Archiver > MOCAMDEN > 2002-10 > 1034699000

From: "Bob Doerr" <>
Subject: [MOCAMDEN] Records at Risk
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 11:23:20 -0500

Records at risk

A number of kinds of records that are of value for family historians are often at risk because only the originals exist. Thus, they are at risk of discard as old and value-less, or of fire, storm, mold, age-related deterioration or vandalism. These include mainly school records (teachers daily records that show the names of the pupils, often their parents or guardians), bible records, sexton's records, mortuary records and church records. You may know of others. Some business records are also valuable, if only indirectly. (Fortunately, in Missouri, most courthouse records have been microfilmed, but it pays to check with the officials to be sure.)

There are several ways to reduce the risk of loss of these records. These include photocopying, microfilming (with the negatives stored safely, at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City or at the State Archives), photography, copying to CD or DVD, and publication in a well-distributed and well-indexed organ. By well-indexed, I mean both name-indexed within the organ and, for periodicals, indexed in Periodical Source Index (PERSI). For the present, a procedure of both publication and filming on silver (not color) film provides the most security. That way, both an image of the original and an indexed transcription is preserved. Digital recording media change so often that the records may become unavailable when the system for reading the media become obsolete and are discarded.

This is to urge all those interested in family history to search for such records and to see to the protection of all those found. If you cannot make the rounds of your local courthouses and historical societies and museums, please call around, and use mail or e-mail.

Judgment is needed as to where to publish. Church, school, sexton's and mortuary records are best published in a local magazine if it is indexed in PERSI. Bible records, which, by the way, do not lend themselves to microfilming, are best published in a magazine that covers the area in which the family lived, or in a magazine of regional or state-wide coverage if the family extends beyond, say, a county.

I offer publication of good transcriptions in the Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal. The Journal is widely distributed, has a good annual index, and is indexed in PERSI. I can work from good photocopies or scans of the originals. There is, of course, no charge for publishing in the Journal, and submitters receive a copy of each issue in which their work appears.

If a record collection is too large for publication in the Journal, I can probably help arrange for publication in book form.

Bob Doerr, Editor,

Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal

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