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 diaries provided 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 must 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.
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.
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
- 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
- Free customer support
- Free training
It’s your archive—use what’s in it! Just-released software updates make it easier than ever to access, save, and utilize your archive data and source records. Kindex archive owners can now:
- Download archive data as XLS (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet)
- Download archive data as CSV (Comma-Separated Values)
- Download archive records as ZIP (Compressed Archive File)
When you download archive data, your archive and record data is saved to a separate XLS or CSV file, including:
- Archive Info: Your archive name and subdomain
- Record Info: Metadata, including File Name (linked to source on Kindex), Collection, Title, Person, Description, Keywords, Provenance, Date, Place
- Record Transcription
- Tags (markup within transcription)
Learn more about how Kindex metadata tools add value to your family records.
When you download archive records, you get a ZIP file of:
- All records you contributed to your Kindex archive
- All records Collaborators have contributed to your archive
- All records shared to your archive from FamilySearch
How do I Get Started?
- Log in to your Kindex archive
- Click the green cog (upper right corner) to open Manage Archive
Select the Tools tab and choose your download.
- To download your archive data, choose either XLS or CSV and the file will save directly to your download folder.
- To download your archive records, choose the ZIP option. The ZIP file is accessed through an email link you will be sent once your archive is ready to download.
- When you receive the email, click the Download Now button and the ZIP file will be saved to your download folder.
Note: You can only download archive data or records if you are the archive owner. Archive owners may download records and data as often as they wish.
Which Data Download Should I Choose?
When you download your archive data, you can choose to save as an XLS (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet) or a CSV (Comma-Separated Values). Which should you choose? That depends on how you want to use your data.When you download your archive data as an XLS file, you can view it in a spreadsheet format.
This is what our family archive data looks like in an XLS file:
Looks like some records in my Art Collection are missing some metadata!
When you download your archive data as a CSV, your data is saved as plain text in a series of values (cells) separated by commas (,) in a series of lines (rows). This format offers flexibility when importing into other spreadsheet formats or databases.
How Can I Use my Data Download?
- View archive data side-by-side in a spreadsheet and see at a glance what fields are missing or incomplete. For example, in the XLS spreadsheet example above, it appears that several records in the Art collection are Record Info, including Descriptions, Keywords, and Place. I can now add that information exactly where it needs to be.
- Import your archive data into another database. If you are a family organization, genealogy society, or historical society, this data can be a very useful addition to your existing database.
- Use your data to create digital or paper publications. When you copy or export transcriptions from your spreadsheet download (with accompanying markup), you can apply styles and formats to create new publications, like a book of primary source transcriptions. In the example below, I pasted some transcription text into a basic HTML template.
Note: Markup (paragraph tags, line breaks, etc.) are retained in data exports. Markup is helpful when you want to retain the original structure of the transcription as well as apply formatting in a new program.
Cool. What’s Next?
We’re working hard to develop tools that will make it easier to grow, discover, and share your Kindex archive. Upcoming features include:
- Advanced archive data search
- Improved record navigation
- Expanded archive import and export options
Have a question or suggestion? Let’s chat.
Kindex is excited to announce several updates to our archival web software that will make indexing your family records faster and easier.
1. View Record Progress at a Glance
See at a glance your record transcription status with our new “In Progress” label. Start a new transcription (click “Transcribe”), finish incomplete transcriptions (click “In Progress”), or read completed transcriptions (click records with a white checkmark).
2. Transcribe Records Back-to-Back
Get transcriptions done quickly and efficiently with our new “Save & Do Next” option. When you are done transcribing a record, click “Save & Do Next” and Kindex will automatically load the next record in the Collection for transcription.
Alternatively, you can click “Save & Read”, which opens a new page where you can review, edit, or tag your transcription.
3. Transcribe tables, forms, and other tabular text with new table tool
Our new table tool enables you to create tables in the transcription field to transcribe records that require some organization of text, such as official records, ledgers, or records with columns or tabulated text. With the table tool you can add a table, merge, edit rows and columns, add a table header, and customize vertical and horizontal text alignment.
Hint: If you are transcribing text from common record types that have repeated fields (i.e., postcards, marriage records, ledgers), create a table template that designates data fields. Then, copy and paste the table from your existing transcription window into the transcription of each new record so transcribers can input the text in the correct fields.
4. Download archive data as a CSV file
Our CSV archive download is a fantastic tool archive owners can use to access archive data, analyze archive status and needs, and backup archive data.
To download your archive as a CSV:
- Log in to your archive and go to Manage Archive (click the green cog in upper right corner ) and
- Select the Tools tab.
- Click “Download Archive as CSV”)
Open your downloaded CSV file to your archive data. Includes Archive Name, Archive Subdomain, File Name, Collection, Title, Person, Description, Keywords, Provenance, Date, Place, Contributor, Transcription, and Tags.
We hope you find these tools helpful when transcribing your family or historical society records! Is there a feature you would like to see? Contact us and tell us about it.
It’s time to be the record rescuer your family needs. Start or upgrade your family archive on Kindex.org today.
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