Let’s Talk About…… Archives & BeeHives

I’ll admit I’m stretching a bit here, but I did catch your attention, didn’t I?

ARCHIVES. What comes to mind when you hear or read that word? Records? Information? Papers? Ledgers? Books? Rolls? Files? History? Information? All of the above??

What IS an archive: “It’s a collection of historical documents or records providing information bout a place, institution or group of people.” 

In other (crazy comparison) words, it’s a place where genealogists find honey!!

There are probably a dozen archives that you might-could access to find the family information you’re seeking. Every U.S. state has archives and most of the world’s countries do too. They’re not like public libraries…. walk in, check the catalog, pull a book off the shelf and away you go. Archives are places where history is stored. We can access it but it stays safely guarded away. 

Lucky for us, there are most usually finding aids for most any archive. (Good grammar, eh?) 

Here in Spokane we have the Eastern Washington State Historical Society archive housed in the Joel E. Ferris Library at the MAC. If you have Inland Northwest ancestors, make an appointment and GO. If you live in Central or Western Washington, go visit YOUR archives!

We also have the Washington State Library Digital Collections and the Washington Rural Heritage memory project (aka archive). Ever heard of the Northwest Digital Heritage (for WA and OR)? Of course we have the Eastern Washington Branch of the Washington State Archives out in Cheney. 

Here’s maybe a new one for you: ArchiveGrid. This is a collection of over 5million “archival material descriptions …… harvested from the web.” These documents are described as “historical documents, personal papers, family histories and more.” Try it, you just might find the “honey.” 

How about InternetArchive? This is an American digital library that has quickly become a major destination to those researching their family history online. InternetArchive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, websites, music and much more. To use this site, you sign up for an account and then can download material to your account (your computer) to use at your leisure. Ah, the honey is there, no??

Click to the Society of American Archivists and download their free “Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research.”