Roots and Recall was started shortly before my granddaughter, Frances Wylie was born, so it is easy for me to remember the sequence of events surrounding the development, as well as the many ups and downs of the website. For newer members, you may not realize, R&R has been redesigned several times and new features added to continuously improve the product. The first website design was so simple and inexpensive that some knowledgeable designers quietly laughed. Yet one S.C. museum organization, after seeing the product, knowing it was both trademarked and patented, copied its features to create something very similar. Recently, a Charleston, S.C. museum executive pointed out this action and questioned why R&R hadn’t shut their website down. Simply put, we accepted this imitation as a compliment and simply moved on without making a fuss.
When R&R started, Facebook didn’t have but a couple of local history pages. Now every community history organization has a Facebook page, on which they post updates and history. The one that is certainly managed most efficiently and professionally is Charleston Before 1945. What a great one! These sites are all enjoyable but non offer the in-depth histories, images, collective “crowd sourcing” and shared platform as does Roots and Recall. They simply provide a quick glimpse at local history with little interpretation or historic insights. Furthermore, none offer a weekly blog post and none are searchable or linkable as is Roots and Recall. So to date, Roots and Recall remains the statewide preservation website, expandable and unique.
Since our early start, R&R has under-gone numerous changes but the culture of collecting data via our shared interest in preservation, through crowd sourcing, has worked extremely well. Having gone from a couple of hundred pages in 2012, to featuring over 33,000 pages currently has been a windfall for preservation efforts. And the number of professional historians, preservationist, and photographers who have shared countless images has been amazing, an undocumented number perhaps of 1,000 or more. Without naming them, four individuals alone have contributed some 40,000+- old and contemporary images. Another statewide preservationist, has also offered to share his collection of some 10,000 images of very special places. And in early December 2018, volunteers are planning a trip to a private home in N.C., to digitize hundreds more from old family albums. These images not only offer insights into what is being saved but unfortunately what has been razed due to progress or destroyed through neglect.
One of R&R newest contributors is a paramedic, taking fantastic images in the Lexington County, S.C. area and sharing these with the website for preservation. Take a look at one of his contributions: The Henry Smith House and enjoy a piece of architectural note that may have been lost without his interest in history and photography – an ideal contributor and preservationist, who is making a difference!
As we have previously stated numerous times, you too may also have a shoe box or trunk full of history at your home. It impacts not only your immediate family but perhaps thousands more individuals whom you have never met. Roots and Recall has developed a culture of fostering preservation, sharing, and interpreting historic materials which are not necessarily destined for the Caroliniana Library Collections but remain extremely valuable. Fostering an atmosphere of freely preserving local history, rather than hoarding data, has been one of Roots and Recall’s most important functions!
R&R Note: Thank you for allowing Roots and Recall to be used as a forum for preservation, a community resource and for trusting us with digitally sharing your community’s heritage. Our passion for preservation is rekindled as new materials arrive and we sincerely hope in turn that we do the same for our family of members.