Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bits and Pieces* : What's In Your Proof Box?

By Lidingo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week our local genealogy society had an interesting program concerning ways to organize our genealogy and research materials.  The speaker had a number of helpful suggestions, many coming back to one point -- "organize the way you think, otherwise, it won't make sense to you".  She mentioned organizing materials by surname, by location, or by topic. Then she mentioned a new-to-me term, a Proof Box.

She spoke of keeping certain things in our Proof Box, those things that cannot be replaced or would be extremely difficult to replicate. This is the box, container, or maybe a briefcase that we grab and take, along with our personal and financial papers, if we have to quickly evacuate our home. The speaker mentioned some of the contents in her Proof Box, things such as the original marriage certificates of ancestors and an important letter written by another ancestor. Precious treasures that are also proof of genealogical facts.

This is an idea I'm starting to mull over. I think another good item to include in my Proof Box will be the jump drive backup of my genealogy software and my genealogy software itself. One document that I may include is the Variety Book (diary) written by my Great Aunt Miriam Vaughan. I previously have written about Miriam's book and how it detailed family relationships and a year in the life of my aunt. I will probably include my mother's citizenship papers since she had held dual citizenship for a number of years. The envelope of paperwork includes correspondence with two different consulates, cites federal statutes, and includes a letter concerning the status of her then unborn child - me.

Having a small Proof Box or case is definitely food for thought and a prod for action.  What should be in your Proof Box?

* A series of quick looks at new genealogical ideas, resources, or techniques.

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