Prompted by an article in the Deseret News, quoting Curt Witcher, Betty Malesky wrote an interesting column this week. She speaks of a “genealogical dark ages.” Now how could that be? With all this technology-related data coming available you’d think we we in “genealogical heaven.” However, according to Witcher, and Malesky it’s not so…

I see their point. While we are getting access to digital documents by the million, we’re losing the records produced – or should I say “not produced,” today. When was the last time you got a personal letter from a friend, let alone one of your relatives? It’s all e-mail today it seems, and noone ever saves that for posterity… Too bad. We can communicate faster, and far easier than before, but it’s never saved… That’s just one thing that may point to a “genealogical dark ages.”

The following is a teaser from Betty’s article.

Are the genealogical ‘Dark Ages’ coming?
Sounds ominous doesn’t it?—“The genealogical dark ages.” The Dark Ages followed the decline of the Roman Empire as Europe experienced cultural and economic deterioration.

Intellectual curiosity was stifled for hundreds of years until the Renaissance in the 14th century.

A recent article in the Deseret Times (Salt Lake City) reports an address given at BYU’s Conference on Family History and Genealogy by Curt B. Witcher, manager of The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind.

He believes we may be entering a new dark age in genealogy with vital records and memories of people alive today lost forever.

Most alarming is his statement that courthouses are engaging in “radical sampling”—keeping a few samples from large record collections and destroying the rest.

This week, Camden, N.J. announced plans to close all branch libraries.

The Arizona State Library is currently open weekdays only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Publish,” he [Withcer] says, “locally to family or even on a website such as” taking care not to post personal information of living individuals as you create records for descendants … History (is) in our hands. What are we going to do with it?” If we wait for someone else to take care of it, our history is endangered and may be lost. Good advice from a respected librarian who cares about history including our individual family histories.

Read the full article in the August 14, 2010 Green Valley News.