For Momma - Memorial Slide Show (Turn Playlist Music off before watching)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Will We Have to go Dumpster Diving for Our Records?

Facebook was buzzing this morning about a recent article in the Mormon Times written by Michael De Groote. Mr. De Grotte was reporting on a recent speech made by Curt B. Witcher at the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy. Mr. Witcher states that many court houses are reducing the volumes of old records by taking a sample of each collection and destroying the rest. He also states that “We have left the care of our written records largely in the hands of disinterested strangers.” I don’t know about you, but I found this very disturbing news. This is also happening in our libraries where many of us have done research. Do you think this is as serious as the burning of books? Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but who decides what is worth keeping? Is it the records of the well known people who are being kept and the ordinary person’s records being hauled to the dumpster? I know how disappointed I would have been, after traveling to Nebraska this summer to research some of my ancestors, only to find out that those records had been destroyed because they “didn’t make the cut”. I don’t know the answer to the ever growing storage problem of these records and the massive, almost incomprehensible, job it would be to digitize them all, but I do know that to destroy them would mean that we could be destroying the very history of our families.

Mr. Witcher asks the question: “Who is writing letters anymore? When was the last time you received a written letter?” I must admit I haven’t written any letters since I got on the internet, nor have I received any in the mail. Oh, yes occasionally someone will send a card with a small note in it and I do the same. Even when I have mailed a letter I find it faster to type it rather than hand writing it. Even most emails I receive are jokes or emails that have been forwarded over and over, so how are we communicating these days? How are we sharing our lives in this world of the quick and easy?

Mr. Witcher also seems to be stressing the importance that we all need to take the responsibility to record our living history and suggests we all, “Write as you’ve never written before.” And to share the information with our families so that it is not lost to the future. I think that’s why I feel such an urgency to learn my own family history and to share it with the next generation. I want to make sure that the children born in my family in the next 10 generations know about their ancestors.

“We have an awesome responsibility ahead of us," Witcher said. "In so many ways, we have history in our hands. What are we going to do with it? If we wait, if we relegate for someone else to take care of, we are endangering that history — that history may be lost." (copied from Mr. De Grotte’s article.)


You can read Michael De Grotte’s full article here:
"The Coming Genealogical Dark Ages", by Michael De Grotte

1 comment:

  1. That's why I began to blog. I have collected so many records, photos, documents, etc. and wanted a place to write about them all. I have no grandchildren to pass it along to....but I do have a great extended family. There will be someone that will step forward for me to pass the torch.



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