Finding a box of old letters in the back of the closet will make any genealogist's heart race, but how does one preserve correspondence, photographs and obituaries so future generations also can enjoy reading about their past?
LaDawn Dalton's workshop on Digital Preservation is one of 27 classes at the all-day Family History Workshop offered by the Northern Arizona Genealogy Society and the Prescott LDS Family History Center in Prescott on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Dalton just completed her master's degree in Information Resources and Library Science through the University of Arizona, with a concentration on preserving family records. She will present up-to-date information on how to maintain and preserve records over the long term, and how to label information so it's readily accessible.
"One of the big problems is we have so much information, we need to learn about sorting it properly," the Prescott Valley resident said. "Digital information is so much more fragile than having a box of grandmother's papers."
Debra Reynolds, also of Prescott Valley, will teach a class on Locating Family Records. She hopes to motivate her audience to look in unexpected places for family stories and to ask questions about what they find.
She said she discovered how assertive her grandmother was after finding a box of letters written between her grandmother and grandfather in the 1950s.
"I lived with her and cared for her when she was elderly, and I never knew these things about her," Reynolds said.
Not everything she learned about family was that satisfying, however. On her father's side, she found out his grandfather fought with the Confederacy during the Civil War, while on her grandmother's side, family members were abolitionists.
"I'm not sure how the family handled the marriage," she said with a laugh.
The postcard announcement for this year's workshop depicts a family of 16 posing outside a home in Massachusetts in 1902. Behind the photo and workshop information is a copy of the ship's "Manifest of Alien Passengers for the U.S. Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival" for the S.S. Romanic. The photographer of the family photo was one of Marilyn Day's husband's ancestors, and she used it in the collage.
"It was taken in 1902 by Quincy W. Day, my husband's grandfather, using his state-of-the-art 1899 Adlake Camera. His pictures were on glass-plate negatives. The picture is of a family who lived in Forge Village, Mass., and it was probably the older family members who worked in the Abbot Worsted Company woolen mill there," Day said.
Among other classes available at the workshop are Beginning Genealogy, World Vital Records, Newspaper Research, Genealogy Gems in Military Records, Immigration Records, Scandinavian Research, and Scrapbooking Your Family History.
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with a General Session from 9:15-9:30. Seven classes are available at each of four class periods with the first class period beginning at 9:40 a.m. and the fourth and final class ending at 3:10 p.m. Classes last an hour, lunch (beef vegetable stew and homemade bread) is included in the $10 workshop donation if paid by Oct. 15; $15 after Oct. 15. The LDS Family History Center is located at 1001 Ruth Street, Prescott. For more information, visit nags.weebly.com; call 772-1741 or 445-8996; or email email@example.com.