I’ve been doing my annual scrapbooks and one for our trip to Alaska last Fall. As I do these projects, I’m asking myself “why?” I’ve found that when I do something as a routine event, I want to ask myself why, so that I’m sure that I’m doing it for a valid and current reason. “Just because I’ve always done it that way” is not reason enough anymore.
I find that my interest in keeping records, goes back at least as far as my paternal grandfather, Walter Jennings. He kept meticulous notebooks on designs he made for his copper and silver jewelry. Those notebooks are now with Boice Lydell, a Roycroft collector, and more specifically, a Walter Jennings expert. I’m glad he has those notebooks.
My father, Rix Jennings, also was a record keeper. He saved things, usually without much true organization, but he saved things and often could pull things out that he might need to find again. Beginning in 1998, I began a long project of collecting all the things in his art studio and digitizing them. Back then, portable scanners and digital photography was not nearly as commonplace as it is today. Nevertheless, I managed to capture about 16,000 items.
My plan has always been to write a biography, and to archive his 70+ year commercial and fine art career. It still is my goal, but, I’ve been side-tracked a number of times, and wonder when I’ll get back to it. He kept records on gas mileage for each car he owned, and made graphs showing the results. He also routinely did “time studies” to help him understand if he was charging the right amount for his commercial art jobs.
And, my Aunt Muriel Jennings Case, was the family Genealogist. She did it the old-fashioned way (pre computers) when you wrote to registers of records and wrote letters to family members trying to track down the real evidence of who was related to who. Because of her diligence, we know a great deal about the Jennings side of the family. She clearly documented the family to the late 1600s in New England. Although my research shows that the connection to the Jenny’s in Plymouth, Massachusetts (think Mayflower) was not accurate, I have an interest in taking that back further to try and see if I can make the jump “across the pond” to England. Another project on my list.
That all said, I come by my desire to document and find connections with events very naturally. I keep spinning and weaving journals with details of my projects in case I might want to see what I did for some later project. I do an annual scrapbook (which began in earnest when our son was in high school so that he could earn points for the National Thespian Society), and scrapbooks for vacations.
I make a daily Timeline to help me be accountable for my time (It seems that without it, time just slips away). It makes me happy to do these things.
Oh, yeh, and this blog is another manifestation of The Archiver. I don’t know what I expect will come of this. I guess, it’s the doing of it that matters.