Since the founding of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) volunteers worldwide have been clipping obituary notices form their local newspapers and other publications and submitting them to their chapters or to headquarters. Arthur and Cleora Flegel had the foresight to organize this large and growing collection and put these obits on 5x8 card stock.
Arthur & Cleora Flegel
This was done in their home in Menlo Park, CA with the help of many volunteers and some hired help. When the collection began to impose on Cleora's kitchen space, it was decided that all the cards would be copied in duplicate and one copy would be sent to the Central California Chapter library in Fresno, CA and the other to AHSGR headquarters in Lincoln, NE. Arthur envisioned that both files would be updated and would remain identical, but this did not happen. Central CA, due to space limitations in their library opted to update only California obits while Lincoln updated all, including the California obits.
These files have grown over the thirty odd years of their existence and are a valuable source for genealogy researchers who live in close proximity to either site. These cards are also made available to the membership at the annual AHSGR International conventions, where, unfortunately some of the cards accidentally disappear each year into purses and/or briefcases.
A typical obituary card, one of 342,000 scanned.
At both sites, these invaluable collections are subject to damage or destruction by flooding, fire and other conditions. Emerging computer technology has made it possible for these records to be preserved in digital format on CD Roms and stored in backup locations. They are now safe from the elements!!
AHSGR chapters have been saving obituaries in various ways. The Northern Colorado Chapter (NCC) had dedicated volunteers who, over the decades, religiously clipped and pasted obits and articles from regional newspapers into scrapbooks which are located in the old Windsor, Co. city hall, which is now a part of the museum complex.
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