Saturday, January 30, 2016

How do I preserve photos, vintage greeting cards, and more?

I just received a large box of photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, dog tags and medals, greeting cards from 1953, and more. And of course my concern is how best to label and preserve these items, especially the photographs.

The first concern is getting them organized chronologically and/or by name, identifying them and scanning them.

The next concern is figuring out the best way to protect the original documents.

The photographs are my biggest concern, since I've never really delved into this topic. I've always had color copies or print-outs of photos. This is the first time I've had original photographs in my care.

Many are loose and some are in an old-fashioned scrapbook, held by photo corners. There are quite a few pictures from the Middleborough High School Class of 1941, which would be nice to get to the children of the boys and girls pictured.

So I need to figure out the best way to store these photos, label them, and preserve them.

Then there are the newspaper articles, mostly from the 50s and 60s and pertaining to my uncles and grandmother. Again, I need to figure out how to store/preserve them and label them so someone looking through will understand the importance of the article (i.e. Wendy's paternal grandmother, Barbara (Shaw) Wood, pictured with the Girl Scout Troop she led, May 5, 1962).

As for the vintage greeting cards, I'm thinking they need the same kind of organization and preservation as the photos and newspapers, but not sure how to handle that. There is an entire box of them for my uncle's birth, first Easter, first Christmas, and first birthday (1953-1954).

I definitely need ideas and recommendations for all of the above items.

The documents will be alphabetized and indexed, and stored in the binders where I keep all such documents in archival quality page protectors.

Finally, there are my grandfather's WWII dog tags, a few medals, and other non-paper keepsakes I need to label store properly.

I'm sure you can see I have quite a weekend for me. If the snowstorm we expect on Tuesday/Wednesday is bad enough and I stay home from work, organizing these family treasures will keep me very busy.

As I go, I will scan everything. It's quite the wonderful gift.

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Genealogy Plans for 2016

It's very tricky to predict what I can reasonably get done in the new year, but after considering it, I think I'd really like to tackle my husband's family history. I've discussed the Callahan family a little bit, but not much. We live within 6 hours of where they and all those families connected to them settled in the U.S.

We go visit my in-laws on a regular basis, so I think it would be well worth my time to do some research while I'm out there. I'd like to sit down, look at where folks are buried around Dubuque, Iowa and Galena, Illinois, and make a plan.

I would also like to connect with a cousin of my husband's who has already devoted the time and energy to gathering quite a bit of the family history. From time to time, we've put our heads together to try to figure out some of the lingering questions. It's long past time we met and talked about this in person, I think.

I'd also really like to continue exploring the Hawksley family, of course, as well as my mysterious great-great grandma Emma.

Beyond that, I'd love to learn more about Rebecca Parks, wife of George Emery Griswold, of Preston, Halifax County, Nova Scotia. I haven't shared much about that line or the mystery of their family, so it's high time I did.

I hope having a plan and goals laid out for 2016 will help me stick to them! The past couple years have been a bit of a bust, getting settled into a new life. This year is going to involve home renovations, but there's no excuse for me not to devote my time to genealogy.

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Monday, January 18, 2016

Genealogy - still not just for retirees!

As I noted in 2007, so many people think of genealogy as an "old person's hobby" or something retirees do. But this is simply not true. Believe it or not, many of us are in our 20's, 30's, and 40's. I am not sure what fuels this passion, what it is that could make me drop everything to pursue a slender lead on an ancestors, but it is enjoyable.

I am a Nancy Drew collector, and have read these books since I was 9. Maybe this is part of it? My enjoyment of mysteries? I'm not much into mystery and suspense other than Nancy Drew; I suppose there is a love of both history and mystery there together. I adore vintage things, making puzzles, and more.

I am generally the youngest person in the local LDS, and I am the kind of person who loves to sit and listen to you talk about your family history. I have mine memorized for several generations, as well as my husband's!

This is not a hobby that appeals to older folks only; it appeals to anyone who enjoys mingling history and discovery, adventure and personal ties.

One thing I learned in the last year is there are way, way more of us Gen Xers and Millennials "into" genealogy than I imagined.  This is a fantastic thing, because we are the ones having children now, which means yet another generation that could be inspired by family history.

What fired my personal passion for genealogy was discovering an old leather wallet full of photographs, family documents, and other keepsakes from my dad's side of the family. I wondered who had taken the time to save everything and why. Not knowing my mother or anything about her family at the time probably helped add to the interest that kindled within me that day.  I was only 12, but I started climbing the branches of my family tree that very day, and never stopped.

As a parent, this is now more than personal interest and the thrill of the hunt. It's also about sharing a rich legacy with my children, nieces, and/or nephews, that I hope they will take the time to hand down to their families as they grow.