The past couple of weeks were spent preparing for the Faculty Work-in-Progress Speaker Series talk, working with the bound volumes, and sorting the file folders. The bound volumes actually involve more cataloguing than filing, although there are still some loose pages inside the bound volumes that are being placed in file folders. The turnout for the talk wasn’t too large, but I did film it, and there has been some interest in watching the video (if you’re interested in watching it, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you the links). Of course, my mother (aka “research assistant”) watched it, and she pointed out an error I made in the presentation. Apparently they did all the fastnacht baking and sales at my grandparents’ house in Reading…and it reeked of fastnachts for six months afterwards (and no, while fastnachts are like doughnuts, they are fried in lard—and it’s not exactly an aroma you want as an air freshener).
The bound volumes include the church registers (baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, transfers), along with Consistory (church council) minutes from 1881 through 1939. The first 35 years (1881-1916) of the Consistory minutes are recorded in German…the lovely schriften that makes reading doctor’s prescriptions easy. The church registers are also in German during this period, but I know enough German to figure out months without resorting to a dictionary. For the Consistory minutes, not only do I need a dictionary, but I also need a “cheat sheet” to decipher the script (check out the difference between ‘e’ and ‘n’ on the sheet).
The sorting part is the most fun. Once again, I’ve set up tables in the garage for the piles…except instead of dealing with 80 degree temperatures like in September, it’s now 40 degrees in the garage. This means, of course, that wearing gloves becomes important to keep my hands warm in addition to handling the documents. And, of course, warm clothes to keep me warm…and the classy hat to keep my ears warm.