Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: The Unofficial Family Archivist on Eastman's

Family letters in boxes are a regular
of the world of archivists and

This week, I'm pleased to link to a review of The Unofficial Family Archivist from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, a very well respected genealogy publication. I am glad that the genealogy community is finding the book useful. I have come to learn much in the past few years about this enthusiastic group. I am honored that these talented professionals have given me space in their newsletter and have recommended my writing to others interested in the work of family history.

The Unofficial Family Archivist  seems to be filling a gap between professions. Most archivists focus on personal papers or institutional records housed within organizations. However, more and more archivists are recognizing the value of outreach for exploring what materials individuals have in their homes that fill gaps in the historical record. More archivists are attempting to help individuals with their own papers, such as in Massachusetts where they have the Mass Memories project. More archivists are recognizing the value of the family stories of "regular folk." More archivists still need to recognize the need for and the opportunity that they have to teach their larger communities how to care for such materials.

Simple acts such as cleaning,
boxing, and foldering  personal papers
can greatly increase their longevity.
Archivists should share their simple tips
to help communities
I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with genealogist Marian Pierre-Louis on her radio program "Fieldstone Common" in December, 2012. We discussed about the role individuals play in caring for community history through their personal stories. More recently, I presented the topic of caring for family papers as part of the Boston Public Library's "Local and Family History Series." I look forward to continuing and developing my relationship with the genealogy community so that we may better understand each others' needs and boost each others' work.

Genealogists, as much as any other community I know, care about the work that archivists do. Professionals in the genealogy field are savvy researchers, smart networkers, and passionate advocates. They track down lost information and few whom I've met give up until they find it. As I've said in the past, archivists would do well to seek out genealogists and welcome them to the archives. Focusing on our mutual interests will enhance work and outreach in both fields. Thank you genealogists for caring and for giving me such a fine reception into your world.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, your book does have a place in the world of genealogy. As you've mentioned in today's post, local genealogical organizations have discovered the value of your book's advice. Among others, count my own county's genealogical society as one of those groups which has featured your book in our newsletter and in teaching beginners' classes.