history books, magazines and periodicals, newspapers, family Bibles and their family data pages, wherever they are currently stored–WHEREVER THESE PRECIOUS RECORDS OF THE PAST ARE IN DANGER OF DESTRUCTION!
Gentle Readers–your Kentucky cannot be traced online alone. Nor can it be traced in records currently on microfilm–there or in the Family History Library’s Granite-Mountain Storage Vaults alone.
My recent trip–when I couldn’t get to Kentucky, I stopped at the Midwest Genealogy Center, part of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence MO. This new genealogy facility is two-stories filled with ancestors. I reviewed the Kentucky collection–and as good as it is–you can’t depend on it alone.
I also visited the Dallas Public Library Genealogy Collection on the 8th floor. Newly re-organized to make searching and finding much more efficient and sure–and as good as it is–you can’t depend on it alone.
An interesting observation–every library has a different collection of Kentucky research materials. It is the darndest thing! Also an exciting discovery–by mixing and matching, you can trace a lot of genealogy.
So what is your favorite Kentucky genealogist to do?
Ask for donations–
- From libraries running out of shelves.
- From local genealogical societies who are willing to share copies of their quarterlies and the duplicates donated to them.
- From specific genealogists and historians who have collected stuff over the years–that no one wants anymore in hard copy because “everything is being digitized and posted online.”
- From map stores who replace their atlases and maps with new imagery and often dump their old-out-of-date maps because they are no longer current.
- From government agencies who no longer have shelf room for inactive and non-current records they are not required by law to keep.
My Genealogy Library Center, Inc., is a non-profit facility, purchased especially to house such records. (See my Home Page for a picture and description of collections already received–about to be updated with three times the entries.)
Please consider what Kentucky stuff you are not using and donate those items to the GLC. You will provide a legacy for years to come. Your favorite Kentucky genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS At the Kansas City Family History EXPO 30-31 July 2010, I will compare KY lineages within my Southern States Curriculm–4 classes on Southern Ancestry? You could come!