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Handbook History

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Handbook History

Postby Daniel Cossins » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:13 pm

This week Alan takes a trip down memory lane after he buys an [i]AA Members Handbook[/i] from 1963 in a second-hand shop.

Leafing through the faded pages, he remembers old phone numbers, registration plates, and early closing times: an exercise in pure nostalgia.

Have you bought anything in a second-hand shop that has plunged you into a nostalgic mood?

Do you miss anything that has vanished since 1963 or before?

Click [link=http://www.bbcwhodoyouthinkyouare.com/localhistory.php]here[/link] to read the blog and have your say below
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RE: Handbook History

Postby paulberyl » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:16 pm

I do not have to buy them - I still have them!! (My wife thinks I am a very sad person who needs to get out more.)

Ignoring specific "historic" books I buy, I have books dating back to 1914 (I am sure other people have even older books). I love the language that is used and terms that are no longer considered politically correct. An example (and I apologise if I cause offence to anyone) is taken from a 1916 book talking about Allied and Axis aircraft. "The Zeppelin is no longer an effective bomber against modern nations but remains useful when used against the fuzzy-wuzzies".

I also have old work documents which provide an insight to changing social conditions. One is a letter written in 1939 to a woman congratulating her on her marriage but informing her that her marriage results in the termination of her employment contract. How things have changed!

Paul
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RE: Handbook History

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:43 pm

Alan’s blog this week illustrates a point I keep banging on about. History is not just about events that happened in the dim and distant past history begins now.
The events of here and now are just as important to the historian (including the family historian) as the events that happened to our ancestors. In fact it could be argued that the events of today are of more importance as we have the chance to accurately record them for our descendants.

As a secondary point this also brings up the subject of archives and archiving. What do we keep and what should we dispose of?
How many view modern telephone directories as useful sources for future historians? Do you keep yours?
Do you keep newspapers, magazines or in fact any of the huge number of sources we as historians eagerly seek out when seeking information about the past? Should historians be the custodians of the future’s archives, because if we who are interested in the past don’t take care of them who will?
Cheers
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RE: Handbook History

Postby Editor » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:56 pm

And to add to the list of 'what should we keep', what about emails? I'm hopeless at clearing them out, but I know I should try to keep my inbox tidy. My descendants don't want to read all my old emails, but there are some lovely ones that my mother has written - long and chatty just like my mum! If they were letters I would keep them, but as it is they will probably end up deleted. My aunt is an archivist and I know the whole issue of emails is quite a thorny one. We can't keep everything. Our children and grandchildren won't appreciate it, but what should we keep?

Sarah
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RE: Handbook History

Postby paulberyl » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:10 am


[font="times new roman"][size=3]I think it is important to keep “relevant” emails although I agree it can be difficult to decide just exactly what is relevant. What is important is to decide on a strategy and to stick to it. The guidelines I use are below.[/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3] [/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3]Any emails I send and receive which are specifically related to my family history research I retain in my research folders (electronic folders with the emails converted to word documents – suitably backed up at regular intervals!)[/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3] [/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3]In addition over the years I have established a tradition with those friends and relatives that I do not regularly see, of exchanging Christmas letters/emails. These letters take the form of an annual diary of what has happened during the year, the highs and the lows. The letter/email I write is a generic letter personalized to each individual. I keep a copy of my generic letter together with all the letters I receive and now have these for some ten years. As I do not keep a daily diary these letters form a type of diary that my descendants can read – if they want to![/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3] [/size][/font]
[size=3][font="times new roman"]When it comes to “what to keep” do we need to distinguish between documents of historic value and those of personal family history value? Documents of historic value, such as newspapers, must be kept for future generations but are beyond the collecting capacity of private individuals (just think of the number of different newspapers local and national) and therefore must be the responsibility of corporate business. Whilst newspapers are very good at retaining old records the same cannot be said of all corporate business who in these “cash strapped” times do not see the archiving of records as being “cost effective”. (I have an example of the firm I used to work for. We had our own museum and archivist who had recorded on a database every member of staff who had ever been mentioned in our in-house magazine which included appointments, retirements and deaths. When the company was taken over the museum was closed, the collections disposed of, the archivist retired and goodness knows what happened to the database). Family historians can help their own families by retaining copies of newspapers in which family members are mentioned. [/font][/size]
[font="times new roman"][size=3] [/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3]Any issue of “what to keep” must also include family heirlooms – but will our ancestors recognise or understand why these have been kept? When I talk of family heirlooms I do not just mean those articles connected with our ancestors but, again taking Guy’s point, items that we personally collect today. I believe that these should be properly recorded so that our descendents appreciate their importance. Thus would my descendants understand why I have an old bottle of Mead (other than they may guess it was connected with my wife whose maiden name was Mead) if I had not recorded that it was a marriage present. What about the old tatty musical box made from a packing case and tin can, who would know that it was made by German prisoners of war and presented to the camp commandant, an old family friend and passed to me by his widow on his death if again I had not recorded the fact.[/size][/font]
[font="times new roman"][size=3] [/size][/font]
[size=3][font="times new roman"]Family history isn’t just about the past it is also about thinking about the future. [/font][/size]

Paul
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RE: Handbook History

Postby Guy » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:26 am

Why not print your mother's emails out then you could keep the hard copy. ;)
Cheers
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RE: Handbook History

Postby noseyoap » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:53 am

I still have my fathers AA badge & book from about the 1960's , I can remember tha AA patrol used to salute to you when you were displaying the badge on your car.
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RE: Handbook History

Postby Guy » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:13 pm

Yes the secret signal. ;)
A salute if the road was clear, no salute if there were police ahead.
Cheers
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RE: Handbook History

Postby Annie08 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:36 pm

I have recently read somewhere that when the Census Returns are filled in the 'writer of the article' (can't remember where I read it) photocopied his and has his 1981, 1991 and 2001. What a good idea for us all. I shall try and remember this one.

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RE: Handbook History

Postby colliehouse » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:36 am

I just passed an AA box today. Black and gold and shiny and way at the back of beyond between the A9 and a village called Culrain. Not sure of the exact location as I was lost at the time, could have done with an AA man then!
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