Preserving your family history records

Photographs
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 number.

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.

Research notes
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 sheet.
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