Author Topic: Who gets the family documents? Update post 71  (Read 11813 times)

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snowdragon

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2012, 05:33:08 PM »
Does Anyone else suspect that the only reason why Cuz1 wants the documents is because Cuz2 expressed an interest?  If there are ramifications to the relationship with Cuz1 if CDL gives them to Cuz2 - there are equal ramifications in the opposite direction.
 
OP: you have a choice in either
A) picking the cousin you feel you want to continue a relationship with and giving them the dicuments
or
B) letting them fight it out.

I would be doing the later, but my heart tells me that Cuz2 should have them.

crella

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2012, 06:26:18 PM »
I don't know about that. She gave the documents to the OP to have them in a safe place and to have the person who wants to go through them do so. It doesn't necessarily mean that she wanted to give them away completely.

Quote
I know Cuz1 was dealing with a lot, but she could have 1)waited till she had time to go through everything to make sure there was nothing she wanted (I'm sure the OP would have been patient) or 2)Asked OP to do all the sorting and organizing and to let her know what she found from her father's line.

I doubt that she had the time or mental wherewithal to do that, considering. I just got done doing this, and making sure that the right relatives get the things that belong to them or interest them is another ball of wax entirely.Getting appraisals, or selling items, arranging dumpsters, contractors, real estate agent etc is all so...much....detail....to deal with. It was two of us, if she did this all by herself it had to have been hell. Distributing items or even feeling people out about them is another seemingly endless chore.My mother passed away , so there was no care of her after the move (and a move into a facility is extremely disorienting for a senior and there are weeks of adjustments) and I'm still so tired I'm just getting the bare minimum done since I got home. And if the house has to be emptied by a certain date you really can't wait.

I think Cuz1 just wants to 'put the brakes on' and have time to think things over.


littlebird

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #62 on: December 11, 2012, 07:47:07 PM »
First off, I've skimmed rather than read. But:

1. Photograph rather than scan. I work with historians and that's what we do all the time for our projects.

2. Is there any way you can say "I'm happy to return the documents to Aunt/You and OtherCousin, but I'd like to make digital copies of all of them first"? That way you have copies (the ones you keep on one harddrive, and then the ones on a backup drive), and the originals go back to the people who want to fight over them?

(Digitizing has proved to be a huge help in my extended family - my dad and one of his cousins have scanned or digitized every photo and document and now anyone in the family who wants can have a 'copy' of that picture/letter)

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #63 on: December 12, 2012, 10:31:46 AM »
LadyR has done a great job of correctly summarizing the situation.  My comments are in red.
* CDL is the geneologist for her side of the family.
* Aunt had tons of family documents, mostly for her family. Documents are for three families.
   1. Aunt's father / grandfather shared with cousins.  This is my area of expertise.  Grandfather had seven siblings.  I am in contact with descendants of most of them, and the "keepers" will receive originals after I make copies.
   2. Aunt's mother / grandmother shared with cousins.  Grandmother had nine siblings.  The genealogist for this side of the family is one of aunt's cousins. who will receive originals.
   3. Aunt's first husband / cousins' father.  I have little interest in these documents and do not need to make copies for myself.  Originals will go to either Cuz1 or Cuz2.

* CDL offerred to sort through all the documents, with the intention of keeping and archiving the documents relevant to her work, which seem to be the lion share.
So far, about 3000 letters from my father to his parents over a 40-year span and about 1000 letters to Grandma from her siblings.
* Cousin1 did the work of sending the documents to CDL, but didn't seem to have any interest in them.
Cuz1 stated several times that she had no interest in the documents.  I believe she was relieved to have a place to send the documents rather than putting them into storage with the rest of her mother's household items.
* Cousin2 is the genealogist for uncle's family.
Cuz2 has only recently expressed an interest in his genealogy, but Cuz1 has shown no interest. Cuz2 seems most likely to become the "keeper".
* CDL has no use for documents from uncle's family, so offered them to Cousin2.
* Cousins 1 and 2 have equal claim to the documents based on kinship.
* Now that Cousin2 wants them, so does Cousin1.
I suspect this is at least partially true.

As far as I see it CrazyDaffodilLady did nothing wrong.  Thank you. . . . .

My cousins had a lifetime to examine the contents of the boxes and never did so. Cousins were not aware of the contents of the boxes.  I saw no evidence that either of them thought about preserving the contents; it has been on my mind for a long time, which led me to tactfully ask about them as soon as I realized my aunt's house would be cleared out.

littlebird, Why is photography preferred to scanning?  I've now discovered that some of the genealogy charts (folded in a bound volume) are over 10 feet wide! 

It's my intention to digitize as many documents as I can manage (will take a very long time) and put them online for my huge extended family.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

stitchygreyanonymouse

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #64 on: December 12, 2012, 11:02:37 AM »
I’m not littlebird, but in many cases (and with the proper skills and training), photographing is a better option than scanning because you can get a higher quality, better-nuanced, more detailed, properly colored copy through photography than with a scanner. Particularly for items that are so large you’d otherwise have to scan in pieces and then meld together (only if the camera is high-enough resolution, though).

Scanners that are available to consumers are rarely of a quality that is good for archival purposes—they’re really calibrated more for scanning in financial documents and the like.


CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #65 on: December 12, 2012, 12:03:31 PM »
I’m not littlebird, but in many cases (and with the proper skills and training), photographing is a better option than scanning because you can get a higher quality, better-nuanced, more detailed, properly colored copy through photography than with a scanner. Particularly for items that are so large you’d otherwise have to scan in pieces and then meld together (only if the camera is high-enough resolution, though).

Scanners that are available to consumers are rarely of a quality that is good for archival purposes—they’re really calibrated more for scanning in financial documents and the like.
Can I really take a photo of a 10 foot wide document and expect the results to be readable?  I have a fairly nice digital camera.
Any tips for photographing a very wide document that opens from a bound volume?  I assume that the document needs to be vertical for best results.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

stitchygreyanonymouse

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #66 on: December 12, 2012, 12:33:18 PM »
For something that wide, you would set up a tripod like someone described earlier in the thread, and then take head-on (or directly over, if you have it laid out on the ground—this is how museums take shots of large things, sometimes) photos of individual parts then merge them with a photo editing tool—not just shoot the full document in one frame. There is less edge noise and distortion with photographs then there would be when doing something similar with a scanner.

There are quite a few resources online if you search for "photographing large documents" and the like.

snowdragon

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #67 on: December 12, 2012, 04:07:54 PM »
Do you have a historical society near you or a college with a museum studies or art conservation program ? They could help you, if nothing else they can tell you how do to it right.
  Folks in these institutions are really wonderful about sharing knowledge.

DCGirl

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #68 on: December 12, 2012, 05:50:33 PM »
Do you have a historical society near you or a college with a museum studies or art conservation program ? They could help you, if nothing else they can tell you how do to it right.
  Folks in these institutions are really wonderful about sharing knowledge.

Speaking of historical societies...

When no one else in the family was interested and it was about to be tossed out, DH became the owner of a notebook that had lived in his grandparents' attic for decades.  It was a great aunt's notes from nursing school in the 1910s.  The great aunt died in the influenza epidemic of 1918.  After DH sent out a few e-mails to his cousins saying that it was really interesting to read what nursing students were taught in that era, several cousins came forward and said that they were more entitled to the notebook than DH (largely because we have no children and therefore no family to pass the notebook on to). 

We've located a medical school library that has a collection of medical manuscripts that has expressed interest in adding the notebook to its collection, and DH is planning to donate it.  The notebook is fragile, due to its age, and should be properly conserved and cared for by professionals.  There's been some grumbling from the cousins about this course of action, but they will be free to visit the notebook in the library if they so desire. 

Donating to a historical society might be a solution for other families as well.

littlebird

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #69 on: December 12, 2012, 05:56:54 PM »
For something that wide, you would set up a tripod like someone described earlier in the thread, and then take head-on (or directly over, if you have it laid out on the ground—this is how museums take shots of large things, sometimes) photos of individual parts then merge them with a photo editing tool—not just shoot the full document in one frame. There is less edge noise and distortion with photographs then there would be when doing something similar with a scanner.

There are quite a few resources online if you search for "photographing large documents" and the like.

That, exactly. And for scrapbooks, there's less danger of damaging the spine by trying to smush it on a scanner. (Plus, large-format scanners are expensive!)

sparksals

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #70 on: December 12, 2012, 10:34:23 PM »
Do you have a historical society near you or a college with a museum studies or art conservation program ? They could help you, if nothing else they can tell you how do to it right.
  Folks in these institutions are really wonderful about sharing knowledge.

Speaking of historical societies...

When no one else in the family was interested and it was about to be tossed out, DH became the owner of a notebook that had lived in his grandparents' attic for decades.  It was a great aunt's notes from nursing school in the 1910s.  The great aunt died in the influenza epidemic of 1918.  After DH sent out a few e-mails to his cousins saying that it was really interesting to read what nursing students were taught in that era, several cousins came forward and said that they were more entitled to the notebook than DH (largely because we have no children and therefore no family to pass the notebook on to). 

We've located a medical school library that has a collection of medical manuscripts that has expressed interest in adding the notebook to its collection, and DH is planning to donate it.  The notebook is fragile, due to its age, and should be properly conserved and cared for by professionals.  There's been some grumbling from the cousins about this course of action, but they will be free to visit the notebook in the library if they so desire. 

Donating to a historical society might be a solution for other families as well.

This should be a last resort since no one else was interested in the document.  Considering Cuz1 wants it back and Cuz2 has expressed an interest, sending it outside the family is sure to alienate the OP and tarnish family relations forever.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Who gets the family documents?
« Reply #71 on: January 25, 2013, 09:07:17 PM »
Update: I was dawdling about making a decision, what with the holidays and all.  Last week Cuz1 (who sent me the family documents) emailed asking when I was going to send her family things to her.  She said she had a relative who was also interested in them.

I wrote to her brother Cuz2 and said I was sending the stuff to Cuz1 because she’d asked to see it before passing it on to him (she did indeed say this).  He was gracious about it.   I did pull out items that were specifically about Cuz2 and sent them to him.  He was delighted.  The rest of the stuff has been shipped to Cuz1.

In the time since I first received the boxes, I’ve posted about 100 old photos to a family Facebook album, where the extended family can see them.  Several people have expressed appreciation. 

Stay tuned for the next episode, “Which grandson gets great Aunt Dorothy’s things?”
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.