My old friend Earl Johnson wrote that he had " been asked to help develop a records management program for a nonprofit (a small church)...."

 This struck a note with me as one of my volunteer jobs is to serve as the State Marker Chair for our county historical commission. Every year we get multiple applications for Texas State Historical Markers from congregations founded in the distant past--often a century or more ago. 

In support of the application the sponsors must submit a narrative history citing primary and secondary sources. All too often the applicants have not retained its early records and rely on oral tradition and church histories written 50 or so years previously. And, all too often other records (the census, deed records, and city directories) contradict those memories. In the end the narrative may be adequate, but often fails to do justice to those who preceded the present members.

So Earl, and everyone else who undertakes such a task, please retain the documents that document the activities of the church--the bulletins, minutes of the presiding board, membership lists, reports of committees.  Future researchers will thank you.

Paul R. Scott, CA, CRM
Records Management Officer
Harris County, TX
713 274-7740

Under the Texas Public Information Act written communications to or from public employees may be considered to be public records and may be made available to the public and the media upon request.  This e-mail and any replies may be subject to public disclosure.

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