Hoarder to Order Part III: Prepare to Rescue

Hoarder to Order Part III: Prepare to Rescue

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.  

Part I: Am I my Brothers (Record) Keeper?

Part II: A Family Record Risk Assessment


Now that we’ve discussed the important role of record-keepers, and what risk factors help us prioritize our record rescue, we are finally ready to begin a record rescue in earnest. Put very broadly, here are the basic steps of the record rescue.

Before a single record is gathered, scanned, or indexed, we must prepare for the rescue by asking a few important questions. The first: What is your Why?

Establishing your “why” is a crucial step, because it’s a reason you will turn to again and again. Record rescuers will face countless challenges, face adversity, and experience burnout (and that’s just the first week!). Your “why”” will inspire you and others stay focused on the goal more than a “what” ever could.

Knowing your “why” will help you visualize what you want to have happen as a result of your record rescue. Your “why” can be specific or broad, tangible or intangible. Here are some examples:

  • “I want my family to know who my grandmother was”
  • “I want to ensure my Great-Grandfather’s influence will be felt for generations”
  • “I want to help future researchers and historians”
  • “I want my father to be remembered”
  • “I want to change the hearts of my family”
 


Now that you’re thinking about your “why”, let’s also think about the “what”. The “what” is the scope of your record rescue. Your scope should answer these questions:

Who?    Which?    What?    When?

In other words:

  • Whose records are we rescuing?
  • Which records are included?
  • What are we doing to the records?
  • When will we complete it?

For example:

  • We are scanning grandma’s love letters by Christmas! (not photos, not greeting cards, not family letters)
  • We are gathering all of the family records pertaining to Aunt Betty before she moves into her new home.

Advice on Scope

  1. Start small. You wouldn’t climb a mountain pulling a mountain of 15 boxes, but you could take a backpack. That’s actually a good rule of thumb: can you fit your record rescue in a backpack? If the answer is no, consider paring down the scope into something with reasonable, reachable boundaries.
  2. If possible, separate records based on record type. For example, rescuing grandma and grandpa’s love letters is easier when you don’t include t photos, slides, and diaries. The more record types you have, the more complex your project will be, especially during the scanning and preservation stages.
  3. Show success early and often. Keep your family engaged in the rescue by updating them on your progress and sharing records on social media.

 

In addition to knowing our “why” and “what”, there is one more step in our record rescue preparation: enlisting help. Stay tuned for our next installment where we discuss ways to engage your family in the rescue.

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.    

Hoarder to Order Part I: Am I My Brother’s (Record) Keeper?

Hoarder to Order Part I: Am I My Brother’s (Record) Keeper?

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?

By Rob Bogaerts / Anefo (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

By Heather Cowper [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Solving Mysteries with Searchable Archives

Solving Mysteries with Searchable Archives

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.

crich-2

crich-3

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.

dsc-dup-2.jpg

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

3 Feb

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

dsc-dup-1

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.

ex-1

ex-2

ex-3

behonest.jpg

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.

Conclusion

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?

compare

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.

New Kindex Feature Release Today

New Kindex Feature Release Today

We are excited to announce the release of a major update to Kindex archival software, with several new features that will make creating your searchable family archive faster and easier.  We’ve maximized space, improved archive organization, and enhanced record navigation and transcription. Check out the updates below or watch our Kindex Feature Update video.

Organize & Browse Your Archive

  • Enjoy an expanded viewing area for your records
  • Access tools to add, filter, move, and delete records
  • Click a record to view or edit (add a transcription, description, or metadata). Note removal of “Transcribe” on record thumbnail. Purple checkmarks indicate indexing is complete.
  • View All Records or Indexed Records
  • View your archive record total and indexing progress

Manage Your Collections

  • View Collection record totals
  • Organize your Collections by using Sub-Collections
  • Use collections to filter your record views or search
  • Hover over record number to edit or move Collections

View & Transcribe Records

Navigate your Archive

  • When a record is open, you can view and edit records consecutively with new new navigation buttons above the record
  • The same navigation buttons appear below,  along with a Save button
  • A button under the transcription shows indexing progress as Complete or In Progress. When a transcription is done, click the “Read it!” link to read the completed transcription

We hope you enjoy this update. Let us know what you think!

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Kindex Archive Essential Features

Kindex Archive Essential Features

Many Kindex users have asked us, “What exactly do I get when I sign up for Kindex?” We’re glad you asked! Here’s a summary of all our key features.

Create Your Cloud or Closet Archive

  • Kindex Cloud archive is a publicly accessible archive. Cloud owners may invite Collaborators to add or index records. Guests must have a free, “Kindexer” account to index records.
  • Kindex Closet archive is a private, invite-only archive. Closet owners may invite Collaborators to add or index records. It is only accessible and searchable to the archive owner and invited Collaborators
  • All archives receive a custom subdomain, can add unlimited records, and may invite unlimited collaborators
  • Archive backed by Amazon Web Services.

Gather Your Records

  • Add unlimited records (jpg, png, pdf up to 15MB each)
  • Import Memories from FamilySearch.
  • Individual or batch uploads

Collaborate with Others

  • Invite unlimited friends and family to access the archive, free
  • Collaborators can search, add, and index records
  • Unite records scattered among various households or locations
  • Create a crowdsourced indexing project (public archives only)

Share Your Records

Share records & transcriptions with anyone on a custom page

Add Data to Your Records

  • Add searchable metadata (title, description, keywords, etc.) in single records or in batches
  • Add a transcription with our built-in transcription tools
  • Add tags for people, places, and events

Search Your Records

  • Easily and quickly search every word of your archive
  • Search includes metadata and transcriptions

Archive Tools

  • Download your archive data as a CSV or XLS file
  • Download your archive records as a ZIP file
  • Print individual transcriptions as QR-Coded PDFs
  • View record totals and indexing stats

Support

  • Free customer support
  • Free training

 

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