Wednesday, June 13, 2018
When Current Events
Collide With Genealogical History
I had just sent off an email following up on my original inquiry to the local public library in Aberdeen, Washington, when it occurred to me that another avenue in researching just who our mystery Hazel of that hundred year old photograph might have been could be to access online resources for their genealogical society. After all, despite the decreased usage of genealogy forums, in their place we now have groups and pages for societies on Facebook.
Sure enough, there is a Facebook page for the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society in Washington. Encouraged to find that resource, I clicked over to that page to take a look. After all, some well-meaning societies are energetic about setting up social media outlets, but the enthusiasm sometimes falls by the wayside over the long haul.
What I saw when I landed on their page took all thoughts about Hazel out of my mind. In fact, what I saw was enough to take my breath away: in one day, a devastating fire wiped out the facility housing several nonprofit organizational offices, including that of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, as well as the Aberdeen Museum of History, which, in addition to other local history artifacts, housed a collection dedicated to Aberdeen native Kurt Cobain and his band, Nirvana.
While news of this event likely didn't make national headlines, thanks to the Internet, those of us not in the area can still see what this event means to those who are concerned with preserving local history. You can see reports here. And here. And here. Sobering.
In that one event, over one hundred years of local history was incinerated, a devastating thought. And here I was, coincidentally just trying to locate any photographs that could match up with the one token of Aberdeen history I hold in my own hands: the hundred year old photograph of a young girl named Hazel.
© Copyright 2011 – 2023 by Jacqi Stevens at 2:55:00 AM
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Now I’m thinking about my little Greene County Historical Society housed in a lovely Victorian along Main Street in Stanardsville, VA. They have 1000s of unusual documents and THINGS. Digitizing might be the best guarantee for preservation.ReplyDelete
That was my main thought exactly, Wendy, as I spent the day reflecting over what a devastating loss that has been. Scanning, digitizing, and decentralizing is probably the best defense against the risk of such instantaneous destruction.Delete
Sobering indeed. Our extensive genealogy room at the area library immediately came to mind.ReplyDelete
Absolutely, Gayle. Aberdeen's loss is one small misstep from being our own loss, too. That material, if it is one-of-a-kind, is irreplaceable. A devastating way to provide us all with a wake-up call to action.Delete
Kathy, I couldn't help but think of that loss over the next several hours. It's something you can't get out of your head, if you value preserving local history and cultural heritage.Delete