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Write it down

Michael_Ingram

gone but not forgotten
My mom died in her mid 80s and had Alzheimers. In her last good years I lived in London, she still lived in Birmingham of course. During that time when I came home to visit her I can only describe what I did was interrogate her about her life. I learned a lot about her and my family. Even so, there were many questions I now know I should have asked. She was an ordinary wife but I see plenty of clues that she when was a young woman before ww1 who explored women’s rites, something that my dad who was a bus driver supported I am sure from my experience
 

MWS

master brummie
I am assuming that one of the blacked out entries could be for a Winifred Sidney (Win on the back of the picture).
It would be wonderful if anyone recognises the girl in the photo and could confirm my assumptions.

Winifred Ethel Sidney was born 1926, appears to have married a Sidney L Langford and had at least one son. After that not sure.

A family tree on Ancestry suggests they emigrated to Canada.
 

Nico

master brummie
Wow Nico! I have not heard about Microfilm in over 30 plus years.......I used to live with it every day but now it seems like it’s gone!

Good luck with your history and family memories!
Thankyou Richard. I am not sure how ling ago we used the microfilm it was after 2005 in Solihull Library and microfisches aabout 5 years ago maybe in Coventry Archives.
 

Nico

master brummie
After my partner's mum passing I scanned all her photo albums as only the older relatives would know the older ones and I emailed them out. What I did like were some photos of my partner's grandfather in WW1 in between the fighting, cuddling a little terrier, four men sat in front of a huge gun on trestles. Or legs. In postcard form, he had written to his wife on it, from the front. I wonder how they got it on to a post card? In such circumstances. Another of my partner's aunt at boarding school a class photo on a postcard. They all looked so sad. Her mother wrote that she hoped she had done the right thing in sending her to boarding school to get a better education.
I have one postcard of my birth mother's grandmother writing to her sister in Canada, Dear sister, she begins.
One of my treasured possessions is a musical score from the King and I, Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in a huge grey lilac silk crinoline, with my mum's stage name written in her own hand on it.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Thankyou Richard. I am not sure how ling ago we used the microfilm it was after 2005 in Solihull Library and microfisches aabout 5 years ago maybe in Coventry Archives.
Nico. I used it in business from engineering drawings and documentation. There are storage requirements, all of our we stored in fireproof rooms with halon protection. I believe we began phasing out with high use data in the late 80’s finishing in the early 90’s.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
What I have found to be effective is s process I think from Pedro or oldMohawk (my apologies). Either directly from the SD card or through a scanner on to a remote hard drive (2Tb) set up files on it and then back that up on thumb drives by subject. I have thought about buying a second remote drive ($35 US) as a double safety. Make sure you know have to handle the thumb drive shut down. The remote drive has a pass word.

Good luck!
 

Spargone

master brummie
I recently gained some photographs as a result of the death of a relative. His father had written on the back of some of them, I suspect not always accurately, while others had unhelpful remarks like "Mary and myself".

It just happened that an old letter from my mum fell out of a family history folder of mine and re-reading it she had speculated that her grandfather might have had a sister in Canada as 'family' there had sent food parcels over during the war. She remembered the surname but not much else. For some unknown reason an old address book had 'escaped' from my archive box, perhaps because I had had thoughts of throwing it out. I thought I knew all the names in it anyway, some from Canada when my dad served there. A quick glance for old times sake, and there was Mum's 'cousin'!

Going through my photo haul I had been trying to group them together by subjects and developer's markings. One group meant absolutely nothing to me. They were marked on the back but they weren't names that I recognised. It suddenly struck me that they were taken at the back of a Canadian house. Using one of the 3D mappings I had a look at the back of the house in the address book. These houses were wider at the front than at the back and the transition was made by a wall at 45 degrees with windows set in it. Checking the suspect photos and there was the 45 degree wall!

Looking at the person identified as "myself" I can see a strong resemblance to my mum's grandmother. Now she had four half-sisters, three ended up buried in Belfast, as to the eldest I don't know, but she looks now to be the Canadian lady.

If my mum hadn't written her letter, my dad hadn't filled in an address book and the photo lady hadn't written some of the relationships on the photos there is a Canadian branch of the family that might have got lost forever, (assuming I can positively identify the 'cousin'). Moral: Write It Down!
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
See : https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate if you would like your site preserved [British Library]
Thanks for that useful link.

I wasn't 100 percent sure whether this was the same as the British Library archiving service and so made a further nomination. Within the hour, back came a confirmation that I was already on the list, that there was regular archiving of my material but that they would do a further update over the next few days. Astonishing service, and I have always found that to be the case. Quick and courteous.

I get the impression that they are always anxious to know of websites which they should be recording and encourage nominations. (It seems to be websites, rather than any other form of personal collection).

I have no idea whatsoever just how accessible the archived material will be in 50/100/200 years time (compared with today when it is just a question of googling) - and perhaps nobody else does either - but, hey, you can't worry about everything, can you?!!

Chris
 

Nico

master brummie
Nico. I used it in business from engineering drawings and documentation. There are storage requirements, all of our we stored in fireproof rooms with halon protection. I believe we began phasing out with high use data in the late 80’s finishing in the early 90’s.
It was used where I worked also on small sheets to classify pages of the newspaper. They slotted in to a a machine with a magnifier which brought it up on a screen.But much of the classifications were stored in the brains of the librarians. What enraged them was journalists mainly who took things without asking, and not pt back in the correct place as everything was logged and tracked and booked out to people. Looking for a divorce procedings took us to Solihull. These were on spools the size of a Scotch selotape, the invisible sort, in years. Then I had to ring somewhere in London and it took an age.
 

Nico

master brummie
I recently gained some photographs as a result of the death of a relative. His father had written on the back of some of them, I suspect not always accurately, while others had unhelpful remarks like "Mary and myself".

It just happened that an old letter from my mum fell out of a family history folder of mine and re-reading it she had speculated that her grandfather might have had a sister in Canada as 'family' there had sent food parcels over during the war. She remembered the surname but not much else. For some unknown reason an old address book had 'escaped' from my archive box, perhaps because I had had thoughts of throwing it out. I thought I knew all the names in it anyway, some from Canada when my dad served there. A quick glance for old times sake, and there was Mum's 'cousin'!

Going through my photo haul I had been trying to group them together by subjects and developer's markings. One group meant absolutely nothing to me. They were marked on the back but they weren't names that I recognised. It suddenly struck me that they were taken at the back of a Canadian house. Using one of the 3D mappings I had a look at the back of the house in the address book. These houses were wider at the front than at the back and the transition was made by a wall at 45 degrees with windows set in it. Checking the suspect photos and there was the 45 degree wall!

Looking at the person identified as "myself" I can see a strong resemblance to my mum's grandmother. Now she had four half-sisters, three ended up buried in Belfast, as to the eldest I don't know, but she looks now to be the Canadian lady.

If my mum hadn't written her letter, my dad hadn't filled in an address book and the photo lady hadn't written some of the relationships on the photos there is a Canadian branch of the family that might have got lost forever, (assuming I can positively identify the 'cousin'). Moral: Write It Down!
If my partner hadn't needed the loo, and knocked a stranger's door, if the stranger hadn't been a person of note, or receptive they wouldn't have directed us to the church. That person gave us the oldest lady in the village's address, she passed my letter on to a relative. If my birth mother and uncle had not signed the church visitors book that particular year, we wouldn't have known where they were. And the Deacon wouldn't have been my intermediary, and she dug out the parish registers. Not all church ministers are that amiable or in touch with their parishioners. The Deacon directed us to the man who took the photos for the local calendar for charity, his wife was an adoptee and their neighbour adopted her two sons and was a friend of my birth grandmother. Another neighbour worked in the local archives who had produced a local history book. Some of my birth family were in the book and I was able to trace them. And it went on. And on. We found the smaller the enterprise often the more helpful the staff were.
My birth father had very few keepsakes. He did keep a funeral service sheet. I was able to trace my cousin from that.
I stuck a pin in to try and find him, straw clutching, he was a miltary man, so we started in the area with a pub with a military name, we knew he was fond of the aIe and started with a street with my name, and lo and behold.....We visited his last address, if the nice old lady hadn't been putting out her bin who knew him etc etc.Sorry I have gone off a bit. Apologies.
 

Spargone

master brummie
I have no idea whatsoever just how accessible the archived material will be in 50/100/200 years time (compared with today when it is just a question of googling) - and perhaps nobody else does either - but, hey, you can't worry about everything, can you?!!

Chris
Will all the data be there anyway?

"However, even the state-of-the-art web crawlers used by the UK Web Archive have technical limitations and are currently unable to capture streaming media, deep web or database content requiring user input, interactive components based on programming scripts or content which requires plug-ins for rendering. This means that certain elements in some of the archived websites are not present."

Although better than nothing this archive strikes me as being primarily intended for academic researchers in years to come. So someone in 2066 will be able to write a PhD thesis detailing the rise and fall of the word 'Brexit' in 2016.

What it won't do is maintain existing URLs and websites even the day after the direct debit payments run out. Your website is a dead website, it ceases to exist. Surely it must be possible to fix this problem before it is too late?
 

farmerdave

master brummie
From the Goonshow. "What time is it Eccles"? "Just a minute, I've got it written down on a piece of paper." Brilliant.
Can't get YouTube video to load. Sorry
 
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rosie

brummie
I have mentioned before that my mother wrote a lot of notes, they are in ballpoint pen and it seems to make a greasy sort of residue, not sure if it's because of paper quality. I have read that pencil is good because it doesn't fade.

One of the grandaughters visited yesterday, first time since Covid and she wanted to me to see the photos of her holiday. It was very difficult trying not to get too close and looking at a cracked grubby screen! One benefit is being able to make the picture larger and smaller manually, (Don't know the proper word!). Dad printed his own black and white films and it was amazing when he did enlargements the old way.
I have some black and white Polaroid of my son but they are so faded now.
rosie.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
On the question of long-term archiving, I don’t think anyone can bank on perfect recording. I certainly don’t.

But what I would hope for is that the basic data is retained, in some form or another, and is accessible in the future. By “data“ I am fortunately old-fashioned enough to think that that represents just plain text and still images. And nothing more exotic than that. Fancy websites containing all sorts of clever gizmos may well be less effectively recorded. Perhaps the basic stuff is what we’re really talking about here.

Chris
 

Tinpot

master brummie
On the question of long-term archiving, I don’t think anyone can bank on perfect recording. I certainly don’t.

But what I would hope for is that the basic data is retained, in some form or another, and is accessible in the future. By “data“ I am fortunately old-fashioned enough to think that that represents just plain text and still images. And nothing more exotic than that. Fancy websites containing all sorts of clever gizmos may well be less effectively recorded. Perhaps the basic stuff is what we’re really talking about here.

Chris
A source for one branch of my family is a family bible. In my case not terribly old, about 1840, but just with simple recording of Dof Birth. A lesson I learned from it, when left to me,was that some kind of rift had occurred because pages had been carefully cut out . So some times the 'evidence' lies in the erasure of data. Likewise family photographs. Who wasn't included? Who was cut out?
 

Spargone

master brummie
Perhaps the basic stuff is what we’re really talking about here.

Chris
One problem with 'basic stuff', the letters, the photographs, is that they end up in the wrong place.

Back in 1849 two brothers from my extended family emmigrated. One went to Canada, the other to Australia. The Canadian brother wrote to the Australian brother giving a fascinating account of life in (cold) Canada where meat was available in abundance compared to his earlier life in the east of Scotland.

I would suggest that this letter is of more interest to the Canadian family than the Australian family, who may see no reason to keep it. Fortunately the Canadian family are now able to read it, even though the original is with an Australian they knew nothing about. The link was made by the internet and amateur websites. Go forward one generation and the website and perhaps the paper will no longer exist. Preserve a domain name and a few megabyte of webspace and the letter could live 'forever' and be found by anyone world-wide. No need for fire-safes, acid-free paper etc.
 
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oldMohawk

master brummie
From the Goonshow. "What time is it Eccles"? "Just a minute, I've got it written down on a piece of paper." Brilliant.
Can't get YouTube video to load. Sorry
A long time ago on the forum I posted the written down time ... :grinning:
In the 1950s I worked at a factory in Birch Road Witton and used to cycle home in the lunch hour to the Beeches Estate, listen to the Goon Show as I ate my lunch, then cycle back to work - I think the 'lunch hour' at that time was actually an hour and a quarter !
A short reminder of the Goon Show can be seen and heard at
 
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