Friday, November 2, 2007

One Peson's Trash...

I was speaking with a lady earlier this week, she reminded me of an important consideration in Archival Studies, Genealogy and Family history. We all want to remember that "one person's trash may be another person's treasure." We can never really say for certain that papers, documents, photographs, and other ephemeral materials are valueless. The information contained on these records, the records we are inclined to discard, may provide tremendous clues for other researchers.
This reminder came about as we were discussing her reserch on families in Georgia. She mentioned that, somehow, she encountered a family that was discarding papers from the estate of their deceased mother. The woman immediately went into "dumpster diving" mode and came out with collections of sports memorbilia and, more importantly, three family bibles that documented family genealogy lines going back generations.
So, as a reminder to anyone that chooses to read this, keep in mind that the documents you think to discard may be of great value to someone else. Offer up that research to some research institution or archives. Just maybe, an archives somewhere will be interested and take on the job of saving the family history.

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