How to Preserve Your Family Memories, Letters and Trinkets… and How Not To

Quoting from an article written by Kelsey Mckinney in the New York Times:

Recently, someone wrote to Mary Oey, a conservator at the Library of Congress, asking for help archiving her father’s personal papers. He was a Holocaust survivor, and he had used his diaries and papers as primary sources to teach schoolchildren about his experience. He had laminated them to keep them safe, and — Ms. Oey gave a mournful sigh as she told this story — lamination is a terrible way to preserve documents. There was no way to save this patron’s history.

“The only way to extricate paper from lamination is to use lots of solvents to dissolve the plastic,” Ms. Oey said. “Some stiffer laminations, we don’t know how to get off, and it doesn’t protect the document. The lamination itself can ruin a document beyond repair.”

The article then goes on at some length about the proper and the improper ways to preserve family valuables, including papers, love letters, photographs, furniture, wedding dresses, record collections, and more. This should be required reading for all genealogists! The author also mentions the preservation efforts of Denise Levenick, a well-known genealogy blogger.

You can read How to Preserve Your Family Memories, Letters and Trinkets at:

My thanks to newsletter reader Jim Henderson for telling me about this story.

One Comment

Why not just copy the document? Then u would have a copy that you could properly preserve – it’s not the original, but at least if that original degrades, he would have the copy… Just a thought.


Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: