Re: Inherited the project: How do I decide which info is critical? #general



I know at this time it seems that there might be a quick & easy way to
determine the value of some things, and then toss away anything that looks like
"junk" to a Genealogical novice, but I can tell you after having saved the
belongings of several older relatives, that you can not toss anything away until
you have knowledge or have a knowledgeable person go through it piece-by-piece.

In my research I have found very important facts scribbled in the tiniest of
margins of genealogical magazines, or on backs of printed emails or letters,
and things like handwritten map directions to family cemeteries on
restaurant placemats, and all sorts of things that may have been impossible to
find again or know without these scraps.

And... information is often found to be more relevant when in the context of
newly found information and/or family lines.

Although not a certified genealogist, as a service in my data-organization
business, I help people to sort this type of material, cull all possible
details and scraps of information, and log it for use when it makes more sense.
(which of course sometimes may never happen)

Either find someone locally to help you do this or take on all materials
yourself and go through them very carefully, properly sourcing them, detailing
their available data, both obvious and not, and then make decisions of how to
store them. Most genealogical programs have sourcing capability, but even a
simple spreadsheet can be used to index and log what you have.

Take a Genealogy beginners course at your university or a local tech college,
or online, to get a feel for the organizational process. Organization is
important, and as you organize you will see the relationships of personal data
to the historical or back-issues of publications he may have saved...either
by Surname or Location.

If the publications are archived online somewhere, you may be able to throw
some things away, but you can't count on using the right search-terms or even
knowing where to begin looking in an archive without knowing which volumes
seemed relevant to your relative. If he really did save every volume of a
magazine or publication, it may be possible to donate them to your university
library historical rooms and thereby still have access when you need it? Just be
sure to pull any hand-written notes, photos or other "stuff" that may have
been placed within their pages as he did research.

Some materials may be scanned to save space, but you need to be vigilant in
scanning them completely, clearly and securely backing them up on CDs or other
storage devices that can be used and kept safe (and taken quickly away in
case of storms, earthquakes or fires etc.)

...and when the task seems overwhelming, take heart in that he obviously
felt you were a person he could depend on and trust with the hundreds or
thousands of hours of labor he's already put into gathering and beginning this
never-ending quest.

Carolyn Rutherford,

Greetings to you all! I believe my father Irving LEVINE may have been a member
of this discussion group. If that is the case, I'm sorry to inform you that he
passed away in early November rather unexpectedly. But not before extracting
from me a promise to carry on his genealogy work! I am a total novice. I must
confess that I've only paid light attention to what he has already discovered
aside >from the rather amusing fact of the family name actually being SMUGOVICH
prior to immigration to Canada.

Here is my dilemma: he was a man who never threw anything away so there are
not only files on his computer but about 9 packing boxes of related paper files,
publications and I don't really even know yet what all else. I'm going to
need to have the stuff shipped eventually >from Florida.
I have to confess to being quite intimidated by the volume! I'm wondering
if any of you have any practical suggestions for picking up the pieces when not
starting >from scratch, but >from an overabundance of information! I have
read through the FAQs and I know there are back issues of Avoteynu in those boxes
and probably several of the recommended publications as well.

Thanks in advance for any help, pointers or advice!
Deborah Levine
Southern California

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