Jennifer recently wrote in with a question about how to archive family history documents, and I knew just who to turn to: The Archive Lady! Melissa Barker is joining the Genealogy Gems Podcast and blog to help answer your questions about your precious possessions.
Let’s get right to Jennifer’s question:
I recently received my grandfather’s birth certificate from my cousin. My family knows that I am researching our family tree and are not surprised when I ask them for information or to take a picture of family gatherings and send it to me. Most of my mother’s side of the family live in Wisconsin and I am in New Hampshire, so I don’t get to visit with them often.
The birth certificate is very old and fragile and I’m wondering how do I store it so it will be around for future generations.
Thank you for any ideas.
It’s fabulous to find genealogical documents online, but there’s nothing like touching and possessing the original. I reached out to our Archive Lady here at Genealogy Gems, Melissa Barker, and here’s what she has to say about archiving family history documents:
(Full disclosure: the links below are affiliate links that will take you to the products Melissa’s recommends in Amazon. While there’s no additional cost to you, we will be compensated for the referral. Thank you for helping us keep this blog and the Genealogy Gems Podcast free!)
“Jennifer, what a wonderful treasure to receive, your grandfather’s birth certificate. Preserving original records such as birth certificates is so very important for future generations.
First, I would suggest that you scan the certificate or take a photograph of it so that it is preserved digitally. Then the certificate needs to be encapsulated in an archival sleeve. Usually these sleeves are made from Mylar, Polypropylene or Polyester and can be bought at any online archival store. These sleeves can be top loading or they can be open on two sides, which are called L-sleeves. Place the certificate in the sleeve for the first layer of protection.Then I suggest that you place the encapsulated certificate in an archival file folder and place in an archival Hollinger box. This will give you 3-layers of archival protection for your certificate.
Store all documents and photographs in a cool, dark and dry place.
Following these easy steps will ensure that your grandfather’s birth certificate will be enjoyed for generations to come!”
Thank you to Melissa for helping Jennifer and all our readers understand how to archive family history documents in proper way.
More Resources for How to Archive Your Family History
The Library of Congress has a FREE video about how to create and properly preserve digital or print archival scrapbooks.
It’s a 72-minute video by various experts with a downloadable transcript on these topics:
- Basic preservation measures one can do at home for long-lasting albums and scrapbooks
- Pros and cons of dismantling old scrapbooks and albums in poor condition
- How to address condition problems
- Preservation considerations for digital scrapbooks and albums
- How to participate in the Library’s Veterans History Project.
And here on the Genealogy Gems blog we have an article for you about understanding the impact that humidity can have you on your family history collection. Click here to read Humidity and Your Family Archive: Why It Matters.