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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2006-06 > 1150589446

From: "Mary Skipworth" <>
Subject: Re: Filing
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 12:10:46 +1200
In-Reply-To: <>

Whilst I sympathise with beginners who have still to find a solution to this
problem, some of the advice being offered amazes me.

Why would you hoard heaps of certificates, census printouts, etc, each in an
expensive acid-free envelope, classified elaborately into boxes or filing
cabinets, to the point where a whole room is taken over by their storage?

We are told that paper will outlast an electronic copy. Surely your roomful
of paper is in dire peril as soon as you are no longer there to defend it.
Will your heirs be willing to give over a room? Sooner or later a
generation will come along determined to clear out the lot.

And why would you go to all the trouble of scanning and storing images of
these documents in your computer? If the originals are in official
repositories all you need to store is the archival reference that would
enable someone who disputes your genealogy to get their own copy to check

You also need all the information that is contained in these documents of
course. This means that before you toss them out you must check, and double
check that you have extracted every scrap of information into your
computer's genealogy programme. [Use the note field associated with that
event.] But be brave and toss as soon as it is recorded!

The exception is documents (letters and photographs) where you hold the
original. If they are not significant enough to be accepted by an archive
then you do need the acid-free pouches and the scanned copies etc.

When you have "finished" getting all the details into your computer, then
you must use it to write a coherent story about that section of your family,
with full source references, not to the box in your filing system where a
document can be found, but to the archival repository where anyone could
verify your claims. Then you can present printed copies to key family
members, and your work is likely to be treasured and handed down to

Of dear, I wish I had taken my own good advice, but I am working towards
that end.

Mary in NZ

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