People create potential archives all the time during the course of their business and personal lives. An archive can range from a single document to thousands of records.
Documents such as letters, diaries, photographs and accounts become personal archives when they are no longer needed during the course of your everyday life or work, yet you choose to keep them to refer back to at a later date. In addition to your own records, you may also have inherited similar material from older generations.
Personal archives are often kept due to their significance to an individual or a family – for example, to remind them of an event or an achievement. However, some personal archives are of interest in a wider historical context as they offer an opinion or give a description of an historical event as it took place. This enhances our understanding of history and helps to shape our community memory. For example, the diaries of servicemen who served during the two World Wars are of great personal importance to their families, but also provide invaluable insights into the lives of the men who took part in those terrible conflicts for an historical researcher.
If you believe your documents are of historical significance or deserve a wider audience, read depositing your records with PRONI. This section contains information on the types of documents the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is interested in, what documents we do not usually accept and how to go about depositing your records with PRONI.
Most of you will own or look after historical records of some description (either as individuals, community groups, local or family societies etc.). In this section you will also find useful information on how best to look after your records in order to preserve them for the future, and how to create and maintain a community archive.