Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sorting Saturday - What do I do with THIS?

What do I do with this stuff?

Earlier this week I sat down on the floor in my office with my last paper genealogy files piles up next to me. One was 'misc,' another was photocopies of most of my Mamaw's notes and then there was one each for my four main family lines: Epperson, Hood, Nordstrom and Eldridge.

I with the 'misc' folder and it was mostly information on libraries I hadn't been to in over a decade or articles that I could find on the internet.  The old library information went into recycle pile and the articles went into 'find on the internet' pile. That was the easy part.

The family folders were a bit more complicated. There were bits and bobs that weren't need anymore and so joined the library pamphlets in the recycle bin. There was a small collection of handwritten notes, that were put in yet another pile, 'to be typed.'  But what about all the other stuff? There are copies of emails, correspondence, funeral cards, newspaper clippings, my grandmother's hand-written family tree, church bulletins, photocopies from books, copies of death certificates from the Ohio Historical Society, and Christmas cards. Oh, and of course, my copies of Mamaw's notes need to be kept too.

It makes sense to scan the pages I've photocopies from books and then add them to the 'digital documents' folder on my hard-drive. But what about the ephemera and correspondence? I mean I can't simply throw away the funeral card for my papaw or the church bulletin announcing the birth of my sister's first child.  If I scan the copies of ancient emails, do I need to keep the paper copies too? I mean the 'e' stands for electronic, it wasn't originally paper in the first place. Do I need to keep photocopies of newspaper articles?  I suppose, I'll have to take it on a case-by-case basis. Scan and keep or scan and toss.

As for Mamaw's papers and the funeral cards and such, I think it makes sense to scan it all. A digital copy will make it easier to find and share the information. Digital copies can also be put in my OneNote family notebook.

It sounds so easy, doesn't it. And scanning is easy; just not very exciting. Then after everything is scanned I can store all of the originals in an archival box.

But what do I do with the funeral card for one of my favorite professors from college or the one for the mother of a friend from college who recently died? They aren't my family and don't fit readily into one of my family files. But they are part of my history. Do they get scanned? Stored in a separate file or in the Epperson file? Should I attach a note?

It's all such a muddle. Organizing isn't nearly as much fun as searching through the census on a microfilm reader. And in the meantime my 'to type' file has been sitting on the desk, taunting me.


Homestead Mommy said...

It sounds like your making great progress going through your files!
I'm the same way I just can't get rid of paper copies of some things. I keep them filed but scan a copy as well. I like having a back up that way.
You could use the non family info as part of a history write up about your life.
I'm eventually going to turn my research into a book for my kids. I would like to include stories from my life as part of that and I think the things you mentioned could fit well into that!

Amanda E. Epperson said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately and have put the whole project on hold. Maybe, I'll be inspired again during Spring Break.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

I have the same issue. I have scanned in a lot of my documents, but my fear of crashing hard drives has forced me to keep all of the hard copies. Such a conundrum.

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