01 November 2019

Blogging with a Purpose

My last blog post was many moons ago. Many. And, I've been hesitant to post an update because I didn't want to muddle up the stuff the Universe has been planning for me over the last few years.

So, I'll say this: I will never be a Professional Genealogist. I thought that I'd be able to make it, but the reality is that I don't have the fortitude to stop. When a client has hired me for 2 hours and I'm on the 10th hour, still trying to satisfy my own curiosity, well that's not a good thing. It's not a bad thing either: I'm happy that it didn't take me very long to determine that I wasn't cut out to do that specific work, professionally. My skills are great, it's the inability to stop that was the professional killer.

This blog was started with the intention of recording my journey from "family historian" to "Professional Genealogist". I won't lie: I love writing. And guess what? I discovered that while writing the blog. So it's not a complete loss (LOL). Plus, I've been able to share quite a bit of my archives knowledge along the way, helping people to preserve and manage their own archival collections.

I also learned the value in editing myself and how that taught me about record editing. Now, when I find personal genealogical material for an ancestor of mine, I wonder what they left out. What happened to them that we'll never know because they didn't want anyone to know it? I mean, I deleted entire blog posts because they were written about events or people that I simply didn't want to be associated with or remember. Which, in hindsight, wasn't the smartest decision, but it was done all the same.

Of course, the main reason I wanted to preserve my words in this blog was because I was the last leaf on my branch of my family. That, also, turned out not to be fully accurate. Yes, DNA testing is a tricky thing. And it's not just about you and finding your ancestors; nope, your 3rd and 2nd cousins can be the conduit through which living people can find you. Full disclosure: that can be very disruptive to your immediate relatives. Heh.

It's been 10 months since I worked in an Archive. I did research this summer in a number of repositories, but my work as an Archivist has come to an end after 15 amazing years. I loved my work, and I'm extremely thankful for all the places that allowed me the privilege of processing their archival material. Hopefully, many generations from now, someone will find one or more of their ancestors in a folder with my writing as the label. How cool would that be?

I contemplated deleting the blog since I'm neither "Professional Genealogist" nor "Archivist". But, I decided that it needed to stay, if for no other reason that I hope it'll be cousin bait for my own genealogical work. And I hope that I'll have time to update it about all the wonderful collaborations and genealogical finds I've made over the last few years. Maybe I'll "re-brand" it to something else, we'll see.

In the old Celtic world this is the day to celebrate Samhain. It's an ending...and a beginning...

03 October 2016

Amazing Archives Search Resource: ArchiveGrid

There are so many wonderful repositories that hold primary material; material that you'd otherwise might never get to see or use in your research. One of my favorite ways to track down new information is by looking for Archives in the area where I'm doing research. One of my go-to resources is ArchiveGrid, a site hosted by the phenomenal WorldCat.

ArchiveGrid looks like this:

The beauty is that you don't have to know exactly where to look; they have search options for both "location or zip" and dropdown menus by State. As you can see, they also include a section with the latest additions and information about the site.

So, if you haven't checked it out yet, why not poke around during American Archives Month?

01 October 2016

October is American Archives (and Family History) Month!!

Wait...What?! She's writing a blog post? Yes, I'm writing posts this month. Life has kept me so very busy that I haven't done any genealogical research for the last six months or so. I DID help a prospective DAR member with her application, which was quite the endeavor, but in the end we got her application approved and she's now a member.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share my work with those who aren't familiar with it. I'm a professional, consulting, Archivist. I've been an Archivist for about 13 years, and it has been the longest running 'career' that I've had. My work is varied, fascinating and has enriched my life in ways I would have never dreamed possible. An Archivist's job is to protect the information held in the material over which we are the stewards.

Slides received for processing
 An Archivist is the steward of unique materials of enduring value. In layman's terms, we take care of old stuff. Old stuff that can't be found elsewhere. Material that is unique and irreplaceable. That material can be anything from photographs to letters: things on paper. However, an Archives can hold other things as well; for instance when I was working at Shure, Inc. there were at least two copies of each microphone they'd ever produced. There are microphones used by famous people and not so famous people. Depends on your perspective. <grin>

As stewards of this material, an Archivist needs to understand about the composition of the materials to ensure the environment in which they are housed is conducive to its longevity. So, making sure that things like newspaper, which is very acidic, aren't housed with other paper is a key aspect of our work. We need to have a great grasp of basic chemistry: the composition of paper, ink, glues, etc. so that the materials can be stabilized to prevent deterioration. Ensuring that photographic materials are housed properly to avoid fading, warping and loss of image is equally important. 

Slides being processed: organized & described
The Society of American Archivists are having a number of events this month to highlight the importance of Archives. I hope you'll check them out or follow along here as I share some of what I use in my work.

Have a great day and a fabulous Family History Month!!