The following book review was written by Bobbi King:
The Unofficial Family Archivist
A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia.
by Melissa Mannon. 247 pages.
The problem with being the unofficial family archivist is that eventually you become the official family archivist.
When I started doing genealogy, Dear Myrtle on AOL Genealogy Forum was my beacon for organizing my papers. To this day, I follow her instructions for organizing all my notes. At least I got that much right.
Now we have Family Archivist to start us out doing things right. It’s the beginner who will benefit most from this book, but if you’re a senior historian, there’s something for you, too.
“Chapter One: Your Story.” is for us, old-timers. Have we recorded our stories? When I was a kid, my father used to rake, pile up, and burn the autumn leaves in our back yard. I’d sit and watch the embers magically sparkle as night closed in. The closest my kids ever got to that experience was watching the artificial gas logs in my fireplace go dark when I flipped the electric switch.
We have life stories as remote from our children and grandchildren as our grandparents’ stories were from us, but now, don’t we relish and value the words our ancestors left behind, trivial to them at the time but so treasured by us now? This chapter will inspire us to tell our stories. Ms. Mannon offers ideas for getting us energized to finally get our own recordings finished.
Family Archivist focuses on the care of personal papers, photographs, and memorabilia. Ms. Mannon speaks to diaries, health records, and cookbooks, “…I write down a memory about when I served the food.” She writes about the value of personal memorabilia, “…the value of this item is the memory it elicits of a special event…the comfort of being with…the interest I had…the excitement I felt…” that expresses the reasons for keeping the ephemera of our lives. She counters the reasons for keeping the good stuff against the reasons for throwing stuff out. She helps us figure out the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Ms. Mannon goes on to coach us about the collection of personal papers, conserving damaged materials, and disaster planning.
“Within every home is a treasure trove of information” writes Ms. Mannon.
She’s going to help us take very good care of it.
The Unofficial Family Archivist can be purchased from many bookstores, including RootsBooks.com, and Amazon at http://goo.gl/3tu36. More information about Melissa Mannon's many activities may be found on her blog at http://archivesinfo.blogspot.com/.