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.
Most of you will recognize this young woman as Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who kept a diary while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Her diary provid a vital, personal voice to the war experience and went on to become literary and historical treasure.
Anne Frank, c1940. Unknown photographer; Collectie Anne Frank Stichting Amsterdam – Website Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam
Do you recognize this woman?
Hermine Santruschitz, also known as Meip, was among those who helped Anne Frank and her family hide in the annex during World War II. Her service to the Frank family continued after the war when she retrieved Anne’s diary from the annex and took the diary to Anne’s father, Otto, the only surviving member of the Frank family. Anne was the record creator, but Meip was the record rescuer. Without Meip, Anne’s story could have been lost to history.
Many of us are the “Meips” of our family: we are the record rescuers. While we do not face the same obstacles as the Frank family, we have a great responsibility to ensure our family records are not lost, damaged, or thrown away. As keepers of family records in an increasingly digital age, we are among the last generations who will create or save written family records. Stored in boxes or on closet shelves, our records are not just the museum pieces of the future—they are the ultimate key to our family history, the tablula rasa that coming generations will turn to for answers.
Which leads us to the question: Am I my brother’s (or grandmother’s, or uncle’s, or cousin’s) record keeper? We must be. As the gatekeepers of family records, how do we fulfill our responsibility to rescue them and preserve both our family’s legacy and add their voices to history? From boomers to millennials, we bear the collective responsibility to rescue history through our family records.
How do we begin? From inventory, to scanning, to digital archiving, each step of a record rescue could easily be (and probably is) a class of its own. It can be overwhelming, but there is hope. The purpose of this series make a family record rescue manageable, give tips for success, and inspire each of you to take action.
Next up: Hoarder to Order Part II: A Family Record Risk Assessment. We will discuss why family records are at risk and review common obstacles families face in record-keeping and preservation.
Despite all the busyness of preparing for RootsTech, this morning I had a few quiet moments this morning thinking of our Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark. I wondered, what was she doing this week, so many years ago? I searched “Feb 27” on her Kindex archive, and found these diary pages from 1928:
Sunday Feb 26th
Stay home from S S with Virgil who has a bad cold. Go to church with Lucille & to Mutual. In our J class we discuss getting or “J” pin. Discuss contest numbers for M.I.A. Day & began plan for Progressive Supper.
Monday Night Feb 27 Lucille P. and I went down to Galt Hospital to see Anna Nielson who had her appendix out last Friday. She was feeling pretty good. We took her some flowers in behalf of our Junior class.
Wed. Feb 29th – Leap year
We washed & in P.M. I went to bed as I had a little sore throat.
Thurs. Mar 1st Spring weather
Friday. I’m up & better. Sr. Wallburger sends us some cakes & tarts.
Nothing much: some church activities, a sore throat, a visit to a friend, and a comment on the weather. And yet, it is so much, because with every found page the knowledge of who she was becomes more complete. Getting face-to-face with her history is one the greatest gifts I can think of.
What will you discover when you index your family records? Try it out free on Kindex.org.
I recently accompanied my 5th-Grader on a field trip to the Utah State Capitol and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) Museum. As we passed the capitol on the west side, we our school bus drove by the Capitol Hill Ward where my grandparents first met in 1932. At the DUP Museum next door, we had a scavenger hunt with the students. As we were checking items off our list, I walked past these photos.
They were part of a larger exhibit on pioneer Charles C. Rich and his family. I was immediately struck by the similarity between the lettering on the photo captions and our grandmother’s lettering. Could it be hers? I asked docents at the DUP if anything could be learned about the donor and date of donation, but unfortunately, there was no additional information.
But what evidence could I discover within our own family archive on Kindex? Even though the archive is only partially transcribed, I was certain I could find some clues. A quick search of “DUP” and “lettering” gave me answers in seconds. Let’s look at the connections.
Connection 1: Employment and Skill
Dorothy Smith did odd jobs hand-lettering for various local businesses. A quick search for “lettering” in her Kindex archive confirms this, revealing a list of lettering jobs she did in the early 1930’s.
Hobbies Dot JOBS Employment
3 Feb ’32 Clerked at “Everybody’s Store’ sale today (1.50) (script)
13 June ’32 – got show card order – Fred Bich[…]
Also job to tint 22 charts for NDA.
Jan 16 / 34 Kress Store clerk & Decorator 14.00 wk
Mar or Apr 33 thru Aug 34 Lettering signs after May 1/34 earn 17. – 20. wk
6 Dec 33 Hand-lettered some charts for Pres. B B Stringham
14-19 Dec 1931 – 7.65 earned from Christmas and orders from friends or kin.
Also 5.00 making 16 show cards for Realsilk Co. thru Chas. Jarman.
1.50 for business cards.
Connection 2: Physical Proximity and Record of Visit
In the same record as above, under the heading of “Church Work”, she mentions a visit the DUP Museum which was situated near her home.
going Wed DUP
Connection 3: Handwriting Comparison
In her archive are many examples of lettering she did for various family history projects. This connection compares Charles Rich photo captions with examples of Dorothy’s own lettering in her Book of Remembrance, also found in her Kindex archive.
Connection 4: Family Connection
A final connection is a family one. My own 2nd Great Grandfather, Charles Rich Clark, was acquainted with Charles C. Rich family, as they both had families in the same towns in Southern Idaho.
While Dorothy has some variance in her lettering style with the use of script and various embellishments, there is a strong similarity between the writing in the Charles C. Rich photos and the writing from her own Book of Remembrance. I see a strong resemblance especially in the numbering. Below is a selection of Dorothy’s writing pasted on to the Charles C. Rich photo image.
While there is not direct evidence to support that she indeed did the lettering, there is strong circumstantial evidence that she did. What do you think?
Dorothy’s lettering in center.
It’s fantastic that this type of research takes just a few minutes when you have a searchable arhchive. With our built-in indexing tools, your family records can be searched in seconds, making solving mysteries like this fast and easy. Haven’t tried Kindex yet? Head on over to kindex.org and start your free archive.
You don’t need to be a hoarder to need a family record rescue. The backbone of our family history, family records like letters, journals, and photos are at risk of being lost, damaged, or thrown away. In my presentation “Hoarder to Order: A step-by-step family record rescue” , we’ll walk through the essential steps transforming your family records into an archive that is preserved, accessible, and searchable. Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll be covering in a presentation packed with tips, comparisons, collaborative ideas, and access to organizational templates.
- When: Thursday, March 1st at 1:30 p.m.
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Where: Ballroom J
- Session Number: RT9825
Intro: Family Records at Risk
Step 1: Prepare
- Find your “Why”
- Set the Scope
- Rescue Team Assemble!
Step 2: Gather
Step 3: Digitize
- Add Data
Step 4: Preserve
Step 5: Transform
ROOTSTECH CLASS SCHEDULE
Stop by our “Open House” and say hello!
Along with exhibitors Shotbox and Flip-Pal, Kindex will be part of a larger exhibit focused on family record preservation and archiving. This will be a fun, collaborative effort where you can wander through our “home” and discover how to rescue your family records. Kindex will be in booths 1303, 1402, 1404 adjacent to the Heirloom Show & Tell.
CHECK OUT THE EXPO HALL