Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Restore the Ancestors: I Did My 10

Restore the Ancestors is a collaborative effort between, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, FamilySearch and LowCountry Africana. Their goal is to digitize every surviving estate inventory for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872, as well as Bills of Sale from the same period. Once these items are digitized, they will be indexed as well, resulting in a free searchable collection available for future generations of family historians.

Why are estate inventories of this era so important? Because of a certain kind of property listed on them: slaves. These people have histories, few records, and many descendants who face challenges in learning their own ancestral paths. So you can see how valuable this free database is to the genealogy community.

The Restore the Ancestors project is actively seeking volunteers to help index these inventories. They make a very good case of why it is important to get your 10 pages indexed.

Today I claimed my Restore the Ancestors badge for my 10 pages. It was really rewarding to give back. I indexed a sizable estate inventory with lots of property and slaves. It's difficult to describe the feeling of restoring the memory of the slaves in these records. Hopefully the names I pulled from these pages help a fellow genealogist make another connection and extend their family tree further.

The indexing process is really easy. Send an email. They send you instructions. There's help and encouragement all along the way. I hope to do more pages once my schedule slows down.

So what about you? Have I convinced you to do 10 yet? It's one of the more emotionally fulfilling indexing projects out there. You won't regret the experience, and the ancestors will be grateful as well.

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