Thursday, April 3, 2008

Saving The Family Records

The post Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita fallout has inspired a variety of publications and resources about weather, disasters, and disaster planning. Included in these publications is a fine pamphlet by David Carmicheal, Director of the Georgia Department of Archives and History. Rescuing Family Records A Disaster Planning Guide is a nice document to help us, as genealogists and family historians, to plan for future disasters. This is an excellent resource reminding us to duplicate our research and store it off site. If possible, store it in another state.

This work is a step-by-step explanation of how to duplicate and store our most important documents and records. Although this isn't written specifically for genealogists and family historians, the information is very applicable and should be considered by all of us. Perhaps most valuable of all is Chapter 4, a checklist of records and documents that we need to save. "Essential Records" as well as "Family Records" and "Family Letters and Diaries" are broad categories included in this checklist. Although this isn't a comprehensive list, is doesn't claim to be. This work is intended to challenge us to think about creating duplicates of our records and research. In addition, we need to answer the question: Where is the best place to store these? Carmicheal makes an interesting suggestion that duplicates should be stored, if possible, at least 100 miles away.

The pamphlet was published by the Council of State Archivists after the multiple disasters that destroyed so much of the South and East coast of the United States. For the ten dollars purchase price, this is a very worthwhile document to add to the library. David Carmicheal and COSA should be congratulated for contributing an excellent document to inspire more thought about our collections and research.

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