Category Archives: Preservation Tips

Preservation Tips and Resources for Genealogists

Do you have precious family photographs, documents and objects that you want to preserve for future generations?

From what source are you obtaining your supplies if you have already begun the preservation process?

If you haven’t yet started, but preservation is on your to-do list, what methods will you use to make sure those items continue to exist in the future?

I have to admit that I worry when I hear someone say:

“Oh, I have lots of old photographs to pass on and I’ve already put them in safe albums that I bought at ??????? neighborhood store. The package said the supplies are archival quality.”

Did you know that in the United States there is no government regulation on the use of the word archival?

That means that any business can sell any product and legally claim that it meets archival quality standards – without the statement being true!

Many years ago, I began using true archival quality albums, pages, page protectors, photo hinges, tape and glue to store my collection of old family photographs.

Back then – in the 1980s – there were no local stores advertising archival products, so I checked with libraries to find out where they obtained their archival supplies.

Two companies were mentioned that are still thriving today:

University Products, 517 Main Street, Holyoke, MA 01040, 800.628.1912

Gaylord Archival, PO Box 4901, Syracuse, NY 13221,

Archival supplies from these companies are not inexpensive. However, when the Library of Congress, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and world class museums all use their products, that is a testament to quality supplies.

If you are the caretaker of  irreplaceable family heirlooms that may or may not have dollar value, but which are priceless to your family, wouldn’t you want to be sure the preservation materials they are stored in are doing the job?

I do, which is why I only use materials purchased from these companies. I would never use any products from neighborhood stores for items that I want to preserve well past my lifetime.

Both University Products and Gaylord Archival have websites detailing the thousands of archival supplies that they carry. Whether you need photo albums, flag holders, standing or flat boxes with odd sizes, you will find an amazing array of choices available.

Do you have specific questions about why or how to preserve family mementos?

Here are ways to learn more about preservation techniques:

National Archives: How to Preserve Family Archives (Papers and Photographs)

Library of Congress – General Preservation FAQ Sheet

NEDDC: Session 1: Introduction to Preservation

If you like seeing and hearing how to do it – YouTube:

Tips for Archival Preservation

How to Preserve and Archive Digital Photos, Videos, and Documents

Preservation for Archivists – Not just for archivists!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a subscription site, but a one month membership is less than $10 and provides access to ALL webinars and handouts.

Melissa Barker, Houston County, Tennessee archivist presented two sessions:
The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records Like a Pro! AND
Preserving Old Family Letters: Tips from an Archivist

Thomas MacEntee presented:
You Can Do This: Photo Organizing and Preservation

As my generation’s caretaker of the family heirlooms, I want to be certain that every single item passes on to the next generation in the best condition possible.

That means using museum-quality archival products!