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What genealogy records to keep?

Like most genealogist I have notebooks filled with copies of census records, court cases, pages from county histories, copies of marriage records, cemetery transcriptions and more. The problem comes when most of the data is entered in to an electronic format and copies of documents are scanned into the computer. How much of a paper trail do you keep? Do I keep page twenty-three of the Benton county marriages or pitch the copy once the data is sourced and entered into the computer? Now most research libraries have the new microfilm readers where you can down load onto a memory stick, I find myself coming home with fewer paper copies each time and more documents on the memory stick. I really don’t have a good answer for you but if you can recreate the copy quickly or track it down with very little expense I have decided to pitch the hard copy. If the paper copy comes from a repository a hundred miles away and would take time and money to re-copy I am keeping it even though it has been scanned, transcribed and uploaded. Computers crash, transcription errors happen and at the end of the day the volumes of paper give me comfort. Storage is a problem but my eighteen-year-old knows his room will be converted into a genealogy workspace when he leaves for college next fall. It will take me some time to outgrow the space. So for now page twenty-three of the Benton county marriages is safe.

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