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caring for old paper documents.

(6 Posts)
TriciaF Sun 07-Sep-14 14:40:09

I have a bundle of old paper documents which my Dad passed on to me. Relating to an obscure branch of my MGF's family.
Letters, certificates, bills, photos etc.
Most of them are in a scruffy condition, wondering if it would harm the letters to iron them? Maybe with tissue above the paper.
Just been talking to a nephew who is doing some family history and would like to see them.
This is the first time I've really looked at them carefully, and they're very interesting from a historical point of view, so would only send copies.
What do you think about smartening them up?

TriciaF Sun 07-Sep-14 14:40:48

ps dating from 1817.

rubysong Sun 07-Sep-14 20:52:43

Maybe you could get some acid free poly pockets to put them in (individually) and keep them in a binder. I don't know about ironing them. We have quite a lot of stuff from DH's late uncle by marriage particularly relating to his war (ww2) career. They are in a box at the moment. I must take my own advice.

Elegran Sun 07-Sep-14 22:01:15

Try looking online for advice on preserving old documents. You could include "ironing" in the search box - there may be specific advice about that.

My own instinct would be to handle them as little as possible, and to resist ironing as the heat could make them brittle. Once they have been in individual acid-free pockets for a while, perhaps placed (still in the folders) between the pages of a big heavy book (an old atlas?) they might flatten out naturally. When you look at them, try not to take them out of the folders, and have clean hands, without handcream on.

You could copy them through the clear folders too.

How lovely to have them preserved!

FlicketyB Mon 08-Sep-14 06:41:42

There are companies offering archive quality storage materials online. I have bought special backing paper, tape and acetates to store family documents.

I would also suggest scanning the documents. I use Paint Shop Pro to improve the quality of the scanned document to make it more legible. When documents are handwritten I also transcribe the contents. Doing this I have been able to circulate all kinds of documents around my family.

The other place to seek help is your local Record Office. Every county has one and they are the experts in processing old documents because that is their job. They might be worth visiting, particularly if your family are local to see if they have documents that give more background detail about the places your family lived in and the occupations they followed.

TriciaF Mon 08-Sep-14 07:30:50

What good advice - thanks smile
There are a lot of letters, some written both from side to side as well as top to bottom, in tiny neat writing, so difficult to decipher.
Thinking about how to start!