30 December 2016
2016 Society of American Archivists Short Fiction Contest Winner -- Family Stories
You will want to read this short fiction piece by Marcella Huggard, “Family Stories.” It is a story that ALL genealogists and family historians can relate to.
The jury noted that Huggard's submission addresses issues in the archival profession through a moving story of sifting through the evidence and reminders left behind by relatives after death. Her story speaks to the process of appraisal and its conundrums and how personal relationships can provide perspective. It also considers the question of how records of the less documented in our society are preserved given our presumptions about what constitutes a permanent record. In doing so, “Family Stories” portrays what it means that archivists deal with people’s lives and demonstrates the necessity of context for records.
Real the full article about the contest, the winner and the honorable mentions here.
You can read the winning piece here. I was thinking that I would include a snippet here that captured the “essence” of her story and like any good story, you just need to read it!
It probably really spoke with me because just before Christmas I was cleaning out my own files and shredded checks that I had held onto for almost 40 years. Really? Who was going to go through my checks? It’s not like I lived a life that would be analyzed in the future as a case study. Whirr went my shredder. Whirr and there went some old tax forms (not the filed paperwork; after all – there are limits on what a pack rack will get rid of) and all the supporting receipts, printouts, and papers … Whirr and there went some credit card statements (though, I did hold onto the original credit cards!). Whirr … old inventory summaries from my first business became scraps. With all that, there is still much I’m still holding onto and my attic and closets thank me. Give me a few years and I’ll be at it again.
With time, some things become even more important and other things become nothing more than just paper. We cannot keep it all and it doesn’t necessarily convey the story of our lives or the lives we’ve documented.
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