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Cataloging and Citing Personal Papers

We have boxes of paper from our ancestors.  How should we go about reviewing, organizing and deciding what to pitch? The Summer 2016 Dallas Genealogical Society seminar "You Can't Take it With You: Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures" led by Denise Levenick was a great starting place. Now, we just have to start.

The box of "stuff" from my mom and dad's?  It looked like a bunch of old insurance bills that could be pitched, but a review of the bills gave me every address where my parents lived after they married, and a couple of my grandmother's addresses where my dad had his mail sent during WW II. There was a set of auto insurance stubs that showed my maternal grandfather's address--it looks like he paid for their auto insurance while my dad was in graduate school on the GI bill. It also had a military personal effects check list that gave his Army Serial Number and a couple of additional tidbits. I'm only half way through.

This box will allow geotagging for a lot of photos where we knew the city, but no one could remember the address of a residence.

Today's task is to read Levenick's book How to Archive Family Keepsakes for suggestions on how to catalog this box of stuff. The basic cataloging structure that I've decided upon is

  • Collection (mom and dad's papers, with date transferred to me)
  • Box # (this is #1 of several)
  • Folder # (there are no folders, but I will split out each bill payee to a folder or group them in folders)
  • Description or general inventory of contents
  • Notes on useful genealogical information

I'm not sure about digitizing this; certainly parts of it make sense. Some of it would scan well on the Scansnap auto feeder.