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December 1, 2019

Receiving a Large Collection of Genealogy Documents!

Dunnville Genealogy Boxes Arrive
A few months back the Dunnville District Heritage Association offered to send Olive Tree Genealogy some newspaper clippings from a donation they had received. I was very excited to be asked and of course I agreed. A very large package soon arrived by mail consisting of hundreds of loose obituaries from newspapers.

As I was planning on how best to organize and inventory the clippings, another surprise came my way. I was told there were about a dozen large filing boxes full of miscellaneous genealogy items from the same donated materials.

We learned that these materials were from Betty Coldwell, the former chair of the now defunct Haldimand County branch of the OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society). This was too good an opportunity to save important historical records to pass up even though the thought of dealing with so many boxes was somewhat overwhelming.

My husband kindly offered to drive to Dunnville, some 3 hours distance from our home, to pick up the boxes. To my astonishment, there were over 15 large boxes full of genealogy binders, genealogy books, loose newspaper clippings, and more.  Here they are arriving at our home.

What To Do with So Many Boxes?

My husband and I are planners. We like to be organized. So we took a breath and decided we needed to sort the collection. First we needed a place to put the boxes where they would not be in the way but would be accessible. Then we could slowly and methodically "triage" the contents into organized groups of items.

Step One - Move & Triage!

So we moved to step one - moving the incoming boxes into our living room. Some had gotten wet in the journey in the rain from Dunnville to our home so removing the contents from wet boxes was our first priority.

My dogs helping me start the process

We took a break at this point but we plan to triage the contents ASAP. We saw at a glance that there are various items - hardcover genealogy books, genealogy booklets, binders of newspaper clippings, binders of research notes, family genealogies, and more. This next step will be a fun sort to organize into groups that we can either move to our basement until we have time to work on the contents, or keep in my office for starting an inventory.

The Journey Begins

Please follow along on our journey to inventory and preserve these documents. We aren't archivists but we plan to do our best. We also hope to figure out a way to make the documents accessible to genealogists and historians. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments on this blog post.

2 comments:

Shasta Matova said...

What an honor and responsibility! It seems like you are on the right track. There are probably historical societies and libraries that probably have more resources and skill in sharing the information with the public if you get overwhelmed. LDS might be willing to scan them and have them available on FamilySearch.

Unknown said...

If I were close enough to help I would be there. Sorting is my specialty! What a great opportunity.