The destruction of records by fire and other disasters ranks among the genealogist’s worst enemies. These are some of the most famous ones, but there were undoubtedly many others:
- The nitrate film vault fire of 1978
- The National Personnel Records Center Fire of 1973
- The Commerce Department Fire of 1921
- The New York Capitol Fire of 1911
- The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906
- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the nearby Peshtigo Fire of Wisconsin and Michigan of 1871
- Records lost in the South during the Civil War
- Courthouse fires too numerous to mention
- The Patent Office Fire of 1836
- The burning of Washington, DC, on August 24, 1814
- The War Department Fire of 1800; fortunately, the lost records are being reconstructed from other sources
- Personal papers and photographs lost by families due to house fires, floods, etc.
Sometimes, you have to think that we are lucky that records have survived at all.