Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?
I’m a bit bamboozled by this challenge in that I don’t think I have any historical documents really. Original ones that is....I have lots of copies of historical documents.
Perhaps we need to define historical document…I’m assuming we are talking about a primary source. My History teacher in High School Rowena Danziger hammered in the importance of primary sources as opposed to secondary sources. My rather ham-fisted attempt to explain the difference is that a primary source would be one written at the time by someone with first hand knowledge of the event. I guess we’re talking diaries and letters.
But wait….I do have some….my mother’s letters.
And I am happy to have them. They are a mix of handwritten and typed letters dating back to 1983. She was an excellent correspondent. One day, when my children are interested, the letters might give them an insight into what kind of person she was….funny, stylish and caring to name a few qualities....
My biggest concern is that I am probably not looking after them as well as I could be.
There is all sorts of great advice on the net these days. Library of Congress and State Library of Queensland have preservation advice.
So perhaps the best plan of action for me with these is to
- Keep them out of heat/light
- Store them flat
- Store them in acid-free file folders
- Scan them!
Have you got any other suggestions?