Monday, July 20, 2009

Julia Brumfield Diaries

The second major family history project I'm working on is the Julia Brumfield Diaries.

For most of her later years, Julia Craddock Brumfield kept a diary every day -- we're pretty sure that she started in 1915, and know that she continued into the 1930s. After she died, her daughter-in-law distributed the diaries to Henry and Julia's grandchildren. These have since been distributed to their children, and reside in filing cabinets and on bookshelves across the country.

In 1992, my father typed and printed her 1918 diary, which he had inherited. This turned out to be quite a success. The book circulated far outside the few printings he'd made through a sort of samizdat network of photocopies. I remember meeting one man who told me he'd found out through the diary that the date on his grandmother's tombstone was wrong, since Julia mentioned hearing of her death on one date, and her tombstone was dated later. Another quite frail woman told me about the comfort she took from reading what a 72-year-old woman was able to do in a day.

Since then he's been given or been loaned a few other diaries (1918, 1919, 1921, 1927, 1928, and 1932). I got interested in the project, and have developed software that allows us to transcribe, annotate, and share the diaries via the web. A few other relatives have joined the project, and we've completed most of the 1919 and 1921 diaries, as well as locating and scanning the 1920 and 1922 diaries. The next step is enhancing the software to allow printed and bound copies of the diaries to be made, a feature I hope to complete before the end of the year.

The most difficult part of this project is locating other diaries. If you possess or know of diaries of Julia Craddock Brumfield, please contact me via email, or comment on this post.

No comments: