Opinion

New York City Publishes Online 17th Century ‘New Amsterdam’ Historical Manuscripts

The following announcement was written by New York City’s Department of Records and Information Services:

Municipal Archives launches project to digitize collections, beginning with the New Amsterdam historical manuscripts

Access the New Amsterdam digitized collection at www.archives.NYC

NEW YORK—As the first step in its efforts to digitize and make available to the public the historical records of New York City government, the City’s Department of Records and Information Services (DoRIS), announced today that it is releasing its first online collection of 17th Century historical manuscripts, showing the early development of the City’s government: ordinances drawn from the Records of New Amsterdam for the period of 1647 to 1661, and their corresponding translations, maintained by the Municipal Archives and Municipal Library.

US Postmaster General’s Office Claims “Digital (email) is a Fad”

Evan Baehr and Will Davis had a brilliant idea for a new high tech start-up company. They wanted to give customers the opportunity to receive all their (snail) mail digitally. They launched Outbox, a company that allowed customers to have all their regular mail forwarded to the company’s offices. The mail would be opened, scanned, and then images of the mail would be sent by email to the customers. In its first few weeks of operation, the company received rave reviews from satisfied customers and the word started to spread. Even CNBC carried their story nationally.

Then the government stepped in.

Amazing: an Overworked and Often Mis-used Word

It happened again. A lesser-known company in the genealogy business sent a press release to me this morning, obviously hoping I would publish it in my newsletter. After reading the announcement, I wasn’t very impressed with this new product. However, what really turned me off was the frequent use of the word “amazing.”

“This amazing new product…”

“These amazing stories…”

“You will be amazed…”

It sounded like an infomercial on late-night television from Ronco-Popeil. “This amazing product slices and dices…”

Suggestion: The Time to Digitize Historic Items is NOW

WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

It seems that every two or three months, I publish sad news about important records and artifacts being lost forever. Sometimes fires damage or destroy library or archive buildings and all the contents: including records, books, family histories, cemetery records, plat maps, military uniforms, and more. In other articles, I have written about similar losses caused by floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, burst water pipes, leaky roofs, and even about buildings collapsing. Genealogists, historians, art lovers, and others often lose irreplaceable items.

With a little bit of planning, the worst of these tragedies could be averted or at least minimized.

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