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Family History Preservation and Conservation

Family History Preservation and Conservation

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Family History Preservation and Conservation

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  1. Family History Preservation and Conservation by: Shirley-Ann Pyefinch email: website:

  2. Family History Preservation and Conservation Presentation Outline: • What is preservation and conservation? • Why preserve your family history? • What is your family history? • Where can you find your family history? • Who wants to know about your family history? • How to preserve your family history? 21 August 2010

  3. What is preservationand conservation? “All actions aimed at the safeguarding of cultural property for the future. The purpose of conservation is to study, record, retain and restore the culturally significant qualities of the object with the least possible intervention.” 21 August 2010

  4. What is the preservation and conservation of your family history? All actions aimed at safeguarding your family history objects for the future. 21 August 2010

  5. Why preserve your family history? 1. If you don’t, who will do it? 21 August 2010

  6. Why preserve your family history? 2. The family forms the basic unit of society. Therefore, family histories form an important reflection of our country, culture and society. In the practice of records management we are taught that we keep records to preserve the collective memory, “human records give record of life.” 21 August 2010

  7. Why preserve your family history? 3. Develops bonds between generations. 4. Some individuals require molecular genealogies of their ancestors to know if they may be a carrier of a genetic disorder or have a genetic disorder. 21 August 2010

  8. What is your family history? Is it an old textile or fragile china belonging to an ancestor? Grandma’s secret recipe for tea biscuits? Music and dances passed from generation to generation? A dying language taught from parent to child? A picture? A journal? Audio and visual sound recordings? Paper documents and books? 21 August 2010

  9. What is your family history? • Genealogy is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: “A line of descent traced from an ancestor, the study of lines of descent.” • Family history is more encompassing and can include tangible and intangible items. 21 August 2010

  10. Where can you find your family history? All around you in your home and in the homes of your extended families. Your family members. 21 August 2010

  11. Example of a Common Family Prayer Book Containing Family History Information 21 August 2010

  12. Where can you find your family history? • In repositories such as libraries, city, provincial and federal archives. • In courthouse records. • The internet. 21 August 2010

  13. Where can you find your family history? • Historical and genealogical societies. • Church records and cemeteries. 21 August 2010

  14. Where can you find your family history? • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Centres and Library. • There are over 4,500 Family History Centers worldwide operating in over 100 countries. • Family History Centers are staffed by helpful volunteers. 21 August 2010

  15. Where can you find yourfamily history? Family History Library was first established in 1894 to assist members of the church with their family history and genealogical research. 21 August 2010

  16. Where can you find yourfamily history? • The great resources of the Libraries’ collection are found in the Granite Mountain Record Vault or also known as the GMRV. • The GMRV contains over 6.4 million worldwide microfilmed records which can form an important resource for your family history research. 21 August 2010

  17. Who wants to know about your family history? • In May 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley launched the familysearch internet service. 21 August 2010

  18. How to preserve yourfamily history? Document and research your family history. Use the 5 step process. 21 August 2010

  19. How to preserve yourfamily history? Use the best quality of products that you can afford to buy. Quality of products either lengthen or shorten the lifespan of the item. Use the services of a conservator to professionally care for your objects when necessary. 21 August 2010

  20. Professional Services of a Conservator An example of before and after photos of treatment for a book by Kyla Ubbink. 21 August 2010

  21. Preserving Paper Documents Choosing the best paper: Paper comes in different weights; decide the right paper for the right job. Contains less than 0.7% lignin and at least 2% calcium carbonate. Cold pH extract from 7.5 to 10 and be acid free. Made of cotton, linen or fully bleached chemical fibre and virgin or recycled fibres. Meet strength requirements for tear strength, tensile and fold endurance. There are two strength grades: Grade 1 and Grade 2(high referral papers). Perform well under age testing and meet requirements for opacity and brightness. 21 August 2010

  22. Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Documents • Wash and dry your hands before handling paper because oil and debris can permanently stain paper. • Use white cotton gloves when handling documents. • Use larger horizontal supports for fragile paper documents especially if moving the document. • Careless handling can cause tears, folds, creases and abrasions to the paper. • Store in a dark place, exposure to florescent light and sunlight can promote chemical degradation and cause the ink to fade. • Fragile or damaged papers should be stored horizontally. 21 August 2010

  23. Understanding the Stability of Photo Copied Paper Documents: • Use permanent copy paper • Meets established standards set by ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials). The most permanent paper is coded: “LE-1000”(or Type 1) and is expected to last several hundred years. • Toner must also be considered. • The best toners are composed of carbon black pigment and a stable resin. 21 August 2010

  24. Understanding the Stability of Photo Copied Paper Documents: • Avoid toners with iron oxides or also known as ferrite because iron oxides are unstable in dampness. • Avoid coloured toners because coloured toners have light and heat fastness problems. • Avoid stacking photocopies, especially at high temperatures because the papers may stick together from heat and pressure. 21 August 2010

  25. Understanding the Stability of Photo Copied Paper Documents: • Avoid placing photocopies in direct contact with PVC and similar plastics because migrating plasticizers can make the toner sticky and capable of transferring to adjacent surfaces. Polyester film is safer. • Polypropylene or Mylar are often used to store paper documents safely in an archival setting. 21 August 2010

  26. Paper Documents For Computer Printing; Laser Versus Ink Jet on Paper: • Laser is a more stable medium than inkjet. Therefore, a better choice for long term storage of your data. • Inkjet on papers are unstable if exposed to water the ink will bleed. 21 August 2010

  27. Containers for Storage Containers should be used: • To protect paper from dust and light exposure. • Not be overcrowded, spacers used to support vertically stored papers so they do not slump. • Should be acid free. Ideal storage containers are acid free cardboard boxes, polyethylene and polypropylene. • Moderate temperature and low humidity discourages pests and mould growth. • Never store your family history objects or documents in the basement, garage or attic. Temperature and humidity needs to be stable in order to preserve objects and documents. 21 August 2010

  28. Electronic Records Update and back-up your files regularly. Have multiple back-up copies, several stored on site in a variety of locations and several off site. Review your archived electronic records every 2 years (maximum). Have a migration strategy for your data as you upgrade your hardware and software applications in order to avoid information loss. 21 August 2010

  29. Have a Disaster Plan for Your Family History Develop your own disaster plan. Identify and store essential records. Storage off-site? Accessibility? Divide and assign responsibilities to various family members. 21 August 2010

  30. Understanding and Caring of Photographic Materials Care of Negatives: Negatives are sensitive to light, temperature, humidity, pollution, mishandling and poor processing. Colour negatives are subject to fading more than black and white negatives. Old film negatives that are acetate based may develop a vinegar-like smell, which indicates a chemical reaction has taken place. Nitrate films may have deteriorated, the film softened and the image faded. The gases released from Nitrate film are toxic and storing large quantities of this type of film can be a health risk and a fire hazard. 21 August 2010

  31. Care of Negatives • Negatives may need to be repackaged in safe acid-free materials for storage. Label the package before placing the negative inside. • Mylar is great for storing negatives. • Handle with cotton gloves picking up by the edges. • Never fold or leave unprotected. • Clean negatives with a soft brush, dry ethyl alcohol, anymore than that should be left to professional conservator. 21 August 2010

  32. Care of Negatives Avoid : • High humidity. • UV rays (cause gelatine layer to become brittle). • Storing negatives in attics, basements and garages. Cold storage is fine and will help prevent decay. 21 August 2010

  33. Care of Photographs • Prints are sensitive to the same causes of damages as negatives, but also can be damaged by framing materials. • Very dry conditions cause the prints to curl and too much humidity cause mould and mildew to form. • Direct exposure to UV rays will fade colour photographs quickly; black and white photographs are not as sensitive to fading. 21 August 2010

  34. Care of Photographs Improper framing can cause: • Damage to prints if products containing acids and lignin are used against the print. • Masking tape and scotch tape can discolour and stain prints. • Un-matted photos can stick to the glass and get permanently damaged. • Prints need to be framed and matted to museum standards using safe products. 21 August 2010

  35. Care of Photographs • Prints are best stored in Mylar envelopes or acid free envelopes or acid free boxes. • Write descriptions on the envelopes or on the back border of the print with an HB pencil. 21 August 2010

  36. Care of Photographs Photo albums are another alternative for storage: • Choose albums that are acid and lignin free. • Avoid self-stick plastic covered pages, which can stain and damage photos. • Sleeves in albums should be made of Mylar or polypropylene. • Acid-free corners can be used to mount prints. • Avoid white glue, rubber cement, scotch or masking tape and staples when mounting prints in photo albums. 21 August 2010

  37. Care of Photographs • Keep prints out of direct light, in a stable environment where the humidity will not have large fluctuations. Store prints in a cool and dry spot avoiding attics, basements and garages. • Clean prints with a soft brush, if stained consider scanning the image, edit the stain and print on photo paper. 21 August 2010

  38. Care of Books Careful handling, to protect the book bindings. Use a bookmark instead of turning down a page corner. Turn pages from the top corner and not from the bottom edge, which can cause tears. Avoid using sticky notes or adhesive tapes on bindings. Tape will cause discolouration. A paper conservator can repair tears in paper using Japanese tissue paper. Do not press flowers in books or store acidic newspaper clippings in books because both can cause staining. 21 August 2010

  39. Care of Books • Carefully photocopy books to protect the spine from cracking. Let one half of the book hang over side while the other side is flat against the copier. • Preferred shelving is baked enamel steel that can stand away from an exterior wall and enclosed glass door shelving is good to protect the books from dust. Books should be stored vertically and not overcrowded. • Books should be kept dusted with a soft brush or vacuumed. Dust is abrasive, will soil paper and attract pests. 21 August 2010

  40. Care of Books • If books get wet mould can begin to grow within 24 hours, the freeze-drying method is preferred, but should be done by a professional. • If books are wet, mouldy or infested put them in a plastic zip bag, seal it. If wet in addition to bagging also put in a freezer until the book can be seen by a paper conservator. • Wrap the damaged book in acid-free paper and tie with twill tape until re-binding or conservation treatment can occur. 21 August 2010

  41. Care of Audio and Visual Sound Recordings Magnetic tapes: Preservation copying of originals may be the only way to preserve your audio and visual sound recordings. This is done so that the original is not constantly being played. You may also want to upgrade to a more stable technology. For example copying nitrate and acetate film to a more stable media. Best storage temperatures for magnetic tapes are at 8 degrees Celsius with a temperature variance +-2 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity at 25% with a variance of about +-5%, variances should not be exceeding these limits in a 24 hour period. However, it is acceptable to handle tapes with environment temperatures between 18-25 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity at 15-50%. Mould growth will occur with relative humidity above 65%. 21 August 2010

  42. Care of Magnetic Tapes Avoid: • Ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light can cause the tapes to breakdown. • Dust and Water. Dust can cause poor playback and water can cause hydrolysis on the surface of the tape. • Magnetic sources so that there is no possibility of erasing the magnetic data on the tape. Store in protective cases in a vertical position and not in the player. Air should circulate well around shelving units. 21 August 2010

  43. Care of Magnetic Tapes • Food and drinks should not be consumed near tapes because these particles can be airborne and land on the surface of the tape sticking to it and damaging the tape. • Fungus may be found on tapes, if dry it is powdery and is considered dormant, if fungus smears when rubbed it is considered active. Fungus should be considered toxic and should only be removed by a professional. • Inspect tapes for damage or contamination before use and handle tapes with care. • Make sure your player is properly aligned and in good condition. 21 August 2010

  44. CD and DVD Care • Keep your CDs and DVDs in the coolest area of your home, ideal temperature for the media is at 23 degrees Celsius and at a relative humidity of about 35%-50%. • Store in low light and in a vertical position in jewel cases. • Read only CDs, CD-RWs have a life expectancy from 5-100 years, CD-Rs however have a life expectancy from 5-200 years depending on storage, handling and manufacturing processes and materials used. Life expectancy for all formats of DVDs are unknown, but are expected to be similar to that of a CD. The media may last, but will the players? 21 August 2010

  45. CD and DVD Care • The best way to clean your CD or DVD is with compressed air. The second best way is with a soft lint-free cloth wiping in a radial direction from the centre out to the edge. • Repairing scratches is not recommended because you will probably cause more damage than good. • Handle discs by the centre hole and the edges. Try not to touch the shiny surface. 21 August 2010

  46. Conclusion: In conclusion, there are so many ways that we can preserve our family history. • Documenting our work and sharing it • Providing safe storage • Careful handling • Stable temperature and a stable relative humidity are key to preserving our family history. Doing such practices will lengthen the life of our objects • Preventative care is the best form of conservation that we can do! • Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) as a valuable resource for learning how to preserve your family history. 21 August 2010

  47. References: • Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI), Department of Canadian Heritage Canadian Heritage Web site, • Library and Archives Canada, • Association of Moving Image Archivists, • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, • David Gratten,“Technical Bulletin 22, The Stability of Photocopied and Laser-printed Documents and Images: General Guidelines”, (Ottawa:Canadian Conservation Institute, 2000). • Kyla Ubbink website, 21 August 2010

  48. Canadian Resources on the Web for Archival Supplies: • Carr McLean at: • University Products of Canada (Div. of BFB Sales) at: • Archival at: Other sources: Archival Methods at: 21 August 2010

  49. Questions? Shirley-Ann Pyefinch Email: Ottawa Stake Family History Website: 21 August 2010