Some background:

For those who don't know, a "finding aid" is a book, document, or other device, created by a researcher, archivist, or librarian to assist in their ability to find information within an existing collection. Sometimes these finding aids are called a finding inventory, inventory, or preliminary inventory (PI) for short. These aids vastly speed up the research process and are usually a requirement to deep archival research. In many cases at the National Archives, when records are not searchable, a preliminary inventory becomes a requirement for research to occur. ​Creating finding aids or preliminary inventories is well within my capability. Here is just one recent example-


  • Whitman County Genealogical Society
  • Whitman County Historical Society

What the clients needed:

The Whitman County Historical Society (WCHS) and Whitman County Genealogical Society (WCGS) both of Washington State expressed a need for a map finding aid for their existing 1934 and 1942 plat books. The purpose of these new finding aids was to make daily use of the plat maps more functional for the archivists. The original plat books were an unwieldy eighteen by fourteen inches in size and each use degraded these unique historical documents.

Therefore, WCHS and WCGS decided to digitize the existing plat maps and produce a limited set of archival copies for working in the Whitman County historical and genealogical archives. In order to make up a complete set of plat maps, we had to work with the Whitman County Library System to fill the gaps. Simultaneously, a volunteer created a complete name index of both sets of plat maps. For simplicity, this name index matched in color and size to the new map finding aids. Archival staff reduced the time required to find a landowner when using the name index along with the map finding aid.

My role:

In order to create the two finding aids, I photographed the original documents in my custom over-sized camera stand. Using the oversize photographic stand with high contrast produced solid results. I then bound the collections based on the client's specifications.

The customer's feedback:

You know I really appreciate your work!!!”

Judy Standar McMurray

Date completed:  August 25, 2015

  • ​If you need help with a project like this feel free to email me at or call me at 800 304-4820

Sample:  Actual page from finding aid