Thursday, June 13, 2013

Keep or Throw Out

TrashThere has been a lot of talk this past week on Facebook about whether or not we should be keeping the paper copies of our documents.  I would never even consider trashing true originals but what about the copies of marriage licenses, wills, deeds etc. that you have gotten from courthouses?  I thought about all of the documents that I have collected over the years.  I probably only have one binder’s worth of true originals.  Everything else I have are mere copies.  I have been wanting to get all of this stuff scanned into the computer so that I can link the documents to the correct people in Legacy.  That way I can see everything that I have in one place.  Should I trash the copies once I do this?  I have to admit, it would be very hard for me to get rid of all of these papers but honestly, do I really need them?  I have all of my scanned documents backed up to the “cloud” so even if my computer crashed I wouldn’t lose anything.  This is something that I really need to ponder.  If you have an  opinion, please leave a comment. 

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

9 comments:

  1. I don't think it's as cut and dried as "should I trash the copies". Even copies can have value.

    For example, I have a copy of my maternal Great Grandparent's marriage license. It lists my Great Grandmother's birth father's name, in her own handwriting. For both my mother and me, finding his name was a quest. To see it in my Great-Grandmother's own handwriting, even if it was a copy of the original, was monumental.

    Yes, it's a copy, but to me and my mother, it's priceless.

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  2. I am definitely leaning toward keeping everything. It is hard for me to imagine trashing 22 years of research. I think that the newer researchers, the ones that have "grown up" in the electronic age, are more likely to scan and then trash.

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  3. You're right that it is very unlikely that your computer would crash losing all its data at the exact same time whatever cloud server it is backed up on also crashes. Not theoretically impossible, though.

    Another thing to consider, beyond backing up your documents, is what happens to the digital copies after your death. If you want family to have future access to the document copies you have retrieved, saving the paper copies may make some sense.

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  4. I have struggled with this issue for a long time and finally decided for the time being to save my paper copies in binders for my grandchildren to enjoy. I still like to read books with pages I can turn, although I have a Kindle. I want my grandchildren to be able to browse through the records with me instead of looking at images on CDs and DVDs.

    Karen

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  5. I have struggled with this same issue for years. I finally decided that for the time being I will save paper copies in binders for my grandchildren. I still like to read books with pages I can touch and turn, although I enjoy reading on my Kindle also. I want to sit with them while they turn the pages in my binders and learn about our family history, although I do have everything backed up on the cloud and on CDs and DVDs for any family members who are interested. I spent so much time finding, compiling and organizing the documents and photos and I want to share it on a personal level with those who are interested.

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  6. I'd rather see the copies be donated to a library, genealogical society, university or archives before ending up in the trash :-/

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  7. Is there someone else in your family, perhaps a young novice genealogist (or one you could convert) who would appreciate the documents for their own records? We all have to start somewhere.

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  8. Everyone in my family that does genealogy are old fogies like me :) One of my daughters is interested but she prefers for me to the work and then tell her about it :)

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  9. Copies of documents held by distant relatives, or found in courthouses, archives, or any other places where they are not currently easily recoupable with a quick search on a stable site, I would definitely save. In paper as well as digital format. May not be necessary in 5-10 years, but I would hold onto them.

    Copies of the *many* miscellaneous things I have, copies of film/fiche from LDS sources, copies of compiled genealogies that might have once held a hint, copies of old rootsweb posts, etc. Those I am looking at shredding and composting.

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