Preserving your family history records
Ideally photographs should be stored in special albums that
will not cause them to deteriorate. If you are fortunate
enough to have a 19th century album in your possession it
may be appropriate to leave the photographs in their sleeves.
They have lasted all this time intact and should continue
to do so. If you have precious photographs stored in modern
albums under self-sticking plastic - remove them at once.
Likewise photos in plastic-sleeve albums purchased from
the supermarket should be removed! Purchase an archival
photo album. It may be a little more expensive but well
worth the investment!
While recording your photographs take the opportunity to
label them on the back. Use a very soft pencil for older
cardboard backed photographs. Use a special pen for modern
photos or attach an acid-free sticker. On the back of each
photo record the known details - do not make any guesses
- an error could be perpetuated for ever! Record: names,
place and date of photograph. Number your photographs for
a photo index and enter the details in the notes sections
of your family charts for quick reference. Cross reference
them to the persons in the pedigree index by using the same
Documents and papers
Documents and papers should be treated like photographs
and stored carefully and preferably flat. Start by purchasing
an A4 and A3 binder for these records. Most material will
fit in the A4 finder but a number of older records will
require an A3 binder. Make sure the binders haveat least
three rings and preferably four to hold the material firmly.
Purchase a range of good quality archival sheet protectors.
Include a few A5 and A3 sizes for the smaller and larger
documents. Carefully number them in a consistent place in
soft pencil and record again on the family sheets.
Many people forget about their research notes which represent
all their hard work. These form the backbone of all that
hard work and should not be undervalued. To have a good
index of this material will prove invaluable if you ever
have to go back over material to find something you might
have overlooked. The traditional way of keeping track of
your general research was by using slips usually in the
form of 150mm x 100mm catalogue cards which can be kept
in some order. I favour using an A4 pad or simple exercise
books set up as a research logs by ruling columns headed;
date, research, location, record, search range, and result/comment
with one page dedicated to each ancestor and again, file
the material in your binder behind the appropriate family