A busy week with some interesting finds

As you may know we are constantly adding “new” material to our collections (some of it new, i.e. recent, especially in local studies, and some of it much older). It is rare to go more than 3 or 4 days without accessioning new material, this was a little exceptional though with 7 new and additional  archive deposits and gifts in just 2 days.

Some of this was fairly typical of the material we take in on a regular basis, for example, late 20th and early 21st century school governors minutes. Some was was a little less typical and I got a little excitable as I looked through these new accessions to produce a summary for the official receipt and online catalogue.

One of the key professional duties of an archivist is to undertake an initial assessment of material that is being offered (whether it is being offered as a donation or a deposit, where the organisation offering the records remains the owner and the Record Office acts acts the custodian). We then summarise and describe the records and record in our database where the material has come from. This is known as as the accessioning process, and also involves assigning a running number to each new accession in addition to giving it a catalogue collection number. If we already have other records relating to the same collection (for example, in the case of a parish, school or business), we use the existing “D” reference number. If this is the first accession of material for a particular collection it is also assigned the next “D” reference (we have almost reached D8000 by the way).

Once we have entered all the necessary information into the database (which may also include information about access restrictions and copyright, amongst other things), we produce an Accession Receipt for the donor/depositor to sign along with the duty archivist. Both parties then each have a copy of the receipt.

Screenshot of our internal database for recording accessions and catalogues, showing list of accessions received on 14 July 2016

The next stage is to add information about the new accession to our online catalogue so that people know what we have. Very occasionally, if the new accession is quite small and individual records easily identified, we can add individual catalogue entries for each record and assign it a unique reference number. I was actually able able to do this on two occasions this week, for new material that came in from the Parish of Draycott and a separate accession from Ilkeston St Marys Mothers’ Union.

When it is not possible for this to happen a summary of the new accession is added under ‘Description’ at home collection level entry on the catalogue until full cataloguing and number if can take place in the future. This is what I have done with the rest of the new accessions received last week.

So what new accessions did we receive this week? Can you guess which ones I was particularly excited about?

On Monday, two boxes of governors records arrived from Aston-on-Trent Primary School (ref: D6701) this was by far the largest deposit and contained a large number of documents that are not required or considered appropriate for permanent preservation in the archives. I undertook an initial assessment of which files contained archive material, returning those that didn’t to the school this week. The remaining files have now gone to be processed by our Records Assistants, checked, boxed and added to our archive strongrooms. However, as only the initial assessment has yet been completed, further appraisal will be required to identify other material within the files not appropriate for permanent preservation – for example there are a number of duplicates of items and publications from other bodies that do not relate to the school.

On Thursday, the first to arrive were were the minutes and reports from the Ilkeston St Marys Mothers’ Union, which sadly disbanded earlier this year. This material has already been fully catalogued and added to the existing collection under the reference D4603. Two deposits were received from the Parish of Wilne with Draycott, including an original Register of Apprentices for Draycott, 1804-1816 (ref: D2513/5), an apparently very comprehensive survey and valuation of the whole of Draycott, including names of owners and occupiers, produced by William Cox in 1810 (ref: D2513/6) – see images below.

The deposit for Wilne (the mother church to Draycott) was much larger and generally much more recent, including for example, Parochial Church Council minutes 1993-2004, inspection reports, inventories of 1908 and 1935 and papers relating to various works and improvements undertaken between the 1950s and 2000s  (although these latter files will be appraised further as part of the cataloguing process – see my post in February “to keep or not to keep”) – ref: D2513. The star of the accession was undoubtedly the addition of the parish copy of the Wilne Tithe Map and Award of 1847-1848. Although we already hold the Diocesan copy of these important and incredibly useful records, Wilne was one of the few Derbyshire parishes for which we were not also protecting and preserving the parish copy. Nevertheless, the parish had clearly been taking good care of it as it is in very good condition:

Parish copy of the Wilne Tithe Map and Award 1847-1848 (D2513)

We also took in a small collection of printed items (see picture above), with a couple of photographs and news cuttings, relating to William Rhodes Junior School (later, and now, Primary School), donated by a friend and former colleague of the teacher who collected them during her employment there from the late 1960s to her retirement in 1983. Although not yet fully catalogued this material has been added to collection D5234, which also includes log books and admission registers for the infants and juniors from the 1930s.

Finally, we had two donations via the British Cave Research Association Library in Ashbourne. The first consisted of the only collection of material specifically relating to the Peak Forest Mining Company, including letter books and accounts from the late 19th century (ref: D7981). This material had once been in the possession of a past member of the Association (formerly the British Speleological Association), Mr Peter Crabtree, who passed away in 2003. And it was the research and other papers of Mr Crabtree that complete our list of new accessions received  (ref: D7982).

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FindersKeepers project: the end in sight?

The FindersKeepers project has been making steady progress for a number of years now, as home-based volunteers work to get our archive lists ready to be imported into the catalogue.  The news today is that there are fewer than 700 lists to go – impressive when you consider that we have well over 7000 collections.  To make the end of the project easier to visualise, I have doctored one of George Woodward‘s lovely balloon cartoons. Each stripe represents 50 lists, and I will send out another blog post each time another gets wiped out.  To find out more about the project, including how to volunteer, have a look at the FindersKeepers page.

Totaliser700

Key players in the FitzHerbert Family

When you’re cataloguing a large family collection such as this, it’s fair to say there’s always a large number of people involved! The FitzHerbert family is no exception and throughout the listing process where I’ve been looking through all of the material in all the boxes (see my earlier posts), there is certainly a large amount of correspondence.

Some of this correspondence is business related, regarding the Tissington estate (also some of the other estates), Whilst some of the correspondence is private, between friends and family about a whole array of subjects.

This adds to the already catalogued material of this collection and fills what would otherwise be an incomplete gap. Take a look at the catalogue for collection D239 here.It also gives an insight into the lives and personalities of those who are writing the letters. Given that the material in these particular boxes dates rom the late eighteenth century to the 1960s, it is four of the FitzHerbert Baronets who are the main authors of the letters, the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Baronets: Sir William, Sir Richard, Sir Hugo Meynell and Sir William.

Including friends and workers on the Tissington Estate, they correspond with some interesting people, Edward Ford being one significant individual. A gentleman called Col. Weetman is a name frequently mentioned, he was an insurance agent for the FitzHerberts. Why not come and read the correspondence when its all sorted and properly catalogued?

In my next post I hope to tell you about some of the items I’ve discovered which are ‘treasures’…

Saying Hello

My name is Frances Lund and I’ve been volunteering at Derbyshire Record Office for the last two weeks now, although it feels like longer than that! I’m actually a qualified archivist and am developing my skills whilst looking for my next employment opportunity which is why I’m volunteering. The task I’ve been working on so far is an accession of material which belongs to the FitzHerbert Family of Tissington. You can find out more about this collection here. There are twenty boxes of material, of which I have surveyed the contents to establish what there is and where it fits into the collection. This is somewhat unusual as long time users and researchers will note that this collection is otherwise already fully catalogued! The next step is to finalise the box list and create a theoretical catalogue, before importing it all into CALM. I’ll also be posting some photos of what I think are the most interesting items over the next few weeks so keep following if you’d like to find out more.

The Local Studies Catalogue at Derbyshire Record Office

card catThe County Local Studies Card Catalogue at Derbyshire Record Office is an amazing resource. It has entries for subjects, places, people and authors for every possible thing you can think of to do with Derbyshire, and it works.
But it has been added to for decades, and requires a certain amount of upkeep, not to mention cards and ink. And it cannot be viewed remotely.
So from January this year all new Local Studies indexing will be on the Record Office catalogue: http://calmview.derbyshire.gov.uk/calmview/
We receive several new books a month, plus a constant flow of journal articles, and donated items which we did not have before. All require indexing by librarians to bring out the information riches hidden within.  To see what new arrivals have been indexed so far, try using LS* as the reference when you search the catalogue.
Of course we are not getting rid of the card catalogue, and if you cannot get to us, staff here will be happy to look references up for you.

Sue Peach, Local Studies Librarian

What do you think of our catalogue?

Hello everyone,

It’s been 18 weeks since we installed the new version of our catalogue.  That isn’t traditionally regarded as a significant anniversary, I know, but it’s probably long enough to allow for reflection on progress to date.  We would love to hear your opinions.  Is the new catalogue better than its predecessor?  What do you like about it, and what would you like to see changed?

  • Have you tried looking at some of the images that have been added to the catalogue?

(If not, now’s your chance – follow this link: http://calmview.derbyshire.gov.uk/calmview/overview.aspx?src=calmview.catalog&q=image:*)

  • Do you like being able to read the lists that aren’t yet in the database?

(If you haven’t had the need to do so, please give it a try: http://calmview.derbyshire.gov.uk/calmview/overview.aspx?src=calmview.catalog&q=refno:*fk)

  • What would you change if it was up to you?

Please let us know by any of the following channels:

  • Replying to this blog post
  • Filling in a comments form on your next visit
  • Sending an email to record.office@derbyshire.gov.uk (subject line: FindersKeepers)
  • Collaring me (Mark) or one of my colleagues to offer your opinion in person

I can’t promise to be able to make all the changes that are asked for, but I will reply to any comment that needs a response.  There is every chance you will suggest something that is already in the pipeline – with a bit of time (that most precious commodity!) there are a lot of improvements to be made.

Thanks,

Mark.

 

Calmview is online

In my last post about catalogues, I suggested we might be looking at mid-February for the completion of an upgrade on our catalogue browser. And, OK, it’s the last day of February, but we are there.

One of the benefits of the new browser (Calmview) is that it allows us to upload images and attach them to catalogue entries. At the time of posting, we have only 5, but there will be more. Our trial of this function begins with images relating to World War I. That hyperlink will take you to an up-to-date overview of catalogue entries that have associated images, so if you click the same thing in a few days’ time, you should see more there. To view an image, just click on the particular entry.

I hope the idea of using hyperlinks is one we can work with more. For instance, in response to a specific request I can add a link here to the Froggatt of Froggatt collection, D3331.

Another useful thing is that we can add documents, which means we can post wordprocessed versions of lists that we haven’t added to the catalogue yet. A random example is D5262, a collection of Monyash title deeds.

Further posts on this kind of caper will follow. Thanks.