Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Memoirs Serve a Valuable Purpose

The following article from the Grand Forks Herald makes a compelling argument why everyone should record their memoirs and family histories. Time and again, these histories have proven to provide valuable insight into the past.


So, record those personal histories. Family members and future historians will thank you for it.

And thanks to Dick Eastman for bringing this article to my attention.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holidays Are A Time For Joy, Thanks, And Opportunity!

The holidays often translate into family, friends, and a great deal of activity. Yes, we are all busy visiting, catching-up with relatives and sharing the joy of the day. In spite of the hectic holiday, the coming festivities offer a unique opportunity for every genealogist and family historian. NOW IS THE TIME TO COLLECT THOSE ORAL HISTORIES!

For the uninitiated, all upper case letters means I am shouting at you. I want to get your attention so that you will think about this idea.

With the electronic capabilities of inexpensive digital recorders, anyone can capture an oral history. Anyone can sit down with old Aunt Sally, or Grandma, or even Dad, and ask about growing up on the old homestead. Or, what was Thanksgiving like back when you were a child? A question I always want answered: by this time each year, as a child, were you looking forward to Christmas?

Recording the conversations can be really quite easy. Small recorders are now so discrete that few people are bothered by, or even notice, their presence. Simply sit down and ask a few questions. After a thanksgiving dinner, or some other holiday celebration, it really is interesting that so many people want to reminisce and share their life stories.

There are so many opportunities that it is a pity that more oral histories are not collected during the holidays. The holidays seem to evoke a sense of nostalgia with at least some family members. So pull out the digital recorders. If you don’t have one, go to the mall and treat your self to a valuable, yet inexpensive, early Christmas gift. BUY ONE! (Again I’m shouting). And plan on recording Aunt Sally, Grandma, Dad, or any other relative. Persuade them to share and save their family histories.

The holidays were made for collecting Oral Histories.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MHS Provides Example of New Oral History

Here is an interesting report about the latest oral history project from the Minnesota Historical Society. This story reinforces why we collect oral history: to preserve the past, the culture, the language, the history, everything about the past.


Be sure to read more.

Some Great New York History

You hear about the legends of old catacombs, secrets under the city tunnels, and lost subway stations. Now here is proof that sometimes the myths are true.


And be sure to check out the photographs as well. This is truly an archtectural treasure.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More GREAT News From the Alabama Archives

The following announcement from the Alabama Department of Archives and History is more evidence the economy is improving and politicians appreciate the value of libraries and archives.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is pleased to announce the reopening of the museum and research room one Saturday per month, starting on November 13, 2010. The department will be open for researchers and museum visitors on the second Saturday of each month from 8:30 to 4:30.
The elimination of Saturday services and other programs in January 2009 resulted from severe budget cuts that led to the loss of 20 of the department's 55 full-time positions. Although the impact of budget reductions is ongoing, restoring Saturday services has remained a priority for the department.
The introduction of second-Saturday hours is made possible in part by one-time federal stimulus funding. The reallocation of staff resources to cover the duties of some eliminated positions was also required.
The museum and research room will be open on Saturday, November 13, and Saturday, December 11, 2010. Starting on January 8, 2011, special children's activities and tours will be added to the second-Saturday schedule.
Normal hours will remain 8:30 - 4:30 on the following schedule:

Monday: Museum and Staff Offices open

Research Room Closed on Mondays

Tuesday - Friday: Museum, Research Room, and Staff Offices open

Saturday: Museum and Research Room open, 2nd Saturday of each month only

Sunday & State Holidays: Department Closed

Alabama Department of Archives and History

624 Washington Avenue
P O Box 300100-0100

Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100

And, thanks to Ken Thomas and Bob Davis for bringing this information to my attention.