RootsTech 2014

Mocavo

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Genealogy -- unfinished business is normal

I was just looking at the huge pile of family documents that I still have to process by scanning and organizing and realized that in my life, unfinished projects were normal and not likely to change. Even though we have one whole room devoted to computers, there is not enough room to spread out documents for scanning and so that is done in the kitchen/dining area. There has been a pile of boxes in the kitchen for years, not the same boxes, whenever I finish one box of documents, it seems another magically appears to take its place. Every time family comes to visit, we have to pack all of the boxes out of the kitchen and put the scanners away, then drag it all out again as soon as they leave. My main file has 63,225 documents in it right now, with another 9,830 documents in the second working file. That total of 73, 055 will increase as soon as I move over the 2000+ documents I just finished scanning.

I recently heard of two more collections of family documents that I have yet to locate. I have one of my cousins working on locating a collection of photos and another cousin working on some documents. Every time it looks like I might run out of scanning, I get an opportunity to scan more documents. The numbers do vary because I find duplicates. In transferring files over the years from more than one computer (I work with four presently) it seems like duplicates happen.

My work flow is as follows: I review the documents to see what needs to be preserved. I do not scan concert programs, travel brochures, advertisements or warranties. But many things that most would consider throwing away, I find important, like birthday and Mother's Day cards, funeral programs, letters of all kinds, calendars, notes to family members, and all sorts of daily records. The fact that a document was preserved in a box or scrapbook means that the item was of some importance to the originator, no matter how trivial and could help to give an insight into a life now ended. I am certain that few share my urge to preserve or I would really be inundated with even more stuff, but those things that have been preserved through design or providence will now be digitized and recorded, organized and evaluated.

One of the most common responses to my collections is "who cares?" Well, probably very few people right now, but in the future, who knows?

2 comments:

  1. I agree with your statement "The fact that a document was preserved in a box or scrapbook means that the item was of some importance to the originator, no matter how trivial and could help to give an insight into a life now ended."

    The difficult part is recognizing that there isn't enough physical room to save it all. That's where the tough decisions come in: what to scan, what to save etc.

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  2. I thought I was obsessive - glad to know you are more so about scanning. What I would like to know is -- how do you organize your scans? First, in the computer and second after they have been scanned -- how do you organize the originals? Thanks for your time. Sandra

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