Do I Include the Red Saks 5th Avenue Box in the Citation?

Note: The 4th edition of Evidence Explained has just been released by Genealogical Publishing Company. We’ll be featuring it in several blog posts over the coming months.

The Saks Fifth Avenue Box

Documenting items in private collections (often housed in just a spare room of someone’s home) is one of the things covered in Evidence Explained. This example illustrating this post was used in an earlier edition of
Evidence Explained. At the time the citation was created, the school register was in my Mother’s possession.

The register was found in a red Saks Fifth Avenue box in my great-grandmother’s home after she passed in 1986. Fortunately the register and the red box were rescued before they met an unfortunate demise. It’s still in the red Saks Fifth Avenue box, but it’s no longer in my parents’ home and has now passed to my possession. There’s a reason why citations such as these include the date: things change. The citation in the illustration needs to be altered to say:

“School Register, 1898-1911,” page 3; Union Grade School, Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois; privately held 2024, by Michael John Neill, [address for private use,] Galesburg, Illinois, who inherited it from his mother Connie (Ufkes) Neill, who inherited it from her grandmother Trientje Ufkes of Carthage.

I’m not precisely certain how my great-grandmother came to acquire the register. Her husband, Frederich Ufkes, attended the school at the turn of the 20th century and his children would attend it when they were grade-school age. The one room school is no longer standing. Frederich Ufkes, according to family tradition, was on the board of the school when he was an adult. It is surmised by this writer that through his membership on the school board he came to acquire the register.

I chose not to include any speculation about the provenance in the citation to this item. The red Saks Fifth Avenue box is also not mentioned. It’s not archivally safe and on my list of things to replace in order to store items in an archivally safe way.

The bigger question (at least for me): Where did my great-grandmother Ufkes get a Fifth Saks Avenue box? Luxury department stores were decidedly not her “thing.”

Note: The illustration from Evidence Explained was used with permission of the author and publisher.

Genealogical Publishing Company has announced the release of the new 4th edition of Evidence Explained. Check it out on their website. 


One thought on “Do I Include the Red Saks 5th Avenue Box in the Citation?

  1. As someone who has similar boxes from now defunct department stores, I am sure someone received a gift in the box. Those boxes were heavy duty and lovely, so it wasn’t thrown out. We repurpose such boxes every Christmas. Not a bad idea until you properly archive it!

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