Over the course of her lifetime, Dottie Kessler researched and collected a large volume of information about Fincastle history and culture.

When her family carried out her request that her historic archives be given to Historic Fincastle Inc. (HFI), it was with the understanding that HFI preserve, archive, display and distribute her notes, writings and photographs in a manner that honors her love for her town and county.

After conferring with other history organizations, the HFI Archives Committee purchased an outstanding piece of museum software, PastPerfect, to catalogue the collection for use online.

The process of making the collection ready to be shared online is straightforward, but time consuming. Each piece of paper, each photograph or map in the Kessler collection is read, its contents summarized, and its suitability for inclusion in the database determined. Only then is the item ready to be cataloged and scanned into PastPerfect.

The first major upload of the Kessler Collection is now online. It can be browsed or searched at hisfin.pastperfectonline.com (no www at the beginning).

Keyword search searches the entire database for the criteria that is entered.

The Advanced search functionality can be used to narrow a search to a specific field.

The database can also be enjoyed by browsing the collection using the Random Images feature.

The first page at hisfin.pastperfectonline.com gives more information for using these searches.

The Archives Committee continues to process Dottie Kessler’s documents and has begun cataloging a second collection, the Joe Anna Adamson Bolton Collection. Check the database regularly for new items.

HFI continues to accept items of historic or cultural interest specifically relating to Fincastle. “Historic Fincastle Inc. Historical Document Collection:  1700’s – Present” is an ideal way for these items to be displayed and shared. The database is like a mosaic of Fincastle history, and additions to the picture are encouraged.

The goal of the HFI Archives Committee is the continued growth of the online archive, maintaining it as a site where researchers can find resources, and people who simply love Fincastle can gain a greater understanding of its history and culture.