Historical records are unfiltered for derogatory terms and painful events, so just be aware. Sometimes there will be words used in legacy (meaning old) finding aids that you’ll be uncomfortable with. While we can fix finding aids, we cannot fix history. Take breaks if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
A finding aid describes a collection of archival records, personal papers, or manuscripts. It is a tool to help researchers determine if the materials in a collection relate to their research, find where materials are located, and understand and interpret the materials they are using. All of the WVRHC's online finding aids include a brief summary (abstract) of the collections they describe, and some include more detailed descriptions and inventories.
Each finding aid contains information on:
Some finding aids also include information on:
The diagram above gives you a short list of things to pay attention to when you're looking through finding aids. These sections can help you find materials that are useful for your research, weed out ones that aren't, and help you plan your time when visiting the archives.