03 March 2007

The "real" concern with Civil War Pensions

Genealogy blogs and email lists are abuzz with news of the proposed raise in fees for copies of Civil War pension records from NARA (the National Archives). I won't repeat that commentary here because I have another concern regarding these records that I have not seen addressed: the long term preservation of these records.

Records of Union Civil War pensions only exist in the original paper form. They have not been microfilmed. They have not been digitized. While I am concerned that the price of a set of copies may be come somewhat high, I am more concerned that the long term preservation of these records is not being addressed.

How long will those papers last under ideal conditions? I'm not certain. If we fail to address the long term preservation of these historical records, agruments about copy costs may be moot.



Blogger Miriam said...

I believe the LDS church could microfilm these at no cost to the National Archives (I had a conversation about this with the director of my local Family History Center this week). I believe they did this with the Revolutionary War pension records. I wonder if there's a possibility this could happen...just thinking out loud, here, Michael. Seems like it could solve a lot of problems such as preservation, access, availability,
and affordability.

I, too, worry about the preservation of these records...why weren't they microfilmed or scanned years ago? Probably costs, I'm sure.

12:07 PM  

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