News Release: 8 January 2017
Contributed by Loraine Tolman Pace
With the sale of the Thomas Tolman Family Genealogy Center in Bountiful, Utah in May of 2016, the question is asked, “What has become of the vast number of records and other items for which the Center was built and dedicated in 1978?” As the Tolman Family Genealogist for the past 20 years, I have been asked to prepare this brief article to answer that question. The conversations concerning the possible sale of the Family Genealogy Center began in 2012. The attendance at semi-annual meetings had dropped significantly; visitors to the Center were almost non existent; and upkeep on the Center was in need of more time and money than we felt should be committed from our funds and Executive Officers. The family officers were not interested in being landlords or using the Center only for meetings. Most requests for materials and information was in an electronic format. The boxes of records that were moved into the completed Genealogy Center had grown to over thirty, four-drawer file cabinets, thirty-three large, built-in wooden drawers, and three walls of cupboards. In addition, we were given several large portraits and miscellaneous items for safe-keeping that were hung or displayed in the Center. One of the responsibilities of the family genealogist is care-taker of all the records. It is a responsibility that I have taken seriously. I began digitizing the records and pictures before the sale-of-the-center discussion even began, so we would have a back up of everything in the Tolman Family’s possession. Once the decision to sell the Center was made, I continued, in earnest, to have all the records of the Center copied before the sale was final. The filing cabinets, containing files on our ancestors and the descendants of Thomas Tolman was my first goal. Each file included a pedigree chart and family group record, along with pictures, certificates, obituaries, etc. that were sent in by family members or discovered in our research. We sold the filing cabinets as they were emptied as well as other office equipment when it was no longer needed. Between 2012 and 2016, I personally scanned over 75,000 pictures and documents. I only found three “original” documents, the rest were copies of copies that were improved through photoshop. The cabinet’s contents were discarded once digitized. Where I had limitations with my own scanner or computer, I used a local printing company to digitize bound, personal histories; original journals and temple books; family magazines and newsletters from the 1960’s through 2014. I organized the digitized records and pictures alphabetically and/or chronologically for easy access. We have in the end an amazing record of the Thomas Tolman Family Organization. We are making an agreement with the new Bountiful Historical Museum for the care and display of the large portrait pictures, the original journals, temple and minute books and ledgers, along with a few special mementos in exchange for a donation to help remodel the archive area where our items will be preserved. Everything we have has now been digitized and will be made available on the new Thomas Tolman Family Organization website for your viewing and to add to your own records. The extensive documentation of our research records will be added to FamilySearch. We ask that you leave that project under the direction of the new genealogist and her committee as we want to have the data entered in a particular way. If you wish to be involved, visit the TTFO website and join the committee. It has been my privilege to bring the records of the Thomas Tolman Family Organization to this point, where we can more easily share them with each one of you and your posterity.