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Genealogy and Family History

How to Begin

Organizing Information

Preserving Artifacts

Storing your family's valuable original documents, photographs and memorabilia is an important part of preserving your family history. Many books have been written about proper methods and there are too many to present here, but you do need to think about some basics.

Paper: Paper can last as little as 3 or 4 years, or 500 years. This depends on the materials from which the paper was made and how acid those materials are. Newsprint is notoriously acid in content: everyone is familiar with newsprint "burning up" and turning yellow with age.

Photographs: Early black-and-white photos will last longer than the more modern colour photos, which have a propensity to change colour over time. Many genealogists now take digital photographs of their family photographs and store the digital images on their computers, which they back up, of course.

Artifacts: Many families have games, toys, dolls, paintings and other memorabilia that they wish to preserve and store safely. For preserving these objects, you can ask experts at museums and galleries for advice. Many institutions offer basic advice free of charge.

The Preserving My Heritage [] website of the Canadian Conservation Institute answers many questions about preserving your family's treasures.