The recent furore caused by proposed changes to access to Northamptonshire Archives has underlined how important archives are to genealogists and historians both amateur and professional.
The Register of Qualified Genealogists want to celebrate archives and all that they represent. The funders of archives need to know how much they are used and treasured and how much the expertise of archivists is valued.
Archives are the lifeblood of historical research, especially for genealogists. Without records created and protected over centuries, the lives of our ancestors would be lost in the mists of time. Parish records, censuses, land records and testamentary records all help to put together a picture of how our ancestors lived and interacted with each other. It is also important to remember that archives are also maintained in many formats, from paper to photographs to recordings of sound and film.
It is tempting to think that in these digital times everything is now online. This however is not true and the vast amount of records held by archives are only available through the actual archives themselves. Once you start to delve into these rich collections, a whole new world is opened up to you. Try searching the National Archives Discovery catalogue or your local archive catalogue for a place or name and see what you can find. It is also vital to remember that the records that are available online are probably from your local archive in conjunction with a genealogy company.
Archivists themselves are a great resource. They can help by searching for records, making suggestions and by helping you decipher the significance of an item. They preserve records and apply conservation techniques to those which are damaged or deteriorating. They also help with access to rare records and also where to find elusive records!
How can you help us celebrate our archives?
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Type @RegQualGenes in the search box to find us.
- Every time you use an archive, or online material derived from an archive, post on you Facebook timeline or Tweet let us know by mentioning us, using @RegQualGenes in your message
- Spread the word by including the hashtag #LoveYourArchives in your message
- Nominate a favourite archive for our “Spotlight on..” feature by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Get involved in with Explore your Archive week
Explore Your Archive is a campaign promoting archives, which launches each year in November. This year the launch runs for 9 days from 18-16 November 2017. It is organised by the The National Archives (UK) and the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland). Participating archives host events throughout the launch, some of which are free. These are listed at http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/
Please include the hashtag #explorearchives in tweets, facebook posts and anywhere else online when you have anything to say about archives.
By mid-November we want you to be in the habit of showing your appreciation for archives and carry on doing so throughout the year.