Organising Your Research | Taking Care of Original Documents
Video: Lochie Daddo and Caroline Whitley (The Australian National Maritime Museum’s Paper & Photographic Materials Conservator) offer professional tips of the trade in the preservation of your most important memories – your family photo album. Filmed on location in the small object store at the National Maritime Museum on Sydney Harbour.
Keep the originals of any old family documents, certificates, letters, diaries, photographs, etc., separate from your research notes. If possible store the originals in acid-free storage files or archive boxes to preserve them and make a copy to keep with your research notes.
One of the best ways to preserve family history papers is to create digital copies of them. Digitising documents provides a great backup plan in case of fire, floods, or other damage, and it allows you to handle the documents without damaging them. It also allows you to share them easily, either by email or by attaching them to your genealogy software or online family tree.
You should always keep your originals after you have digitised them, not only for posterity but also because digital files can also degrade. Whether digitizing your family papers yourself or having a company do it, it is important that the originals be handled carefully so they are not damaged in the process.