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How to Keep Old Documents Safe

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Old documents can be a valuable source of family history information. In addition to formal documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, you may have old letters or other papers written by people from your family tree. Some of these could be relatively recent. You might have some old love letters or other documents from your own past that you would like to keep safe, or some notes your grandparents wrote for you about their childhood memories.

Other family documents could be much older. You might have inherited some old family papers that need to be sorted and preserved properly, and these could be more than a hundred years old. Keeping them safe will require a delicate touch and careful storage. Place each document inside a protective folder or envelope. Make sure that you choose acid and lignin free paper and polyester plastics, as these are safe for paper. The storage material should be large enough to protect all the edges of the document, and stiff enough to support it so that your papers don’t get bent about when you pick them up. Once you have organized your papers, the best place to put them is in a waterproof, fireproof box or safe, which you can store in a safe, dry place that will remain at a cool room temperature throughout the year.

Photocopying, photographing or transcribing the important information in these documents can also be a good idea. Not only will this ensure that you have a copy of your family documents if the worst happens and the originals are damaged, but it will also ensure that you have a less fragile piece of paper to hand over to interested relatives. You can easily make people their own copies of scanned or transcribed documents, or keep one alongside the original that people can handle and read. You can also store digital copies of your important documents online and keep paper duplicates in a safe deposit box, or hand them over to family members to store in their own homes. This means that the content will still be preserved, even if the originals are damaged by a disaster in your own home. Learn the tips and “how-to” take care of them with a free 205 page book you can download. CLICK HERE

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