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How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records Paperback – September 13, 2012
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About the Author
Denise Levenick is a writer and genealogist who writes about organizing, preserving, and sharing family history at her website www.thefamilycurator.com, voted one of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs in 2010 and in 2011.
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The book begins where many of us got started - what to do with grandma's trunk full of photos, letters and papers. She, very correctly, defines this collection as an archive and by doing so defines it as a valuable resource that deserves proper attention. She then proceeds to describe how to evaluate, catalog, organize, preserve and manage that archive with common sense tasks and affordable tools. Her resource sections are well-documented. Best of all, she provides workflows and checklists that help you break down a massive project into manageable parts. I wish I had this book years ago when I inherited my grandmother's archive. Denise's section on evaluation and the initial organizational steps would have made my efforts so much easier.
The chapter on organizing for the future makes several very good suggestions for planning what will happen to your archives after your death. Today's digital world adds some interesting quirks to those plans.
There are chapters on preservation covering papers, photographs, jewelry, tableware and even military medals. Once again, there are both common sense recommendations for the care and storage of these items along with plenty of resources.
An entire section is devoted to digitizing photo and paper archives. In addition to details on the equipment and software necessary to build a digital archive, Denise provides step-by-step instructions along with useful tips, checklists and workflows. I found the discussion on naming conventions full of useful suggestions.
In the last section, research strategies are discussed which includes topics on research plans, types of sources, citation styles and how to cite items from your archive. Thanks to today's technology, research is no longer done in a vacuum and she demonstrates where and how to make research connections online. Her organizational skills are impressive and she shares many of those tips with the rest of us.
I hate the idea of marking up my print copy of the book and I'm waiting for the day when I have the ebook permanently installed on my Kindle where I can easily search for specific topics along with my highlights and notes whenever I need them. How to Archive Family Keepsakes is a great reference and one you'll want to include in your library of research essentials.
I needed help and this book is the best of all the ones I borrowed from the library. I knew I needed my own copy as it is my guidebook for getting all this into useful order. My plan is to prepare some family history books for self-publishing.
With the help of this book, already I've sorted 3 boxes and started on the scanning of the photographs.
For instance, the idea that one should begin by naming the collection made me realize that I actually had two collections jmbled together. That of my great-great-great grandfather, and that of my great-aunt. They are connected, but one is very much the collection of the legal and financial papers of a highly successful, hardworking man from a prominent family, and the other is a collection of letters and photos gathered by an eldest daughter who never married and who in many ways was a second mother to many many people in the family. My great-great-great grandfather kept wills, deeds, and court documents. My aunt has every letter ever written to her by her mother, as well as those written by family members who moved away, or were away for a while. She's the one who kept the graduation programs, the funeral leaflets, the notes and the photographs, even two wills handwritten by women, and witnessed by other women in the family.
She has many other ideas that have helped me think about how to do things--and she has also confirmed my instincts to preserve things (see above) that some in my family think is old trash. Before I bought this book, I had already written to my county historical society, with a general list of possible items, and I had a marvellous letter in return about which items they would especially be interested--and where to archive the rest.
This is the sort of book written by someone with a great deal of experience. Lots of info and ideas. These can clarify or help clarify what to do with those marvellous boxes and trucks of mystery items--but the actual archiving and protecting is a huge amount of work. If you don't want to invest the time, find someone in your family who does.