Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2010-01 > 1264305871

From: Ruy Cardoso <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] BCG Standard #1
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 20:04:31 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>

The standard under discussion: "Materials (published, unpublished, microfilmed, photographic, and original) are handled with careful regard for their preservation and availability for future researchers."

Many of the standards are indeed common sense and as hard to argue with as motherhood and apple pie. It is where they conflict that things get a bit more interesting.

With respect to the one we're discussing, I recently made an inquiry about a probate record (microfilmed from the probate clerk's copybook) that did not include an inventory that could have been useful to me. Specifically, I was hoping it would have some detail on a particular piece of land so that I could determine when someone moved from one part of town to another.

In pursuing things further -- I hesitate to refer to exhaustive search :-) -- I inquired of the archivist whether the original file might contain the inventory even though the inventory was not microfilmed. She responded that, for these particular records, if there was no microfilmed inventory, then there was no inventory in the file, either.

Now I still could have requested the file even though the relevant archive absolutely pushes the use of the microfilmed copybooks if possible. But taking the archivist at her word means that doing so would involve me handling a file that would not provide the information I was looking for. So does "careful regard for their preservation" mean that one should not request files that a responsible archivist tells you will not include a particular item? No doubt responsible researchers can disagree on this one.

I should note that the particular archivist is, as far as I have been able to determine, quite knowledgeable and helpful to researchers, though she gives the impression of being spread a bit too thinly. But this isn't like a case where some assistant deputy town clerk is resisting the production of a record for some reason that we might think insufficient.

Ruy Cardoso

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