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.    

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

Dorothy Smith & Ellsworth Clark Archive

Dorothy Smith & Ellsworth Clark Archive

For our inaugural Featured Archive it is only fitting that we start with the archive of the woman who inspired us to build Kindex: our Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark.  She is, and will always be our inspiration for building Kindex and rescuing family records.

Scope and Content

The archive contains letters, photos, documents, diaries, personal writings, verse, and art created by Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark between 1916 and 2008. It also includes additional photos and documents created by associated family and friends related to Dorothy and Ellsworth, including letters, documents and photos dating from the late 19th-century.

Notable content

  • Diaries and letters containing LDS Church History in Lethbridge, Alberta from 1915-1930
  • Close associations with LDS artist Torlief Knaphus and Mormon leaders including Hugh B. Brown
  • Caretaking of the Cumorah Farm in Palmyra from 1934 to 1939
  • Religious and social history in Salt Lake City from 1929 to 1940

See categories below for additional details about each archive Collection.

Accessibility and Permissions

  • Title: Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark Archive
  • URLhttps://smith-clark.kindex.org
  • Archive Owner: Cathy Gilmore
  • Total Records: 1573
  • % Indexed: 24%
  • Accessibility: Public
  • Permissions:
    • Public: Search, view indexed records (no account required)
    • Guest: Search, index records, view all records (Free Kindexer account required)
    • Collaborator: Search, index records, view all records, contribute records, access archive from Archives list. Collaborator status is invite-only and must be requested from the archive owner. Kindex account reqired (Kindexer, Cloud, Closet)
  • Source: Records gathered, scanned, and added to archive collaboratively by descendants of Dorothy Smith and Ellsworth Clark.

Art

Dorothy was a prolific amateur artist who used many mediums to express her creativity. Collection includes 83 pieces, including watercolors, oils, sketches, calligraphy, and handmade cards.

Poetry

While most of the poetry in this collection consists of love poems exchanged between Dorothy and Ellsworth, there are a handful of poems she wrote later in life that she gifted to her children and grandchildren. Collection includes 22 poems.

Photos

With 461 images, Dorothy and Ellsworth's photo collection is the largest collection in the archive. Dates span from late 19th century to the 2008. Locations: Lethbridge, Alberta; Snowflake, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; Southern Idaho, Pacific Northwest, and sites related to early LDS Church history.

Letters

With a total of 343 letters, the Letters collection includes courtship letters and correspondence written both to and from Dorothy and Ellsworth. This collection is rich with social, church, and family history. Letters span from 1915 to 2000 over 100 years of family history.

Diaries

Dorothy’s collection of eight, notebook-style diaries are primarily from her young adult years dating from 1927 to 1932. Early diaries were written in Lethbridge, Alberta and Salt Lake City, Utah, and contain an abundance of church and social. Later diaries purposed as note-keeping and verse books. These are a treasure to have, as Dorothy was not a prolific journal-keeper. Diaries include editorial notes Dorothy to the pages later in life.

Book of Remembrance

Quite possibly the highlight of the archive, Dorothy’s Book of Remembrance is a study in multiple disciplines, including photography, art, family history, genealogy, and design. Dorothy began her Book of Remembrance in the early 1930s, and added to it throughout her life. At 154 pages, this is the first of many books she began for herself and her siblings, children, and grandchildren.

Biographical Sketch of Dorothy Smith Clark

Born in the pioneer community of Snowflake, Arizona to Hyrum and June A. Bushman Smith and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Dorothy Smith had a creative and kind nature which found expression playing the good fairy and leaving secret gifts to delight her family. Dorothy’s talent in art became a serious pursuit when the Smith family relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1929. There she continued her studies at the University of Utah, met future husband Ellsworth M. Clark, and gained employment as a decorator at H.R. Kress.

While still a young mother, Dorothy completed her Book of Remembrance. A work of art in its own right, its pages reveal her deep sense of ancestral belonging, records of her parents’ and grandparents’ spiritual gifts, and a recognition of her own divine purpose and talents. As Dorothy developed her own spiritual gifts, her ability to discern the needs of others and act in faith became a catalyst for ministering to others, notwithstanding the fear and shyness she often felt. To the question posed to the Savior, “Who is my neighbor?” Dorothy could answer: the plumber, the piano tuner, the refugee, or the outcast—anyone in her path in need of help.

Dorothy’s 1964 poster sketch titled “We Believe in Sharing” affirmed the scope of her desires: to give all she had—her talents, testimony, labor, food, and possessions, bringing “more happiness, enrich[ing] the world, sharing all that has come to us as a church and as individual members.” Often overcome with social anxiety or limited by poor heath, Dorothy preferred personal visits to projects, created art to share the gospel, and wrote hundreds of inspired letters that today stand as a testimony of her covenant to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” (Mosiah 18:8-9). Without prejudice or judgment, her nurturing influence reached beyond her own nine children when she became foster mother to two Navajo children and a personal advocate for many Southeast Asian refugees who affectionately called her “Mother Clark”.

While Dorothy’s art was never exhibited, her painting of Paul Wildhaber’s “The Armor of Righteousness” was the centerpiece of her home. Unlike others who traditionally depicted male religious figures in armor, 20-year-old Dorothy changed the painting’s subject from hero to heroine, thus broadening the view of those who are “armed in righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14). From her childhood fairy gifts to the ministering of the needful and forgotten, her visionary example of what a faithful woman can do endures through her depiction of this righteous and strong heroine.

Dorothy Smith Clark
26 April 1911 – 3 February 198

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.