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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > September 2019 > Looking after your home archive

Looking after your home archive

Paul F Cockburn looks at some of the ways in which you can preserve and present the results of your research – now and for future generations

Each of us has our own reasons for exploring our family histories; from simple curiosity about the lives of people and societies long-gone, to uncovering a sense of where we, ourselves, ultimately come from – and then sharing that with others.

Even if genealogy is nothing more than a hobby, however, it does seem a shame if all the results of our often hard work just ends up in some files or cardboard boxes in the attic – unread and otherwise ignored. Or, even worse, thrown out and lost because no one else was interested!

The passing years can be unpredictable when it comes to what survives – just visit any museum, and you’ll see that this can range from priceless works of art to pieces of pottery and other everyday items recovered from the archaeological exploration of prehistoric rubbish tips!

Arguably, the most treasured items are, over time, no more likely to survive than anything else – unless, that is, a concerted effort is made to preserve them. When it comes to your own family research, that is ultimately up to you.

So how do you go about it?

There are numerous ways in which you can best preserve and present your family archives and the results of your own genealogical researches.

Nothing is guaranteed, admittedly – that billions-to-one chance of a meteor strike could still knock out all of our best efforts. Even ensuring your own researches are still accessible to other people a mere century from now could be described as challenging.

However, there are ways in which to handle, store and display family papers and photographs; techniques by which you can repair existing damage; and, of course, numerous options now for digitising your material.

Here I’ll look at some practical solutions to help you.

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About Family Tree

It’s time to dig for victory, see what clues your delving can unearth! Turn the clock back to 1939 with our special issue and discover your family’s story. This month we’re commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of World War 2, and are researching and celebrating our ancestors’ lives from the time. To help you trace your family tree we’ve got: a packed guide to the essential family history records all you need to know about researching family in Second World War and first half of the 20th century and a bumper crop of tips to help you create your own family history home archive – filled with carefully stored photos, stories, notes and treasures. Beginner or expert, there’s plenty to discover and do as your learn more about your family’s story. Enjoy!