“Use it or Lose it”

I thought it would be timely to reflect on the benefits of the archive offices and record offices, up and down the country and the wonderful services that they provide.

My title for this blog is very apt, “use it or lose it”. With pressure on local government and local authorities to cut budgets and reduce expenditure, the axe has to fall somewhere, invariably it falls on the supposed “softer” options such as archive resources and Libraries. So what can we do as individuals or as a collective group of genealogists to minimise the impact of government cutbacks?

The simple answer is to use your record office more regularly.

How many of “us” have never been to a record office? How many of us, sit in the comfort of our armchairs and carry out all our research with the click of a mouse. With more and more information and records being put online by the large commercial websites, is there now a danger that record offices could be a thing of the past?

We have already seen one record office attempt to restructure its charges in attempt to offset their running costs and budget cuts and although they have since reversed this decision due to peer pressure from us “tree-ers”, I am sure it is a sign of things to come, be warned!

I certainly admit that I have not utilised record offices enough in my own research, but will endeavour to get off my backside and explore them a lot more in the future. Will you do the same?

There is a whole wealth of information to be discovered on documents that are currently inaccessible online and things that our old friend Mr. Google won’t be able to find either. It would be impossible to try and cover the wide and varied array of documents available here, but suffice to say, you will be surprised at what you might discover! You won’t know what there is to find unless you go (well that’s strictly not true as there are catalogues listing the documents that are available).

So make it a goal for 2020 to explore your local record office and see what you can discover.




Be warned, “use it or lose it”

Please see my regular blog for Family Tree Magazine Here

Copyright © 2021 Paul Chiddicks | All rights reserved

2 thoughts on ““Use it or Lose it”

  1. When i first started there was no choice but to go to record offices, microfiche, films and latterly IGI on disk (familysearch). I guess i hv become more complacent but also bec i disocver londoners and the computer v travelling hunreds of miles… But yes i agree it would be a disaster to lose these offices and the joys of handling original documents with the help of qualified, experienced people.


    1. I agree Judith I remember flipping through dusty volumes and feeling the excitement of when I first found a mention of my family. I can also remember loading films on spools and using fiche readers regularly. I understand technology moves on and we cant stand still, but I’m also aware that there is a danger of these facilities being used less and less in the future


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