By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist
We hope you have visited our site (www.GreeneConnections.com) and found your ancestor looking back at you, or seen what your house or street looked like a century ago, or read a handwritten letter your relative sent home from France during World War I. The possibility of such discoveries increases daily as the project continues to grow!
Greene Connections is a free, volunteer-operated project aimed at increasing access to rare photographs and documents from Greene County, Pennsylvania. We started in 2003, while researching content for Memory Medallions (www.MemoryMedallion.com) that would share stories and images of ancestors buried in Waynesburg’s Green Mount Cemetery. After making a few inquiries, we discovered exceptional local history collections that we thought were worthy of attention.
Soon thereafter, Greene Connections was launched online at www.GreeneConnections.com and has evolved steadily to accommodate growing participation. Over 10,000 items have been catalogued and the queue of items waiting to be processed contains at least 2,000 more and is growing. The archives have been shared by families, individuals, and local repositories such as the Cornerstone Genealogical Society, Greene County Historical Society, and Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum.
Our volunteer team visits collections to digitally scan and archivally document each item. We carefully study and research every record, interview owners, and create complete captions, ownership histories, and credit lines. We do not take away any physical items when we complete the process. All collections stay in the custody of the families or repositories who choose to share with us. (Upon special request, we will work with families to rehome unwanted collections so that the originals are preserved.)
Last year, we took a big leap and upgraded Greene Connections with PastPerfect Museum Software. This software is endorsed by the American Association of State and Local History and provides search and navigation options that we hope will increase the fun and quality of finding your family records at http://www.GreeneConnections.com. Of course, this means that right now we are under construction as we move our vast collection into the new program. You can see our progress by visiting the site and clicking ARCHIVES. Be sure to stop back every few weeks, as more records are migrated into this new software, which allows us to tag people, search terms, and creators (photographers, artists, authors, and more). These new software features allow visitors to see how local families and history topics connect across the shared collections. One person may have shared your great-grandmother’s photo as a baby, a school collection may show her in a cap and gown, a church collection may show her in the choir, someone else might have had an image of the family farm, perhaps her wedding invitation was in a scrapbook that a neighbor kept – all of these things are able to be linked in our new Archives section at www.GreeneConnections.com so that by going to your great-grandmother’s name in the Tags, you can see every item linked to her. This same method has helped to identify hundreds of photographs because while one may be unidentified in a particular collection, a same or similar image may have captions or clues in another collection.
Our volunteers make every effort to analyze and research items shared so that we can set estimated dates, determine accuracy, and present the most complete information. Like all areas of research, we are always learning, exploring, and examining new evidence. The items in our Archives are updated as the research continues.
Learn how to share your family archives with our project by clicking on the FAQ tab at www.GreeneConnections.com.
BEYOND THE ARCHIVES
In addition to our Archives, Greene Connections is intended to be a hub linking researchers to the many resources available in Greene County. Once you click any tab to enter our site, you will see large, sidebar links to our local research repositories including the Cornerstone Genealogical Society, Greene County Historical Society, and Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum.
Tabs across the top of the web site will take you to highlighted category choices, for example:
We hope that you will visit and enjoy our site! Our special thanks to everyone who has shared with us and made such a project possible!