Genealogists to the rescue after school arson

Two weeks ago an arson attack on a local school destroyed several classrooms and the library. The school principal mourned the loss of the contents of the library including all the school’s archives. This was particularly poignant with events being planned to celebrate the school’s 125th anniversary later in the year.

The community has responded extremely generously with donations of books, stationery and other items needed to help get the school back in action. What couldn’t be restored though were the school’s archives, including early photographs and other historical records.

It made me think that maybe schools need to consider using some of their financial resources to store these records in a secure storage facility. No-one wants to think their school, or home, or business premises will be attacked by arsonists. However it would be a sensible insurance policy to store their paper records and photographs securely – at least until they can arrange to digitise them.

This week’s community newspaper had a wonderful key story though. On Monday morning the New Zealand Society of Genealogists handed over copies of more than 6000 records to the school. The records date back to 1889 and have been transcribed by the Society as part of its role to preserve records of school attendance data.

The school history is not complete but this is a great start. I’m sure past pupils will be able to contribute with their own copies of class photos and other memorabilia to add to the historical displays at the November celebrations.

Meantime I recommend you consider what you want to keep of your business history and how to store it safely.


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