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22 February 2017

Our Manuscript Collection: Here’s How It Can Help Preserve Your Family Story

by Virginia Turner

Did you know that you can have your family papers or book preserved using archival standards so that they are available for generations to come? That is a key function of our manuscript collection and the volunteers who maintain it. Keep in mind that a manuscript contained in the California Genealogical Society library can range from just the beginnings of research, such as papers and letters about your family story, to a fully published book.

This month we highlight what makes up our manuscript collection, along with some helpful tips on how you can create and protect a manuscript for your family’s story.

Things to keep in mind
When a person begins the process of recording notations leading to a finished manuscript or book, the researcher does not have to wait until a finished product is ready for the library shelf.

If a published book is the ultimate goal, it is wise to donate a copy of the beginning manuscript to a library location for safekeeping, as well as for use by others who may be helpful in rounding out the final product through exchange of information between two or more searchers. At our library, we index the items collected by surname.  Next, the indexes are placed online and are made available to the public on request.

Safe storage is key
Acid free boxes and paper supplies will keep research materials safe from deterioration from the environment. A safe location of the copy in the library manuscript collection will keep it free from destructive processes of theft, plagiarism, insects, and moisture.

Manuscripts come in many shapes and sizes
Research as small as a family group sheet with factual references can find a place in the miscellaneous collection boxes.  The first letter of the family surname alphabetizes these group sheets.

It can grow to include additions of pedigree charts for related families. Copies of references from letters, books, and published genealogies of related people will eventually lead to the author’s final product.

If you want the eventual book or article to be more interesting for the reader, then add copies of family photographs, maps, photocopies of letters, family bible inscriptions, newspaper accounts, tombstone inscriptions and other historical material.

Another way to approach it is to make several separate small manuscripts, which will eventually be combined into a published family genealogy, or a collective genealogy that includes many family writings, which are related to a particular locality or subject.

Ready to publish?
Small manuscripts may find a place in various genealogical magazines. These days, publishing companies can assist you in editing and publishing your articles of genealogy.

Did you know that certain members of the California Genealogical Society could assist in readying your manuscript for submission to specialized genealogical magazines interested in your stories?

When your manuscript is ready for saving in the California Genealogical Society Collection, please contact Georgia Lupinsky or myself for advice on editing and preparing your work for publication. Our goal is to give you the courage to meet your goal.

I hope that makes clear what our manuscript collection is, how your research can become a part of it and how, ultimately, we can help you get your manuscript published.

Contact us today with your manuscript questions.  We’d love to hear from you!


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society


Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Great suggestions, Virginia! Our manuscript collection is a great treasure.