The following article appeared in the February 2005 issue of the Newsletter from the RUG of Arlington VA.
My husband and I are about to leave for our three week mid-winter getaway. We plan to do a bit of cruising along the Mexican Pacific coast, spend some time with a cousin in California and witness the wedding of Dick’s youngest son in Las Vegas. I tell you all of this because I want to take my genealogy files with me to work on and share with my cousin. I might even take a wander over to the library in Las Vegas and see what they have as far as books and records. I would rather pump quarters into a copy machine and get some useful records than drop them in the slot machine and have nothing to show for it. The problem with all of this is space and weight limits that the airlines impose. I am restricted to my laptop. I have found two features in TMG – The Master Repository List and The Research Log to be most useful in preparing for this trip.
I am visiting my cousin from the Polish/German side of the family. She has some information and photos that I don’t have and I have tons of things she does not have. We plan to share data when I am there. The information I want to share can be accessed through the Master Repository List and the Research Log attached to that list. You can also attach exhibits to the Master Repository List.
My father’s sister “Aunt Ellie” has done a tremendous amount of work locating original documents, photos and memorabilia that pertain to the Mackiewicz and Shaffer families. She and her library are a repository. It is in her home that I have scanned original documents, letters from long dead relatives, photos, and images of clothing and other items she has collected over the years. She is going to leave this to her daughter upon her death. I have made several visits to her home and interviewed her multiple times to obtain vital information and stories about these families. All of this information is recorded on the Master Repository List.
To access the Master Repository List scroll to the Tools menu and click on Master Repository List, to add a new repository click on Add. The Repository Definition screen appears. To take my Aunt Ellie’s collection as an example, I enter under Abbreviation – “Aunt Ellie’s Library”. Next is ID Number; since this repository is attached to a person in my data base I can enter her ID number. In the field Name – Other, I use the more formal title “Personal Library of Eleanor Mack Paukett”. I then fill in the address information in the appropriate fields. The Memo section contains the details about who she is leaving her library to, what may be contained in her library, stories that she has told that I haven’t filed elsewhere, etc.
In the upper right corner of this box are four icons that are very useful. Two of the icons allow you to get maps and directions for the address from various sites on the web. The other two are Research Log and Exhibits.
When I have visited my Aunt Ellie I have taken digital images of all of the documents, photos and memorabilia that she has. It is in this section that I have chosen to place the images of her personal collection. Later as I start collecting information about the various original owners of these possessions I can also put a copy in their exhibit file. For example, Aunt Ellie has the original wedding photo of her parents. She also has the original wedding dress that her mother (my grandmother) made for her marriage. It is a very simple deep burgundy velvet dress of plain design with hand made lace down the front. I took very detailed photos of the stitching and construction of the dress and all of these photos are in the exhibit area in Aunt Ellie’s repository file on the computer. I have only uploaded the wedding photo and one copy of the dress into Grandma Mack’s Tag entry screen and only the wedding photo in Grandpa Mack’s Tag entry screen.
The Research Log is the fourth button of this group in the upper right hand corner. This has been a most valuable tool. It is here that I have recorded all the records and photos she has in her possession. Each document that Aunt Ellie has is filed under the task name. I have images of the documents that are loaded under the Exhibit area.
As an example I take the original marriage document that was in the files of my grandmother (remember I already have a photo of my grandparents on their wedding day and a photo of the wedding dress) and scan it into a .jpg format and up load it to the exhibit area of this repository. I then go to the research log and make a transcription of the document in the comment section. I discuss this is an original document, the condition it is in when I filmed it, where the original is stored, and where copies of it may be found in my library. Aunt Ellie also has a copy of the civil registration that she ordered from the state archives. This document is also photographed and recorded under a separate task category. I have done this with the dozens of documents, photos, etc. that she has.
I might add that when I visit Aunt Ellie I take my laptop, portable scanner and digital camera and digital video camera and record the information as I interview her during the visits. I store all of the information initially under her file in the Master Repository List. At the end of the visit I do a backup of my TMG program onto a 512 MB flash drive. I make sure that the flash drive and the computer are in different places in my luggage in the event that one or the other gets lost. Once at home I update the data on the desktop from the flash drive. I also backup the data to a disc and put that in a safe place in the house.
When I get home I then go through the data that I collected and start sorting it into the right person and tag in the data base. Photos, documents, data, sources, etc. are documented. The feature that I like on TMG v6 source citation is the memo field where I can write my analysis of the data that I collected on my field trip.
When my cousin and I sit down at the end of this month to share our photos and files I can then easily print out any photos, documents or reports that she might want. My small laptop and flash drive are all I need to transport the entire files of my self and my Aunt Ellie. I am looking forward to adding a new Repository – my cousin with her photos and data.