Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Digitizing and Preserving Our Family Archives

Watching the flow of information and photos this past year on Penrose Mornings, and looking through the boxes of stuff I have, have prompted me to have an inspiration which would involve putting everyone else to work except me.  We each have photos, papers, documents, journals, bits and pieces, keepsake dishes and pieces of furniture, inlaid pictures, and other memorabilia.  When we pass on, so to speak, no guarantee exists that much or any of this material will be preserved in a way that will mean anything to anyone.  With the opportunity to digitize and make a digital museum and library of what we have, we can give future generations an opportunity to connect with their past.  I've only talked to Liz and Ann about this project thus far. My phone went dead so haven't yet talked to everyone.  Apologies.

What we have come up with is that we need to categorize the stuff we have: letters, journals, writings, artifacts like dishes and pieces of furniture, pictures, and whatever else.  Ann suggest we have several categories: the first category would be the materials of most immediate interest to family.  The second category would be historical material like the writings of Uncle David about the Penrose Canal, Garland, and other such memorabilia.  These writings will vanish when the current generation goes, likely, and yet so much information of historical value is contained in them that we need to save it.  Third category would be other materials such as Grandpa Wasden's journals.

We would need to establish minimal quality control requirements for scanning in terms of dpi resolution and similar standards.  Ann suggests that the minimal output should be CDs of the material each of us has and that these be made available to others.  From there, people could print whatever they wanted to print.  Some material, like Uncle David's writings, should be made available to the Park County Historical Society and the Wyoming State Historical Library.  Liz has volunteered under my direction to contact the Wasden family and see what the proper thing to do is about these valuable writings.

For now, these suggestions are only the beginning.  We need to discuss all of the possibilities open to us.  We earnestly solicit ideas from any of our readers who have undertaken or thought about undertaking compilation of a family historical archive that goes beyond photos and family tree documents.  Now, I am going to rest because it gives me a headache thinking about all of the work that everyone else is going to do.  But I think we could make a contribution to our descendants and to ourselves by systematically preserving our heritage and our legacy.  I think this is what we are supposed to do.


Steve Blood said...

This is an incredible idea since I have very little.

Dwight said...

Well actually, you have a lot. Written memories in some detail are part of the legacy and those are still in your head ready to come out on paper, so get with it (so to speak)

Ann said...

I think we should start with the oldest family member, and when they/he/she have/has completed their part of the project, the next one should start. That way we can follow by example!
Seriously, I think this has potential. Many of the documents and treasures already appear on the blog. I will soon have the blog completely copied over into a word file and then it could be printed from there. Other treasures not on the blog, like the accounting book, I will get scanned and saved to a disc. Along with taking the photos of the marquetry, this should make for a good winter time project.

Judy said...

dinnI still want to finish the project that Ann successfully started, that of photographing the marquetry that we each have. Then, I would be willing to work on this......I am so slooooow. But any and all gathering is good.

Ann said...

That is a good idea, Judy. If we can get the photos of the marquetry that will be a good project to get completed.
Dwight, my offer still goes - I would love to come and go through your stuff with you. Besides, that way I would know what you have. It would be almost as much fun as imagining what was in your chest in your bedroom at Penrose, but probably not as disappointing.
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Dwight said...