You, too, can make history.

How do we know what we know?

Research. And more research. And double-checking to make sure that what we present to the reading/ viewing audience is not only correct, but applicable to the topic we’re discussing,

Best resources for getting the facts, and the tone, of past happenings right? Primary sources. And guess what?

You. Are. A. Primary. Resource.

That diary you kept in grade school (or did you call it elementary school, or primary school? Your diary might be the crucial clue for regional word choice.)

Example of a family photo to be used as a primary source by historians

Family photos give real-life clues about fashion.

Your college transcript, the photos of your first car in front of your first apartment. Your snaps of the relatives at a wedding. Maybe even those films of the Christmas parade or the audio tapes of your uncles reminiscing about ice-fishing on the Great Lakes.

You can digitize old papers (here’s how if you use a MAC computer and here’s how if you have Adobe Acrobat), transcribe your (admittedly less-than-Palmer-Method) handwriting into text, make sure those generation-back relatives’ images are correctly captioned. You can contact the historical society or government archives* in the town you grew up in/ camped near/ visited, to ask what they can use.

You can even help preserve web pages for future researchers. It’s as easy as a few clicks. Read how on The Wayback Machine.

Interested in preserving physical artifacts for your family? Explore our series You Can Do It.

* We at the Historical Society of Sarasota County do not have the resources to preserve artifacts. A guide to what the Venice Museum and Archives can accept is here. Sarasota County’s Historical Resources contact info is here. Florida Memory is interested in some items as well; read their FAQs here.

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