Monday, May 27, 2013

Preacher Man

I haven't been able to do my own family history research lately, so this dispatch is about other people's genealogy.

Remember when I was scanning all that stuff for someone? Some of it was so interesting that I wrote about it here. Family history is fascinating, even when it isn't your own,

Now I'm up to the next stage of the project: getting that scanned stuff uploaded and available online for others. That's been the essential goal of this entire project: make it available to descendants.

There's more to uploading an image/document than one might think. Once it is added to the site, I also create relevant tags/keywords as well as a description of the item. In the end, you will be able to click on an ancestor in this database and see all the photos and records tied to him/her. Related items are also put in albums based on surname or a specific event. 

I do all this for future and potential descendants of these ancestral lines. In the eighteen months I've been on this project, I've grown to know this family. I can identify them in photos. I know their hobbies, professions, triumphs and tragedies. Through uploaded images, documents and stories, I make sure these things are known. 

The challenge lately has been in determining what is upload-worthy and what is not. You're probably thinking  I should upload everything in this collection, but that's a couple thousand items. Also, to be honest, some items are more interesting than others.

At this very moment, I'm uploading the historical items of a Methodist preacher. He. Saved. Everything. Every. Thing. Do I upload receipts? Hand written notes? Old bills? It depends. 

Preacher man wrote little notes all over the place. And after he died someone saved them. The past couple weeks have been about deciding what is worth uploading to the family history website. The old train passes made the cut. They described his life as a traveling preacher. The bill from the church-book publisher did not. It provided no family history details, and there are better records of the preacher's writing career.

So that's what I've been up to lately. Making sure the preacher man's story is preserved, told and available for future generations.

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