Monday, 30 November 2009

Back to the future


To get a good handle on where you're going, sometimes it helps to know where you have been. Knowledge of what is in front, is informed by what was behind.

Conserving details of each generation of a family is a valuable marker for people desperate to know where they fit in, and even for people who know exactly where they are going. Items don't have to be hierlooms in the commonly accepted concept of worth-a-fortune. Postcards, scribbles on the back of envelopes, ragged letters tumbling from tatty envelopes: all contribute to the fullest picture we can manage of a generation.


The State Library of NSW in Macquarie Street held a "Preserving your Family History" course on Friday where we listened to the "does and don'ts" before having a 1-to-1 with up to four specialist conservators with reference to specific items. I took in my father's drivers' licence from WW2, a letter written by my grandmother in 1910 and the diary of my uncle who died in London in 1956. They were all symptomatic of the problems of my collection as a whole.

11 comments:

Stephen Chapman... said...

As that you are into photography, I thought that you may be interested in a monthly blog posting called “5 on the fifth” where You can either take 5 random pictures of anything that happens to you on the 5th of December (or the days leading up to it) or perhaps go for my suggested theme.

Just post your pictures on your own blog and then post a comment on MY blog with your name, location and link to your site – I then update the entry so the world has your link. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog so that your visitors get to see the other contributions.

Interested?

Here’s a link to my blog:

http://thestateofthenationuk.blogspot.com/

and a link to the “5 on the fifth” entries:

http://thestateofthenationuk.blogspot.com/search/label/5%20on%20the%20fifth

brattcat said...

Julie, the perspective you've chosen for these is simply brilliant. This is a fascinating post.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Nice shots of interactions with history ... I have lots of family history items stored at my house too.

ρομπερτ said...

During the two days that I spend home in Germany I was able to obtain two hands full of postcards and stamps from about a century ago.
Discussing them one per month upon my site:
http://barefootnavigator.blogspot.com
Indeed one learns much about the future looking back. A wonderful entry of yours tonight.
A wonderful start into the new week for you.

Marka said...

And it's not just the physical documents. The tales and stories from and of those who have gone before us are important as well. Kudos to you on preserving them!

Paula said...

This just tugs at my heart. We lost all such memorabilia in a hurricane and I have to admit, that while you have a wonderful opportunity to create a family heirloom, I'm more than a little jealous. Then again, that's why I took up blogging, to create a record that I can't lose to wind or water - just Blogger.

In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

What a wonderful opportunity, to talk to experts about the care of your old documents. Your photos of the images and the hands are very nice, too.
Three Rivers Daily Photo

Ann said...

What a fascinating thing to do. My mum has a box of old photos and documents. You lucky retired person.

diane said...

That must have been an interesting day. I would have liked to have been there. Great shots.

Jilly said...

So true. I love the way you bring hands into so many of your photographs. Great to see work on photographs like this. I have so few and only recently discovered my sister is only my half -sister so it's all a little confusing...

Julie said...

There must be a deeply felt story behind that revelation, Jilly. I wonder if you might care to share it on one of your lesser blogs?