11 March 2010 – As part of her work here as the Endangered Archives Project Principal Investigator and Archivist, Melanie coordinated one of a series of workshops and seminars involving government offices and local church leaders. Mr. Tim Law from the Familysearch project in Utah, one of the largest online genealogical sites and repositories of family history information in the world, was an invited speaker. The morning involved a presentation by Law on the history and background of how Familysearch works to digitize and preserve family history records around the world and how the process has changed since the early plate cameras of the 1930′s when it was started. With a lively question and answer session throughout, Melanie followed up with a short Powerpoint presentation on the Basics of Archives. Covering Site, Storage, Handling and Cleaning with some interesting pictures taken from her investigations and preservation work in the Turks and Caicos Islands!
Having already visited the TCI Registry Offices, after the workshop finished Tim and Melanie visited the Anglican church with Reverend Mark Kendall, where we discovered the early registers from 1865 from Salt Cay with Births and Burials included! The last trip was to the Baptist Church where there are also some interesting records from this period regarding North and Middle Caicos and Provo (Blue Hills then). With a little follow-up and contract signing to make sure that all privacy laws are upheld we hope to go ahead with copying all the records we have found so far and enable much greater public access.
Participants included: Ms. Clara Gardiner, Permanent Secretary for Border Control and Immigration; Ms. Sharon Taylor, Under Secretary, Border Control and Immigration; two staff from Border Control and Immigration; Ms. Sigrid Lightbourne Registrar, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Rev. Mark Kendall, Anglican; Father Mark Christmas, Methodist; Pastor Chad Archibold, Baptist. Apologies were sent by Ms. Mary Harvey, Permanent Secretary; Ms. Emily Malcolm DC South Caicos; Ms. Almaida Wilson DC Salt Cay; Mr Edwin Astwood, Secretary to the Governor; and Bryan Been, Tourist Board