“The Lost cannot be recovered…”

The lost cannot be recovered; but let us save what remains; not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use, in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.  Thomas Jefferson

This quote is used as a frontispiece in the Guide to the Microfilm Edition of The Carter Family Papers, 1659-1797, in the Sabine Hall Collection.  Paul P. Hoffman, etal, editors.  Charlottesville VA: University of Virginia Library, 1967. This valuable collection includes the genealogies and I will discuss it later, at greater length in my Virginia blog.

Today, consider with me , if you will please, the critical importance of “the multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident” which the former President Jefferson states.

During the War of 1812, the British set fires throughout the land, not just at the Capitol in Washington.  Jefferson supported the war effort and bemoaned the losses of records.

In the United States today, the weather is one of the most devastating enemies of genealogical records we have.  Tornado Season is upon us and Hurricane Season is coming fast on its heels.  Fires are burning again in California, were burning viciously in South Carolina, and Fire Season is also coming fast to the western United States.

Several years ago, a cousin wrote me a sad tale of  record loss.  Seems he took his genealogy (part of which he got from me) on a research trip.  On the way, he and his car were caught in a flood in North Dakota.  He lost his briefcase, his genealogy, and his car.  So he wrote to get another copy.  This year, had he traveled across North Dakota, he could have repeated his private disaster.

Just one good rain storm on a leaking roof or a vulnerable foundation can form puddles in and around filing cabinets, drawers, and cardboard storage files.

I can assure you, that your own genealogy files could be in jeopardy–like mine are.  For many years, I stored our family records and photos and the paper results of the hundreds of hours I spent on our genealogy in portable file boxes with triple layers.  I wanted my precious records movable out of harm’s way.  And I trained my children:  kids first, file boxes second should any disaster come our way. 

When I moved to Tremonton, I put the photos and memorbilia on shelves in the cupboard.  And I filed the genealogy records in a built-in-the-wall filing cabinet.  

No more!  I am refiling the genealogy in movable plastic file boxes. My daughter and I are making paper copies of the documents and other essential parts of the paper trail for all of my children.  And the genealogy, corrected and updated, is on flash-drives to be spread around through the family like confetti. 

JoAnn, my oldest daughter, and I decided that since our church meetings come in the afternoon this year, Sunday morning we could devote 2-3 hours each week to safeguarding our family heritage.  The photos will be labeled and scanned onto flash-drives.

The originals will eventually be placed in the Genealogy Library Center for access by others who share family names and places.

And I highly and strongly recommend that you begin a similar program for your own records,  If you haven’t already arranged for their preservation.  

We cannot count on the weather.  And our family heritage deserves to be available to all family members, known and unknown.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://www.arleneeakle.com 

PS  I’m hoping to see you at the Logan (Utah) Family History Expo tomorrow, 9 May from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Come to the Eccles Conference Center at Utah State University.  You will be so glad you did.  One of my presentations is Scottish Marriage Records.

Bet you didn’t know there were three different local parishes at the same time, where your Scottish ancestor resided and could be married. Come get the facts and break your losing streak!

Visit http://www.fhexpos.com for location of parking and Conference Center.  And to register.  Once you register, you can access the handouts online andprint your own copies.  The Scottish Marriage Records is a complete article, including the information on  the three different parishes.  If you can’t attend, you cn still get the information.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply