Friday, July 30, 2010


So what can we do to help preserve genealogical and hustorical
records and information and hopefully drive back the "genealogical
dark ages: that Curt B. Witcher warns us about?

I think we need to start with educating ourselves. How much do
we know about where records are kept in our cities, towns,
counties and states? Do we know how well preserved they are and 
if they are well protected against possible water damage? Have they
already been digitized. If not, are there any plans to do so? What
sort of funding is allocated for their upkeep and is it sufficient to the
task? Is that funding in jeopardy and is it a ballot question in an
upcoming election? Who are the people responsible for their
upkeep and what is their outlook on the importance of record

We also need to keep informed about threats to records,
cemeteries and historical sites, not just in our own area but in
others as well, and when we hear about those threats, we need
to speak out! An example of this is how fellow geneablogger
George Geder alerted the geneablogging community to how a
Florida town planned to build an industrial park at the site of
an African-American cemetery. Another example is how
genealogists have organized over the Michigan State Library
issue. On a local level, join in the debate when an issue comes
up on the ballot concerning funding or preservation of historical
sites and libraries. Don't be complacent and think that the funding
will pass because people must realize how important it is to save
the site or fund the libraries. People are more concerned about 
keeping their taxes from rising than funding repairs for the old
courthouse with the leaky roof over the records room. Write
letters to the editor and attend meetings to tell people why they
should spend their tax dollars on that courthouse!

We can't assume that everything is going to be digitized in time.
We can't hope that a band of LDS angels will swoop down on
our towns and preserve every last record forever online. And
by the way, computer files can be lost and destroyed as well.
so we still need to see that the original records are preserved
even after they are digitized.

Mr Witcher also addressed how the electronic age has affected
history on a personal level, and I'll address that in the final part
of this discussion.

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