BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2003-10 > 1067002166
From: "Janice Sweeney" <>
Subject: [BRE] Preserving Records
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 06:29:26 -0700
I am sending along an article from the Times West Virginian. I think it points up the importance of the kind of work we do as genealogists and how important it is to record records before they are destroyed.
Times West Virgianian 1998:
In 1998 WV Times, Fairmont, WV published a story on
(Thursday) as a follow-up to the
original story published on Sunday, as follows:
* * *
Dump off limits to historians
By Theresa Haynes
Times West Virginian Staff Writer
Genealogists who wanted to dig through the landfill in search of the
county's discarded pre-Civil War record books will not be allowed to
excavate the dump. Ron Chrislip, a local historian who has researched
Marion County's past for more than 30 years, said he and four other
were prepared to go to the Meadowfill Landfill in Bridgeport to search
the record books tossed last week.
But landfill officials halted the group's plans at the request of the
Marion County Commission.
The day books dating back to 1842 were among several tons of outdated
files, books and papers the commission removed from the historic Jacob's
building, which is undergoing renovation.
Chrislip said he and other genealogists wanted to dig up the
valuable record books when they learned the books had been hauled away
the dump, but the landfill told them there were confidential files among
Commissioner Cody Starcher said in an interview last week that the
had received special permission from the state to include old juvenile
records in the six BFI Dumpster trash bins hauled to the dump.
"We are allowed to throw the juvenile records away after 20 years," he
said. "But they usually have to be shredded and burned."
Now local historians are concerned they will never see the priceless,
handwritten books again.
"I don't see how they will be retrieved," Chrislip said. "As a historian
have to be realistic. Now hopefully the county will preserve what is
Chrislip said the leather-bound books were particularly valuable
they recorded everything from the county clerk's office.
"Record keeping then was a very different process," he said. "We were
in Virginia and documents like that are very, very rare."
The historian said the records gave insight into a lifestyle long gone.
"There is no oral history from that time, no photography and very little
written history. Through the day books we had a great deal of
to interpret history," he said.
Chrislip agrees with the county commission that the books had no
value, but he said the county has lost something culturally valuable.
He said 20 years ago he had searched for day books like the ones thrown
away and was told they did not exist. Years later he learned they were
existence, but in "dead" storage.
The historian said he and other people interested in genealogy would
liked to have been given access to the books before they were discarded.
County Commission President James Sago and Starcher were not available
comment Wednesday evening.