Preserving Family Documents

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Preserving Family Documents

exerpts from an article by Linda L. Beyea

From the Winter 1996 Issue, Brobst Genealogy News

Family documents (birth and marriage certificates, old letters, newspaper clippings, diplomas, etc) deserve to be cared for and preserved.

Paper documents require special treatment in order to ensure a long life. Below is a list of suggestions to prevent damage and decay of treasured documents:

Separate documents between sheets of acid-free paper.

  • Store documents away from sunlight
  • Never store documents in attic or basement - humidity and dry air can destroy them. A closet in a bedroom is a much safer location.
  • Remove paper clips and staples – they will rust over time.
  • Do not use tape or other standard adhesives – use specially formulated acid-free adhesives if necessary.
  • Unfold and store documents flat.

Other Ideas:

  • Copy documents onto acid-free paper - so if the original cannot be preserved you still have a copy.
  • Organize and inventory your collection to reduce wear and tear when you are looking for something.
  • Avoid writing on documents – if you must use only a number 2 pencil.

The Maryland State Archives has developed a kit specifically for preserving individual collections. This Paper Preservation Kit enables anyone to care for their family documents as described above. For a free brochure and information on other books and materials, write or call:

MY TIME, P.O. Box 8247, Warwick, RI 02888

(401) 941-1073.

This page was last updated on Monday, 21-Feb-2011 18:18:54 MST
Copyright© 1998-2011 by The National Brobst Family Historical Registry