There are family documents that are only historical to you and yours; and there are also documents that would be of historical significance to a greater audience.  If they are on paper, there are ways in which you can preserve them for generations to come.  Paper itself is fragile.  Over time, the integrity of the paper weakens, leaving it susceptible to crumbling and staining.  Have you ever found a document written back in the early 1900’s and saw that it was falling apart?

There are several things you can do before handling these precious documents:

  • Always wash your hands before handling documents
    • You should use gloves when handling negatives to avoid transferring any oils to the item
  • Store your documents in a cool, dry place
    • Lower temperatures slow the rate of chemical decay, and drier spaces prevent mold or mildew from forming
  • Store your documents in acid-free materials (like folders) or a sleeve designed for archival materials. I use items from a company called Archival Methods located out east
  • Keep the documents flat
  • Then, have them digitized for peace of mind.

Keeping those documents safe is the goal in protecting them.  You can upload your digitized copies to an online company, like who will keep your items safe and secure.

I hope you have found this helpful in preserving your family historical documents!


Sue Thornton

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