Hoarder to Order Part II: A Family Record Risk Assessment

Hoarder to Order Part II: A Family Record Risk Assessment

Kindex Co-founder Cathy Gilmore presented “Hoarder to Order: a Step-by-Step Family Record Rescue” at RootsTech 2018. This presentation examines why records are at risk, discusses obstacles to family record preservation, and gives a step-by-step overview of how record-keepers can rescue their family records. We will be sharing excerpts from her presentation on the Kindex blog.  


In Part I of our Hoarder to Order series, we asked “Am I my Brothers (Record) Keeper?” and discussed the imporant role of family record rescuers. If you are one of those heroes committed to rescuing records, it may be difficult to know where to start. Knowing the risks that face family records helps us prioritize and understand what it means to truly rescue a record. Let’s start by stating the risks, identifying reasons why this happens, and how we can help.

Risk #1: Permanent Record Loss

Risk Factors

Result

How We Rescue

Death Downsizing Relocation Record owner has mental or physical challenges Records are thrown out Take an inventory of family records to know who has what

Let’s start with every record-keeper’s biggest nightmare right out of the gate: Records get thrown away. This risk is at its greatest when a family member dies, moves, or is purging their belongings.  The presence of mental or physical challenges can often prevent record owners knowing how to keep and care for records. As a record rescuer, your job is to discover who has what records through conducting a basic inventory. Conducting a family record inventory is the first, crucial step in a record rescue. But what are the remaining risks?

Risk #2: Temporary Record Loss

Risk Factors

Result

How We Rescue

Changes of record ownership (records passed down through generations) Hoarding, disorganization Records are lost or misplaced Update inventory & gather records (where possible)

If you’ve kept your family record inventory updated, and gathered records (where possible) to prevent record loss, well done! But what are the remaining risks?

Risk #3: Record Damage

Risk Factors

Result

How We Rescue

Records exist in original state only (not scanned or digitized) Improper storage or handling Records are exposed to, or at high risk for natural disaster (fire, flood, etc.) Records are damaged Digitize records and ensure physcial reocrds are properly stored

So you’ve done an inventory, gathered records to prevent record loss, and digitized your records. Great! Is your job done? What are the remaining risks?

Risk #4: Inaccessible records

Risk Factors

Result

How We Rescue

Records scattered among multiple owners Single owner, “Silo mentality” Donated with restrictions Records can’t be accessed Share digitized records on common platform

Most responsible record-keepers have digitized their records. But how accessible are they? Do you work in a silo? How do other family members know your records exist?

If uou’ve kept your records, know where they are, scanned them, and made them accessible, are there any other risks? We’ve learned that making records accessible is not the end of the line. If your family cannot easily connect to and share records, there will be a record disconnect.

Risk #5: Record disconnect

Risk Factors

Result

How We Rescue

Unindexed records

Records that seem irrelevant, unimportant

Records in unsearchable, undiscoverable databases

Records that are handwritten or hard to read Difficulty extracting meaningful stories

Records Disconnect

Transform your records in ways that make them shareable and connectable.

Make records completely searchable Provide a platform for simple record engagement and research

What is record disconnect, and why is it a risk? Because no matter how much work you put into gathering, digitizing and sharing records, if your family can’t connect with them in a meaningful way, they will remain unimportant and therefore at risk of being perpetuated. When is a record truly considered rescued? When it’s accessible, searchable, and relevant to your family.

How at risk are your family records?

In reviewing risk factors for family records, have you identified what records are most at risk in your family? Do you have an elderly family member reputed to have many family records. Is someone in your family preparing to downsize? Being aware of family situations helps us prioritize an overwhelming task by beginning where the need is most urgent. Stay tuned for Part III of our Hoarder to Order series, we will start our record rescue in earnest with record inventory and gathering.    

Our Hill Cumorah

Our Hill Cumorah Beginnings

Examining Cumorah connections from our family archive

Note: this article was orginally published December 9 2015. It has been subsequently edited and updated with new photos. -Cathy Gilmore

A recent article on lds.org, Reclaiming Hill Cumorah1, prompted us to share some sources related to Hill Cumorah, its monument, and pageant beginnings. Our grandmother Dorothy Smith Clark’s papers reveal her connections to Cumorah  through her parents Hyrum and June Bushman Smith, who were missionaries at the Cumorah Farm from 1935 to 1939, and her friend Torleif Knaphus, who sculpted the Hill Cumorah  monument. In searching Dorothy’s diaries and letters on her Kindex archive, we are able to provide insight to our family’s connection to this historic sight.

Friendship with Torleif Knaphus, sculptor of the Moroni Monument

Partly as an effort to expand Dorothy’s educational and artistic opportunity, Dorothy’s family moved to Salt Lake City from Lethbridge, Alberta in 1930. In 1931, the recently widowed Torleif Knaphus took an interest in Dorothy. As her artistic mentor—and for a time—her suitor, Torleif escorted her on artistic excursions, instructed her in sculpting, and employed her in making handmade Christmas cards and sketches. Dorothy must have been flattered, as my grandfather Ellsworth was also competing for her attention. In her diary she wrote:

Sunday April 23, 1933

Went by Orem Electric to annual Springville Art Exhibit with T.S. Knaphus, sculptor. Spent 3 hours in Provo, sight-seeing on our way back to S.L.C. Took kodak snaps on B.Y.U. campus.

This was a very interesting day for me and rather an outstanding one I suppose, inasmuch as I was so kindly favored and well treated by one so prominent in his sphere.

En route he gave me valuable instructions and criticisms on art. Urges strongly that I begin to busy myself with “oils” and harness the talent he believes lies dormant. (I hope to do this soon, as I have been so inspired today). Left Knaphus at 8 P.M. to finish the day with Ellsworth. Youth does have its preferences.2

Indeed it does, as Dorothy settled on Ellsworth and became engaged that summer. Still, Dorothy maintained her friendship with Torleif and continued their mentoring relationship. In September of 1933 she wrote:

Was invited to Knaphus studio this evening where be showed me a newly-designed model of the shaft for the Hill Cumorah Monument. We ate some ice-cream there and talked of my doing some more painting there and maybe helping him with some new panels. Thrilled about getting into that work again.

Grateful for his attention and interest in her art, Dorothy later wrote:

Saturday, November 12, 1933

I have Christmas card orders to fill for Torleif S. Knaphus in return for clay which he gave me for modeling.

He certainly has inspired me and been a great help in pushing me, as it were, along the road to accomplishment. I don’t know many other grown people who have so influenced me to good and been as companionable.

During their engagement, Dorothy encouraged Ellsworth to serve a mission. After he departed in December 1933 to a Western States mission, there is some hint that Torleif was keen to maintain a close relationship with Dorothy as he repeatedly sought out her company. Dorothy wrote:

Wednesday, January 24, 1934

Attended night class tonite and made my first water color scene (copy of Moser’s) in new style (from my former teachings.) Mr. Knaphus met me after work – asked me to go to Beaux Arts Ball this Saturday but I declined.

Although she didn’t attend the dance with Torleif, their close friendship often proved difficult for Ellsworth during his absence while serving as a missionary. On a temple trip to Manti that included the Knaphus family, Dorothy played an April Fool’s joke on Ellsworth and wrote to him that she and Torleif decided on a whim to be sealed there. Practical jokes notwithstanding, Dorothy and Ellsworth married in August 1934.  

Dorothy with her parents Hyrum and June Smith, c1928

Dorothy in Professor Wildhaber’s studio, 1932

Cumorah Farm Mission and Moroni Monument Dedication

That same summer, Dorothy’s parents Hyrum and June Bushman Smith were called to be missionaries at the Cumorah Farm. After their marriage, Dorothy and Ellsworth moved to Idaho, but Torleif’s connection to the family remained as he completed the monument and attended its dedication in July 1935. Over the next year, Dorothy regularly wrote to her family in Palmyra, discussing plans for the Moroni monument dedication and future pageant. In her letters, Dorothy sketched out ideas for local advertisements for the pageant.

On May 26, 1935, Dorothy’s brother Oliver—a missionary in the Eastern States Mission—wrote about local missionary efforts and preparations for the monument’s dedication:

Along with 37 other missionaries of the Easter States mission I am engaged in a special drive in the area within a 20-mile radius of Palmyra, which will continue until the dedication of the Cumorah Monument on July 21. We hope to do some good work by this concentration of effort, which has significance with the connection of the monument. We are visiting every home—rural and urban—in the section. Eleven of us stay together at the LDS hall in Palmyra and drive out 5 or 10 miles every morning to a rural section in which we go tracting until late afternoon, when we return. Our week-ends I have visited Rochester and Buffalo for publicity work. At Buffalo I stayed at Mary Payne Chamber’s place. She has three children. Girl 11, girl 9, and boy 7….

Every day or so there are visitors here from somewhere we have been. Today Bro & Sis Douglas Anderson visited us and went to the Peter Whitmer farm with us in the afternoon. The church was organized there. Next Sunday we are having a session of the Cumorah District Conference here.3

Dorothy’s Visit to the Cumorah Farm

In the spring of 1936, Dorothy and Ellsworth made plans to visit Dorothy’s parents in Palmyra that summer with their young son Norman. In her life sketch she recalls:

The summer of 1936 we vacationed at Cumorah Farm, near Palmyra, N.Y. with my parents. Lois, who had been with us for her senior high school year, returned with us. It was thrilling to see the first pageant presented at the Hill, which was co-authored by my brother Oliver, an Eastern States missionary. I was able to help with publicity posters. Our 15 mos Norman was used in a covered wagon sequence of a pioneer panorama presented one evening at the Hill.4

The 1936 pageant was a family affair. Her parents Hyrum and June and brother Oliver had key roles developing the pageant, and sisters June and Lois Smith participated in the pageant. Even her one-year-old son Norman rode in a wagon as part of the festivities. The images below reveal pages from Dorothy’s Book of Remembrance that chronicled their trip.5

Hyrum Smith (center) standing at the base of the monument. He is a first cousin once removed to Joseph Smith, and served as Torleif’s model for Joseph Smith in this panel. Note Hyrum Smith is a first cousin once removed to Joseph Smith Jr., not a second cousin as the caption indicates.

Additional pages from Book of Remembrance of June Adele Smith, Dorothy’s younger sister. 6

 

 

 

1. Ashton, Curtis, “Reclaiming Hill Cumorah,” April 18, 2014, https://history.lds.org/article/historic-sites/new-york/manchester/reclaiming-hill-cumorah

2. Smith, Dorothy, Diary 1932-1934, in the author’s possession

3. Smith, Oliver, to Dorothy Smith Clark, May 26 1935,Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark Archive, https://smith-clark.kindex.org/share/1702339dd4b1d708c6ff76822484b96f

4. Smith, Dorothy, Life Sketch, Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark Archive, Jan 31 1975, https://smith-clark.kindex.org/share/16f43a4946cdb126afdfc57b42c44472

5. Smith, Dorothy, Book of Remembrance, Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark Archive, https://smith-clark.kindex.org/gather

6. Smith, June A., Book of Remembrance, in the author’s possession

July Software Update for Archive Owners

July Software Update for Archive Owners

Here’s what we’ve been up to this summer to improve your Kindex experience.

 

New Support Pages Now Available

New Kindex Features

Archive Deactivation. Archive owners may now deactivate their archives by downgrading to a Kindexer plan. When a user downgrades to Kindexer, their archive is inactive and unavailable to the archive owner and its collaborators. The archive can be reactivated by changing the user plan to a Closet or Cloud Archive plan. After the upgrade to Cloud or Closet, archive access is restored. Learn more.

Account Migration to new Plans. Kindex Account migration is currently underway. All “Freemium” users will now see a popup after login that directs them to update their archive plan. Users must update to Kindexer, Cloud, or Closet Plans by July 31, 2018.
Learn more about account migration. 

Learn more about our new Cloud and Closet plans
.

Software Changes

  1. Kindexers invited to collaborate on other archives will be directed to the archive they are collaborating in after login. Previous behavior directed collaborators to the Featured Archives page after login.
  2. Changes in transcription status (in progress or complete) will now activate the Save button to ensure changes to record transcription status will be saved.
  3. New user support for account downgrades (Freemium, Cloud, or Closet downgrading to Kindexer), including new instructions for account downgrades, account change email confirmations, and instructions for archive reactivation.
  4. New user support for account cancellations, including new instructions for account cancellations, account cancellation email confirmation, and guidelines for account reactivation.

Bug Fixes

  1. Fixed a bug that prevented users from accessing Manage Archive tool
  2. Fixed a bug that prevented users from earning appropriate Kindex Rewards credit.
  3. Fixed a bug that temporarily prevented access to transcription page.
  4. Fixed a bug that prevented archive owners from removing collaborators
  5. Fixed a bug that errantly asked paying users to provide another method of payment.

Tagging Features. We will be making some enhancements to our tagging features, including person list editing and tagging. In order to implement these updates, we will be temporarily removing access to our tagging tool beginning on August 1, 2018, and restored as soon as the features are up and running.

Record Uploads. A small number of users have experienced errors when uploading large batches of records. This can occur when a user navigates away from their Kindex screen during the upload process. Users can avoid this issue by staying on the same screen during record uploads. We will advise when this bug is fixed.

How Can We Help?

Is there a feature you would like to see? Are you experiencing a bug? Do you need support or traning? Let us know how we can help!

New Kindex Archive Plans

CLOUD PUBLIC ARCHIVE
Share & Index Publicly
Unlimited records
Unlimited Collaborators
$5
/MONTH
$0/month with Kindex Rewards
CLOSET PRIVATE ARCHIVE
Invite-only
Unlimited records
Unlimited collaborators
$10
/MONTH
$5/month with Kindex Rewards
ARCHIVE JUMP START
Get a searchable archive fast with a custom scanning & archive bundle!
Starts at
$199
1-Year Cloud or Closet Archive
+ Scanning

Rescue Your Records

Make your records accessible and searchable with Kindex archival software. Whether you are a family, organization, or society, you can gather, index, and search your letters, journals, photos, and other documents in a private or public archive.

Earn Rewards

You deserve some credit for rescuing records! For every 20 records indexed indexing in your Kindex archive, you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next month’s subscription. That means your Kindex archive could be FREE! Learn more

Kindex Archive Features

CLOUD ARCHIVE CLOSET ARCHIVE
Privacy Public Private
Searchable and accessible via search engines Yes No
Archive search Anyone Owners & Collaborators
Indexing Owners, Collaborators, and Guests
(Guests: Kindexer/Cloud/Closet account)
Owners & Collaborators
Adding records Owners & Collaborators Owners & Collaborators
Deleting records Owners Owners
Single record downloads Owners, Collaborators, and Guests Owners & Collaborators
Public archive links to single records Yes Yes
Custom subdomain Yes
Archive size Unlimited records (JPG, PNG, PDF under 15MB)
Collaborators Unlimited
Record metadata Yes
 Batch record metadata Yes
Batch record uploads Yes
Record transcription Yes
Record tagging Yes
Crowdsourced transcription Yes
Print record to PDF Yes
Searchable transcription and metadata Yes
Support and Training Free

Planting Pansies: A Remembrance

Planting Pansies: A Remembrance

Recently I visited the coastal village of Bosham, Sussex, where my Chamberlain ancestors lived out their days fishing, gathering oysters, mending nets, and laundering clothes. I walked around the marshy harbor, past the quay on to Shore Road, where high tides brush the steps of the sea-facing homes. I passed the Millhouse where my Second Great Grandmother Ida Gardner lived with her husband and children. And I stepped quietly on the worn floors of the 1000-year-old Holy Trinity church where my Great Grandfather Archie was baptized in an ancient stone font. As I wandered through the churchyard, brushing my hands against sea-pocked headstones, I noticed something that took my breath away: bunches of pansies dotted the yard, planted seemingly at random. To understand why these pansies meant anything to me requires the telling of another story: how through loss, pansies became a flower of remembrance for my ancestors.

Sisters Ida and Ellen Gardner were young — 10 and 13 years old respectively —when their mother died. Following her death, Ida lived with her maternal grandparents while her older sister Ellen stayed with cousins in nearby Fishbourne. In 1878, 17-year-old Ida Gardner gave birth to a son, Archie. The birth record did not reveal a father. Three years later, Ellen married Percy Chamberlain, a fisherman who was orphaned as a boy and was also raised by his grandparents. During this time, younger sister Ida worked as a laundress, living with her grandmother and son Archie.[1] By 1887, Ida was married to George Brown while Ellen, Percy, and their three children lived in Fisher’s Gate, near Brighton. 1887 was a pivotal year for the Chamberlains. In March of that year the family decided to join themselves to the Mormon faith. On a foggy evening missionary George Miller[2]  baptized Percy and Ellen Chamberlain in the sea near Brighton’s West Pier.  From George Miller’s diary:

Wednesday March the 2 1887 […] then we go to the west pier to meet a man and his wife who wished to be Baptized it being a very foggy night so we baptized them close by the pier in the sea though it was so foggy and dark we was not alone for one man came along just as we were going into the water and ask us if we were going to lurn them to swim but we Baptized them all rite we came out on the street, shake hands and Bid them good by they go for Fishers gate we for Albion Hill.[3]

In the ensuing months, Ellen and Percy determined that they would sell their possessions and emigrate to Utah with their children, Albert, Ellen Rose, Mabel, and infant Robert. When they set sail on the S. S. Wyoming in June 1888, there was one extra family member: their ten-year-old nephew Archie. He was thereafter was known as their son Archibald Percy Chamberlain. In my mind’s eye I can see young Archie pacing the ship’s deck, already missing his mother and grandmother, bracing for new adventure with his new family.

The journey took its toll on the Chamberlain family. Ellen struggled with a persistent illness throughout the voyage across the Atlantic. Too weak to care for her infant son Robert on the journey, she allowed a kind stranger to assist her. As they grew closer to Salt Lake City, Robert also fell ill with fever. The night they arrived by train in Salt Lake City, residents took the ailing family to the Tithing Yard [4]—an open-air, temporary accommodation where incoming emigrants could sleep outdoors and receive provisions and rest. Despite these comforts, Robert died that first night on the straw in the Tithing Yard. They buried the him in a pauper’s area of the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Tragedy also caught up with Ellen. Doctors determined that her illness was tuberculosis, and she died the following January, six months after the family arrived in Utah. She was buried in the same cemetery, not far from her son Robert. With no headstone to mark their burial place, Percy marked their graves with pansies.

Percy never remarried. His family lived in an area of the Salt Lake Avenues called “the crummies”, and  Percy—far removed from his fisherman days—worked as a gardener. He could often be seen walking through avenues with his sack of gardening tools slung over his shoulder. Many times those walks lead to the cemetery where he cared for the pansies that marked the resting place of his wife and son. Perhaps he loved pansies for their delicate hardiness, and how they bloomed despite the cold.  Or perhaps he knew that pansies symbolized humility and remembrance. A remembrance of seaside days, gathering cockles in the shallow marshes of Bosham harbour. A remembrance of Ellen and the love of his youth. A remembrance of home and the flowers that bloomed there.

english-family-copy

A collage of the Percy & Ellen Chamberlain Family designed by Clark Chamberlain.

2015-03-29-15-01-42

Bosham homes on Shore Road.

aac_c1905

Great Grandfather Archibald Percival Chamberlain

[1]  1881 England Census, Class: RG11; Piece: 1135; Folio: 24; Page: 9; GSU roll: 1341277, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. 1881 British Isles Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

[2] Amazingly, George Miller’s great-granddaughter is my neighbor Sydnee Spencer. It was her family that donated his journal to the Church History Library.

[3]  George Miller, 1850-1918. “George Miller papers, 1886-1925”. Church History Library Catalog, Call Number: MS 2816, Image name: MS 2816_f0002_00113.JPG

[4] Fred E. Woods, “The Arrival of Nineteenth-Century Mormon Emigrants in Salt Lake city,” in  Salt Lake City: The Place Which God Prepared, ed. Scott C. Esplin and Kenneth L. Alford (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2011), 203–230.

May Software Update for Archive Owners

May Software Update for Archive Owners

It’s been a busy spring at Kindex! Here’s what we’ve been up to.

 

New Help Guides Now Available

New Kindex Archive Plans

This spring we officially released new archive plans for Kindex. Learn more about our new Cloud and Closet plans.

NoteIf you signed up for a “Unlimited + Collaborative” Kindex archive before February 28, 2018, there is no need to update your archive plan until your subscription renews. On or near your renewal date, owners with private archives will be updated to the Closet Archive plan, and owners with public archives will be updated to the Cloud Archive plan. 

Kindex Rewards

We released a new Rewards program to as a great incentive you keep indexing and reaching your goal of a searchable archive. Have you earned your reward this month? For every 20 records indexed in your Kindex archive, you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next month’s subscription. Rewards apply to Cloud and Closet archive owners only. Learn more about Kindex Rewards.

Software Notes

Please note the following information regarding Kindex software:

Saving Transcription Status. In order to ensure your transcription status is saved, please save your work after changing indexing from “in progress” to “Complete”. It may be necessary, make a small edit (or add a space) in your transcription to activate the Save button. We will be updating this feature to ensure that the change in transcription status is auto-saved. 

Tagging Features. We will be making some enhancements to our tagging features, including person list editing and tagging. In order to implement these updates, we will be temporarily removing access to our tagging tool beginning on June 1, 2018, and restored as soon as the features are up and running.

Record Uploads. A small number of users have experienced errors when uploading large batches of records. This can occur when a user navigates away from their Kindex screen during the upload process. Users can avoid this issue by staying on the same screen during record uploads. We will advise when this bug is fixed.

How Can We Help?

Is there a feature you would like to see? Are you experiencing a bug? Do you need support or traning? Let us know how we can help!

 

New Kindex Archive Plans

CLOUD PUBLIC ARCHIVE
Share & Index Publicly
Unlimited records
Unlimited Collaborators
$5
/MONTH
$0/month with Kindex Rewards
CLOSET PRIVATE ARCHIVE
Invite-only
Unlimited records
Unlimited collaborators
$10
/MONTH
$5/month with Kindex Rewards
ARCHIVE JUMP START
Get a searchable archive fast with a custom scanning & archive bundle!
Starts at
$199
1-Year Cloud or Closet Archive
+ Scanning

Rescue Your Records

Make your records accessible and searchable with Kindex archival software. Whether you are a family, organization, or society, you can gather, index, and search your letters, journals, photos, and other documents in a private or public archive.

Earn Rewards

You deserve some credit for rescuing records! For every 20 records indexed indexing in your Kindex archive, you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next month’s subscription. That means your Kindex archive could be FREE! Learn more

Kindex Archive Features

  CLOUD ARCHIVE CLOSET ARCHIVE
Privacy Public Private
Searchable and accessible via search engines Yes No
Archive search Anyone Owners & Collaborators
Indexing Owners, Collaborators, and Guests
(Guests: Kindexer/Cloud/Closet account)
Owners & Collaborators
Adding records Owners & Collaborators Owners & Collaborators
Deleting records Owners Owners
Single record downloads Owners, Collaborators, and Guests Owners & Collaborators
Public archive links to single records Yes Yes
Custom subdomain Yes
Archive size Unlimited records (JPG, PNG, PDF under 15MB)
Collaborators Unlimited
Record metadata Yes
 Batch record metadata Yes
Batch record uploads Yes
Record transcription Yes
Record tagging Yes
Crowdsourced transcription Yes
Print record to PDF Yes
Searchable transcription and metadata Yes
Support and Training Free