Ancestry Records – Top Tips on How to Store Your Ancestry Records

Ancestry records are precious documents, and if you’re serious about preserving your past, you’ll want to have an effective system of organizing and storing them. Old photographs, original BDM (Birth, Death or Marriage) certificates and such may have unique storage needs. Even storing data on CD needs to be considered, as they can deteriorate over time, losing valuable data or images in the process. In this article we’ll consider several options for storing your family tree reports, photographs and all your other ancestry records.

Solutions for Storing Certificate Type Ancestry Records

BDM certificates can be hard to find when searching ancestors, so it’s important that when you do unearth them, you store them in a manner that will preserve them for as long as possible. The first thing you’ll want to invest in is a good quality binder for storing documents. Keep in mind that BDM certificates can come in awkward sizes, so purchase a binder that can hold even the biggest ones. A specialized certificate binder with dimensions of 171/2" X 103/3" (44.5cm X 27cm approx.) is best for storing these types of ancestry records. This is a specialized genealogical size and can be found at genealogy supply stores – both online and off. You may also want to invest in plastic pockets for these ancestry records, which are clear sleeves which fit into the binder that allow you to access your certificates without having to remove them from the binder.

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Solutions for Storing Photograph Type Ancestry Records

There are two major facets of storing old photographs – (a) - how best to store the originals, and (b) – how best to pass them on to relatives. From an archiving point of view it is critical that you store them in a manner that will prolong their life as much as possible. One thing that you want to avoid is laminating them or sticking them down with any type of plastic covering, as this can damage these delicate ancestry records in the short term.

A padded PVC folder is a great option for storing old photos; you can even get a matching certificate binder to go with it. They have a variety of transparent polypropylene pages, usually of A4 size (the same size as standard printer paper), and can contain anywhere from 20 – 120 pages. Another option which is a little fancier is to get a Library Style Album. These add a touch of class to your family tree reports; they are usually finished in black and gold embossed which makes them look like a classic Dickens-era volume when stored on a shelf.

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Use Acid – Free Paper when Storing Ancestry Records

It’s fine getting all of these storage devices to keep your ancestry records safe, but if they are copied onto low-grade paper, they will still deteriorate over time.

Acid – free paper is the way to avoid this, much of it is guaranteed to last up to 200 years. Though it’s a little more pricy that standard printer or copier paper (around $10 for a pack of 100), it will preserve your diy genealogy report well into the future. Other acid free products you can purchase are:

  • Acid - Free Envelopes (for storing micro fiche)
  • Pens with Acid - Free Ink
  • Acid – Free Glue
  • Acid – Free Photo Tape (for repairing old photos and certificates)
  • Acid – Free Storage Boxes

Investing in these storage options is a must for anyone serious about preserving their ancestry records. Using such items will ensure that your family history can be passed on from generation to generation while maintaining its quality. Treat your ancestry records as treasures, and give them the care that they need – after all, they are family!

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