Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

Tombstone Tuesday – Salinda E. (Rose) Breneman

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 8th, 2009

Salinda (Rose) Breneman, daughter of Eden and Elsie/Elcy Rose, is my great-grandmother on my mother’s side.

Salinda Breneman  -  396
Salinda Breneman – 396

Looking at this photo today, I wish I’d been better prepared to take tombstone photos. I should have had a soft whisk brush with me, a cloth, something to carry water to the stones, and perhaps even a tiny rake, or grass shears in some places.

Shown on the Stone:

Mother
Salinda E. Breneman
1855 – 1936

Great-grandmother Salinda is buried in the Milan Cemetery, Ryan Township, Sumner County, Kansas. The cemetery is about 12 miles west of Wellington, KS on Highway 160.

She is shown with her parents and siblings on the 1860 census when she is just 7 years old.

1860 Census 4 July 1860
Grand View Township, Louisa County, Iow
a

Family 344  – 342

Edan Rose  – 34 – M – Farm Labour

Elcy Rose  -  32 – F

Abram (Abraham?)  – 13 – M

Salinda – 7 – F

Absalom – 3 – M

Salinda Rose Breneman
Salinda Rose Breneman

Salinda Rose Breneman is the mother of Ira, Albert, Harvey, and Otto, Carrie and May. You can see photos of her children as well as a photograph of Albert’s tombstone here.

Salinda was married to Constantine “Tom” Breneman, but they divorced later in life.

If you’ve done a family search for the Breneman or Rose families, and landed on this page, I hope you will leave a comment and contact info so we can share our research!

James and Elizabeth (Conver) Kline – Tombstone Tuesday

by Sherry Stocking Kline
November 6th, 2009

James & Elizabeth (Conver) Kline

James & Elizabeth (Conver) Kline buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

On the Stone:

James Kline

Jan. 25, 1945  -  June 21, 1908

Elizabeth His Wife

May 4, 1846  -  Dec 8, 1918

James and Elizabeth (Conver) Kline are buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, near Milan, Sumner County, Kansas. The cemetery is located one mile west of Milan, Kansas on Highway 160.

James and Elizabeth (Conver) Kline came to Caldwell, Kansas shortly before the 1893 Cherokee Strip Run, where as family story has it, James ran in the Cherokee Strip Run, and when he was not fortunate enough to win free land, he later came to the Milan, Kansas area, where he purchased land along the Chickaskia River south of Milan.

James was born in Clarion County, PA.

Some of the following information includes information that I personally have found, but also includes information that I received from cousin Liz Williams:

Elizabeth Conver was born  4 May 1846 in Richland, Lebanon Co., PA, and was the daughter of  of John A. Conver & Marry Huff.

James and Elizabeth were married in Knox, County, Illinois on 31 Oct 1867.  They had three sons that died before they came to Kansas, Charles William Kline, born in 1868 but died before 1870, and two more sons, Levi born in 1870 in Illinois and Samuel born in 1872 in Iowa also died young.

After coming to Kansas, they had seven more children. The oldest surviving son, John Conver Kline, was my husband’s grandfather.

James and Elizabeth’s other children were: Newton Oliver Kline, Susan Alica Adilia Kline, James Monroe Kline, Walter Cleveland Kline, Orie Ray Kline, Mae Violet Kline

I would love to connect with other members of my husband’s Kline, Conver, and Huff family to share information, so please leave a comment with  your contact info and I will respond asap.

Tombstone Tuesday – Daryl M. Jones, Sr. and May (Bastien) Jones’ Stone

Daryl M Jones, Sr. & wife Laura May Bastien Jones   Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

Daryl M Jones, Sr. & wife Laura May Bastien Jones Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

On Daryl and Laura May Jones’ Stone:

Jones

Daryl M. Sr
May 30, 1908 to June 32, 1999

Laura May
Jan 28, 1913 to Oct 25, 1980

Married Aug 20, 1932

Daryl and May were my Aunt and Uncle.

I did not know that May was not her first name until I read her obituary.

May died from leukemia, though she lived many years after she was diagnosed.

Gaylon Jones, buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

Gaylon Jones, buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

Daryl and May had three sons, Daryl Jr, Dale, and Gaylon. Dale and Gaylon are deceased and Gaylon is buried next to Daryl and May.

On Gaylan Jones’ Stone

Gaylan R. Jones

August 26, 1943

July 2, 1979

Dale was cremated and his ashes spread over the ocean where he loved to fish with his wife, Bonnie, who is also deceased.

My Uncle Daryl was an engineer without a degree. If he needed a piece of farm equipment, or needed something fixed or added to, he could most generally make it or fix it, and other farmers came often to have him fix or weld their equipment.  After he retired from farming at age 70, he spent more time doing what he loved, which was ocean fishing near Aransas Pass, Texas.

Grew up on a Farm near Milan, Kansas…

Growing up on the farm near Milan, Kansas, Daryl was an excellent horseman, and trapped for furs to help the family income. He attended one year of college at Wichita State University, but there was no money to further his education, so he traveled to California, worked in the aircraft industry, and came back to the family and farm where he married May.

He could have done well in college and afterward, but I can’t imagine that he would have been any happier than he was farming, living on the farm, and growing crops and building and welding things for himself and others.

Tombstone Tuesday – Warner LaRue & Carrie Breneman Jones

Warner LaRue and Carrie Esther (Breneman) Jones   Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

Warner LaRue and Carrie Esther (Breneman) Jones Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas

By Sherry Stocking Kline
October 20, 2009

Warner LaRue and Carrie Breneman Jones, my grandparents…

Warner LaRue Jones was born in Kentucky. Probably Barren County, to Willis Washington and Martha Ellen Smith Jones on March 13, 1880, and died in Sumner County, Kansas on November 1, 1947.

Carrie Esther Breneman Jones was born (I believe in Nebraska. I do not have all of my info here where I can double check), to Constantine “Tom” Breneman and Salinda (Rose) Breneman on Aug 15, 1876, and died Sept 13, 1956.

They are both buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas.

My grandmother, Carrie Breneman Jones, was gifted at painting & hand crafting things…

I never got to meet my grandfather, and I was young when my grandmother died. But I remember that she was extremely gifted at hand crafting things, crocheting beautiful doilies, and pretty doll clothes.  She  taught herself to paint when she was already a senior citizen, and painted very life-like pictures of animals, particularly our families’ registered Ayrshire cattle.

We visited her often, and how I wish I had been old enough to ask the many questions that I now have!

Here is a photograph of their young family. My mother is the youngest child in this photograph, and there was one more child, Fern, born later. Fern died from pneumonia when she was sixteen, and is buried next to her parents.

Warner & Carrie Breneman Jones & children, Floyd, Rose, Daryl M, and Dorothy

Warner & Carrie Breneman Jones & children, Floyd, Rose, Daryl M, and Dorothy

My grandfather, Warner Jones, loved his favorite team of mules!

I can’t resist adding one more photograph that I just love!  Wish I knew the name of the mules, but my mother told me that my grandfather loved those mules very much!

Warner Jones and his favorite team of mules

Warner Jones and his favorite team of mules

Grandpa – Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days…

by Sherry Stocking Kline
First published in the Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – April 2002

Getting Grandpa to talk about the “good ole’ days” really isn’t as hard as you might think. All you have to do is set the stage, bring along some props, and be prepared with plenty of questions.

Pat Gaddie grew up listening to her Grandpa Sam tell his Irish jingles, share stories about blue racer snakes chasing him through fields, and the wagon trip he made in 1902 when he was eighteen and his family moved from Tennessee to Oklahoma.

“He lived next door to us when I was small,” Gaddie said, “and when I was eight or nine years old, he used to tell stories to entertain me.”

How to Keep Them Story Telling…

Not everyone enjoys reminiscing, but if your Grandpa (or Grandma) does, here are a few tips to keep them story telling.

Decide what you want to know, make a list of questions, then ask the most important ones first.

What’s your priority? Is it facts, figures, dates, and places, the who begat who and where or when, or is it the stories that you want to hear?

Are there family legends that you want to verify or clarify, or do you want to hear how he proposed to Grandma, laugh about the night he and his bride were chivareed, or see D-Day through his eyes?

Set the stage.

Old photographs and family memorabilia are great memory triggers, and can prompt a flood of memories, so bring out the high school play bills and yearbooks, wedding photos, and photographs of the plane Grandpa  flew in the service. When he shows you the photo of his first car, be sure and ask him about the job he took to pay for it.

Take field trips to old schools, cemeteries, and other meaningful places, and travel to Grandpa’s hometown and drive by his old schoolhouse. You may learn who put the snake in the teacher’s desk, the story behind Grandpa’s nickname, and more.

Remember that Grandpa’s dates may be approximate, as he’ll likely remember events as happening “the year of the big blizzard, the summer of the drought, or just before Beverly was born”.

Bev Malone interviews older family members to flesh out stories and verify the information.

“The best way to get the stories flowing about family members is to ask about people and things, not personalities,” Malone said.

Make sure your cameras, and audio or video recorders have fresh batteries, and take along spares. If you need an extra memory card for your cameras (or film) be sure to take that along, too.

“Recorders can make people nervous,” Malone said, so she breaks the ice by asking, “Do you mind if I tape this? My brain can’t keep it all in my head.”

Take notes, just in case technology lets you down, and transcribe your notes as soon as possible.

Need help with your list of questions?

There are books that can help, such Emily Anne Croom’s “Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook” with questions tailored for different decades in history, and Janice T. Dixon’s “Family Focused” with question lists and suggestions to help you conduct interviews and gather information.

What’s Dixon’s advice in “Family Focused” to interviewers?

“Be relaxed, don’t interrupt, don’t contradict, and don’t ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no.”

“Keep the flow of conversation going,” Dixon said, “you can go back and ask questions later.”

Gaddie cherishes and shares her Grandpa Sam’s stories with her family, a process that can add valuable information to your research as well as give you new questions to ask.

With a little planning, the next time you visit Grandpa, you may learn more about your grandfather, your parents – perhaps even yourself.

Journal Your Summer Photos Now!

by Sherry Stocking Kline
first published in Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – September 2000

Now that summer’s over, and you’ve got a shoebox full of vacation, grandchildren, wedding, and graduation photographs, it’s time for you to preserve those memories between the pages of a book, like a pressed flower, to be enjoyed again and again.

So where do you start first?

“Get some history attached to those photos,” said Bob McCreary, “that’s the first and probably the most important step.”

McCreary and his wife Kathy co-own Scrapbook Garden, Wichita, Kansas. McCreary said that Kathy carries photographs with her in her purse and whenever she has a few minutes while watching television, waiting for the doctor, or waiting to get a driver’s license she sorts photos and makes quick notes on the back with a photo safe pencil.

Once you have them sorted, McCreary said it’s really a quick step after that to put the photos in an acid-free, lignin-free photo album, and then “journal” or tell about the photos.

Each year, Gerry Reimer does a summer vacation album, and adds more pages to her all-Christmas album.

Journals Don’t Have to Be Elaborate…

Reimer said not to let your friends’ elaborate journals scare you off. “Streamline,” Reimer said, “get the photos on the page, and get the people identified.”

“First of all,” Reimer said, “Tell yourself it’s o.k. not to use all the photos you have.” Reimer said to choose pictures that tell who you are and where you were at that time, and be sure and include names and dates in your albums.

“I don’t keep a travel diary,” Reimer said, but Reimer said she jots down a few notes, picks up ticket stubs, colored brochures, saves travel itineraries and whatever else they might want to use in their vacation albums.

Reimer said you’ll know what you want to do, and what you don’t, after you finish your first book. Reimer’s first photo album was her wedding album.

“We’d been married 49 years,” Reimer said, and I didn’t like our wedding photos, so I had a wonderful time cropping off what I didn’t like and journaling about the pictures.” Reimer said she does “bullet journaling”, or writes short statements under most photos, saving long stories for special photographs or events.

Start With Recent Photo’s…

Bonnie Loewen, Creative Memories consultant, said the easiest way to get started is with your last roll of film while your memory of the event is fresh, and work your way backwards.

Tell A Story…

Loewen said to tell a story with words as well as with pictures. How were you feeling? What was going on in the family, and the world? Loewen said even the current price of bread and gasoline will be interesting to future generations.

Loewen said to write as you would talk, don’t worry about punctuation, and write a sloppy first draft. You can re-write it later, Loewen said.

Answer the Five W’s – Engage the Five Senses…

Think about the five senses and the five W’s, advised both McCreary and Loewen, adding that it will make ideas for captioning your photos come easier. Just remember to answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why questions, and engage the emotions by writing about how something looked, sounded, tasted, felt, and smelled.

Preserve Your Handwriting, too…

McCreary said and its faster to use a computer to journal, but it’s not as personal, so he said not to be afraid to write in pencil and go over it later with a permanent marker, or even cover up mistakes with cardstock.

“Some people don’t like their handwriting,” McCreary said, “but people years from now will cherish seeing the handwriting of the person who made the journal.”

Scrapbooks can help bridge the generation gap, so along with vacation, wedding and family photos, include stories and pictures of military service and other events to help future generations understand the times you lived through, and what makes your family special.

Ordinary Days are Important…

Loewen said it’s also good to make pages of what an ordinary day was like in your family, too, not just the special events. “And make a signature page,” Loewen said, with your name, date, who the album is for, and why you did it, “it’s kind of like signing a quilt.”

If you have a lifetime of photographs ask for help from your family. Reimer said that kids and grandchildren are great to help photo captions.

McCreary agreed, “it’s good to get family members involved.”

“Make it a fun activity,” McCreary said, “have everyone sit down and talk about the photos, and try to communicate some of the emotion.” You get different perspectives of an event by talking to different people.

“It’s really exciting that people are making a legacy and trying to pass on their roots and their values,” Loewen said, “values can be lost in one generation if they are not preserved.”

“People will forget you in one generation if you don’t tell your story,” Loewen said, “you can make such a difference in people’s lives with a scrapbook.”

“In a sense,” Reimer said, “your whole book is the story of your family.”

Can You Salvage Damaged Photographs?

By Sherry Stocking Kline
published in the Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine in November 2005

If disaster strikes, whether it’s Hurricane Katrina, your water heater sprung a leak, or your photographs have water and smoke-damage from a fire, don’t make the trash your first destination of choice for the remains.

Sometimes, even wet, stuck together photographs can be salvaged, but you have to act fast.

“A lot depends on the circumstances,” said Darrell Garwood, preservation officer, library archives division, Kansas State Historical Society, “There is a lot of dirt and contaminants in flood water,” Garwood said, “If they have been in water, especially dirty water longer than 48 hours they may not be able to be re-claimed.”

A lot also depends on what type of photographs are damaged. Are they fairly modern? Are they old? One-of-a-kind? Hand-tinted? What kind of paper are they on?

Before you do anything, you need to know what kind of photographs you are dealing with, and it may be necessary to consult a professional for help. To help you determine what kind of photographs you can safely repair yourself, or if you have no choice but to attempt the repair yourself, there are books, such as “How to Save Your Stuff From a Disaster” by Scott Haskins, and websites such as Northeast Document Conservation Center, www.nedcc.org, and the Kansas State Historical Society’s website at www.kshs.org, (click on preserve) can help you determine what kind of photographs you have, and how best to preserve them.

According to Gary Albright, senior paper/photograph conservator, Northeast Document Conservation Center, there are a number of different photographic processes, and while some photographs can be immersed for a day or more and still be restored, others will be completely ruined by a just a few minutes of water exposure.

“Time is of the essence: the longer the period of time between the emergency and salvage, the greater the amount of permanent damage that will occur,” Albright said.

Haskins stated that it’s best to consult a professional who can deal with the photographs without adding to the damage, especially if you have old or vintage photographs.

Wet photographs should always be a priority. Albright said that wet photographs should be air dried or frozen as quickly as possible to prevent mold damage.  (Yes, he really did say frozen.)

If the photographs are still wet, it’s best to put them in clean, cool water, distilled water. Change the water often to make sure the water stays clean. Do not use bleach, detergent, fungicide or disinfectants. Do not touch, rub, scrub, or try to force stuck-together photographs apart. Handle them by the edge only, preferably with a blunt, clean pair of tweezers.

Drain excess water off the photographs, and lay them out flat, and separated, on clean, lint-free material to dry. Do not use newspapers. Negatives should be hung up by the edges to dry vertically. Circulate the air the help speed up the drying process and to prevent mold. Do not use a heater.

Can’t deal with them right away? Freeze any photographs that cannot be cleaned and dried within 72 hours.

If they are already wet, rinse off any dirt, mud, etc., separate photos or groups of stuck together photographs with wax paper, put them into zip lock freezer bags and put them in the freezer. Do NOT stack anything on top of them.

If your photos are damaged, you still may be able to scan them at 300dpi or better, and use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel’s Paint Shop Pro to repair copies of your damaged photographs. You can use that new, digital copy to make new photographs.

Garwood stated that prevention is the most important thing, and Garwood agreed.

“Address prevention first,” Garwood said, “store them properly and avoid basement storage because basements are always the first thing to flood in a house.”

After prevention, Garwood suggested that you spend a little time in disaster preparedness. Know where your photographs, family letters, video tapes, DVD’s, and important papers are, so you can go right to them for a speedy recovery should it become necessary.

If possible, Garwood said, have back-ups and replacements.

“Make this part of your emergency preparedness plan, and remember that your papers and photos are not as important as yourself,” Garwood said, “People should always come first in a disaster.”

2009 Author’s Suggestion:  Before freezing or beginning any restoration attempts, consult with professionals if at all possible.

This article idea came to mind following Hurricane Katrina, and the tornado that struck the Haysville, Kansas area. We drove through the tornado devastation where houses were turned into matchsticks, and papers and pictures were blowing in the wind.   I realized that after life and limb were safe, it was the thought of losing my photographs  that bothered me most if we were to be struck by a tornado.

Photographing Your Family History

by Sherry Stocking Kline
Wichita Eagle’s June 2001 “Active Life”

When Tammy Pontious’s great-grandchildren look at her family history scrapbook many years from now, Pontious doesn’t want them to see stiff, posed photos of people in their Sunday best clothes. She wants them to be able to see what they were like when they were working and playing.

“The key is to carry your camera with you,” said Pontious, who keeps her camera handy and often carries it along when she drives her daily school-bus route. “You’ll have missed opportunities if you don’t.”

Bob McCreary, who co-owns Scrapbook Garden, www.scrapbookgarden.com, with his wife Kathy, agreed. Many people keep one of the “point-and-shoot” or disposable cameras that take remarkably good photographs handy, said McCreary, adding that for a clearer photo with a point and shoot camera, you must aim the focal point of the camera at someone in the group and not at the background.

Because photographing people in front of a simple background is often better, Pontious looks at the background before snapping and decides if it will help tell the story or just clutter up the photograph, though with today’s digital software, it’s fairly simple to crop out, blur, or even replace an unwanted background.

Close-up’s are great for people photos and eliminating distracting backgrounds, but check your camera’s manual before taking one, advises Kodak.com, as some cameras cannot focus closer than four feet from the subject.  When using a flash, you need to check your flashes’ useful range as well. For many cameras, anything past 10 to 12 feet is a dark blur, as any concert goer can attest to after snapping photo after photo only to get home with photos of a shiny bald head about eight feet in front of them.

Pontious, who calls herself “a picture fanatic,” said you need to take lots of photographs.

“You just can’t be stingy with the film,” Pontious said, “for $8.00, you’ll probably come up with two or three photos that you’re in love with.”

For sharp, clear photographs, hold the camera steady, and try Pontious’ technique of visualizing the photo before gently pressing the shutter button. Pontious said she also tries a variety of different and unique angles, works to capture candid facial expressions, and likes to catch her family’s silhouettes in profile shots.

Pontious also ‘stalks’ the wildlife on their river farm, catches her dogs in silly poses, snaps her mom relaxing on the porch swing, and her husband and son while they work, hunt, and fish.

“That’s our lives,” Pontious said. Our descendants may say, “look what great-grandpa did back in those days.”

“You know the old saying about 1000 words? There is a lot of information that finds its way into a photo almost by accident, and sometimes it becomes significant to us later.” McCreary said.

“It’s candid shots of people doing things that tell the story of our lives,” McCreary said, “if Uncle Ralph was a farmer – take a photo of him on his combine. If someone hunts or fishes a lot get a photo of the big catch.”

To avoid that squinty-eyed look outdoors, photograph people on overcast days or in the shade using fill-in flash to highlight faces and chase away the shadows. Pontious said her favorite time of the day to take outdoor photographs is in the early morning or late afternoon, and said that she also likes to photograph subjects using the warm, natural lighting near a window.

“I just don’t like what I end up with at high noon,” Pontious said, “the photos all end up looking washed out.”

Pontious said that she looks for little situations and happenings, but she also works to create photographic events.

How does she do that? She sets up fun events for people to enjoy. One event that yielded some favorite photographs was a tea party she held for several laughing and giggling young cousins while she sat the corner of the porch “click, click, clicking away.”

McCreary said that while you are capturing your family in photographs, don’t forget to photograph your home(s), inside and out, and your yard, farm, barns, and outbuildings that are a part of your life today, and may be only a memory someday.

Pontious treasures the family resemblances she sees in the photographs of grandparents that died before she was born. She said that many of their photographs have been passed down from one person to another, from one generation to another, from trunks to attics, and came on covered wagons from there to here. She feels she is handing down a family history treasure to her son Dallas.

“A photo can tell you everything in the world,” Pontious said, “emotions, social status, whether they were rich or poor, lifestyle, facial features, looks and personality. What I would hope,” Pontious said, “is that it will tell them my values, hopes, dreams and what I accomplished.”

Someday she hopes that her descendants will look at her family history book and read the anecdotes, stories, and poems that are woven throughout, and will choose to preserve it, and hand it down again.

“Who knows where they’ll go in my son’s journey,” Pontious said.

Garage Sale Photos

by Sherry Stocking Kline
August 30, 2009

Written for FamilyTreeWriter.com after finding a family’s photographic treasures in a yard sale….

Call me crazy, but I love to garage sale.  Go to them.  Not have them.

So one lazy Friday afternoon when I was on my way to somewhere else I spotted a yard sale, slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car, and went over to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without.

Not much. But there among the mismatched glasses and old pillow cases was a box of photographs with $2.00 written on the box flap.

I looked at the folks holding the yard sale, and trying not to sound like they’d just put a price tag on one of their children, I asked, “You’re selling your photographs?”

“No,” they answered, “they were here when we moved into the house.”

“Oh,” I answered, and feeling better I thumbed through the photographs. Some were old, maybe even early 1900′s old. Some appeared to have been taken in the 1930′s and judging by the clothes, crew-cuts, and cars, they seemed to continue up through the 50′s and 60′s.

Naturally, most were without names.

I walked around, browsed the other tables, but that box kept calling my name. Honest, it just pulled me back to it.

No matter how good or bad, my family photographs are treasures, bits and pieces of our lives, snapshots of our memories. This was someone else’s box of memories, someone else’s babies, someone else’s high school graduation, and someone else’s vacations. Surely somewhere there was someone who would be glad to have them back.

I started to pick up the box, all the while muttering under my breath, “You don’t have time,” “You may not find the family,” and “You’ve got enough to do preserving your own family history.”

But I’m pretty good at playing devil’s advocate, too. “Remember how you nearly cried when that elderly third cousin on your mom’s side that you just located told you she’d thrown her own family photos (your own family photos, too) away?”  “Remember how excited you were when another new-found cousin gave you a photograph of your great-grandparents and you saw their faces for the first time.”

Then, my final winning argument, “if you can’t find the family(s) you can always send the photos to DeadFred.com, a website for ‘orphan’ photographs, as well as a place to upload your own ancestors.

“I’m a genealogist,” I said, explaining that I would like to take them and find their family.

“Do you have any idea who these belong to,” I asked. And that’s when the lady brought out the high school autograph book she found among the photographs and let me go through it. A few had signed their first and last names (a genealogist’s dream) and one or two included the city, state, and date, “Senior 1936″ and “Eads, Colorado.” Eureka!   Helpful clues.

So that did it. I was hooked and reeled in.

Ever the bargainer, I asked if they would take a dollar for it.

“Sure,” they said. I had a plan and a fall-back plan if I couldn’t find the family. So after I copied the information from the autograph book onto a raggedy envelope I had in my purse, I packed up the box, brought it home, and set about planning my next move.

Keep Your Family History From Ending up in the Dumpster

By – Sherry Stocking Kline
Printed in Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – Aug 04

The nightmare of many genealogists is that the minute they die their kids will haul years of family history research, one-of-a-kind documents, and priceless photographs out to the curb for the first trash truck that comes along.

What can you do to keep countless hours of research and family history from becoming part of tomorrow’s landfill?

First, make sure you have something someone will want to keep. If you leave behind a jumbled up pile of unidentified photographs, mixed-up documents, and notes with no organization, your genealogical heir may throw up his (or her) hands and throw in the towel.

Your research “has a much better chance to be saved if it’s organized,” said Donna Woods, former librarian for Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society.

“My granddaughter’s husband sat me down one day,” and told me that I needed to get it (my genealogy materials) in some kind of order because if something happened to me they wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

Woods said that she doesn’t believe it makes any difference what system you use, just that you use one, and don’t use the ‘pile-it’ method, though she added that she still does “have a few piles” even after organizing with file folders and notebooks.

“Mark in your books which ones are keepers and should not leave the family,” Woods said, adding she wrote a note inside the cover of each book that pertain to the family.

Nancy Sherbert, curator of Photographs, Kansas State Historical Societysuggested that you label documents, write on photographs, and organize materials into family groups alphabetically. Sherbert said photographs without identification or dates have very little meaning to family members or as historic documents.

“We don’t think about that when we take our photographs,” Sherbert said, “we know who they are. But when we’re gone, others can’t appreciate the historical value of those photographs because they don’t know who the people are, what they are celebrating, and why they are all together.”

Woods said you should have a really serious discussion with your family, and see if someone is interested in your genealogy work.

“It may not be your child,” Woods said, “it may be a grandchild or a niece or nephew.” Woods’ daughter was not interested in furthering her genealogy research, but a discussion with a granddaughter in her mid-twenties rewarded Woods with a possible new home for her research.

“I’m so glad that you are doing this, Grandma,” said Wood’s mid-twenties granddaughter, “I want to do it someday, but I can’t do it right now.”

Preserving your family’s history doesn’t necessarily mean keeping all the information in your immediate family. Woods said she made the decision to place some of her research where it would do the most good, in the two counties in Illinois where her ancestors originally resided.

“It makes a lot more sense to place my research there in those counties,” Woods said, “for other researchers to find.”

Once you’ve made sure that no one in your family wants your collection, the safest way to keep your materials out of the dumpster, according to Sherbert, is to add to your will “I’d like for my photographs, letters, and diaries to be donated to…….

“Go ahead and establish some kind of collection with an institution,” Sherbert said, “and make it clear to your executor and family that remaining materials are to go to the institution.”

“Just make some sort of arrangements,” Sherbert said, adding that materials donated to a historical society, library, or museum should be preserved and available for research for decades “unless there is some kind of preservation problem.”

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