Monday, January 23, 2012

A Treasure trove of letters

Did a cache of old letters spark your interest in family history? Letters can often provide information that may not be found elsewhere including official records. What should you do if you become the custodian of such a treasure trove?
Consider : -
  • Researching your family history
  • Writing a support explanatory document that puts the letters in context – who the author is, the receiver etc. time period, place.
  • Scan each page and make an electronic copy. Place pages in order and create a PDF file
  • Transcribe letters
  • The letters may also help you identify heritage photos in your collection – or add more information such as dates. When compiling a heritage photo album, a quote from a letter to accompany a photograph is terrifically valuable.
  • Share copies and transcriptions with family members
  • Blog the letters together with your family history
  • If appropriate, donate copies to a local history or family history group where they can be accessed into the future
Preservation is very important
Storage albums and sleeves are available from suppliers such as Archival Survival - (there are others)
For further good advice look at the
National Archives of Australia – Preserving physical records
Library of Congress – Family Treasures
Digitising family history and whakapapa (New Zealand)
Preserving Memories: Caring for Your Heritage (Central Michigan University, U.S.A.)
In the meantime if you would like to be inspired by some historical letters visit the Australia Post 200 years Letters of a Nation Archive
Yarra Plenty Regional Library has many books in its collection including correspondence compilations such as Letters Home: To Mother from Gallipoli and beyond : Diaries and Letters of Sapper Hubert Anthony

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