American Family Archives | Finding Family Artifacts

Part 2:

Finding My Family Archives, Photographs
and Artifacts

 

 


 

 

Why I Gotta Do This:

A Journey into Ancestry, Genealogy, Family History, Antique Photographs, Disorganization, Dysfunction, Chaos, and One Man’s Search for Archival Salvation

 

 


 

 

 

photograph album, archival storage, family archives
Quiz #1: Find the “good stuff” in this picture of my attic.
A.) busted fan (why, just WHY do I save this crap???)
B.) cheap roll of dollar store birthday wrapping paper
C.) box full of irreplaceable family photograph albums
D. carry-on suitcase that stinks of the sappy cologne
that leaked in it while traveling

 

What is actually “good” about this arrangement is that this box of family photograph albums is:
     1. in a single location, and was therefore relatively easy to find
     2. the photo albums themselves are in a box, offering at least
         some organization and protection

What is “bad” about this arrangement is:
     1. the albums are being stored in the attic, with its harmful
         temperature and humidity fluctuations

     2. the box, while offering some protection and organization,
         does not meet any requirements for true archival storage

 

 

archival storage, snapshots, photos, family archives
Quiz #2: Find the “good stuff” in this picture of my attic.
A. its ALL good stuff
B. see answer A

 

The same pros and cons mentioned above apply to this photograph: while stored in the wrong place (my attic) and in the wrong enclosures (non-archival storage enclosures, shoeboxes, plastic containers, office storage boxes, etc.), at least these absolutely irreplaceable photographs, films, framed works and family artifacts are in one place, and while junked together they were at least somewhat protected.

Hey, we should all take what we can get!

 

 


 

 

The task now is to convert all this fossilized crap…er… wonderful and irreplaceable family photos, home movies, genealogy records, and heirlooms…

 

snapshots, photographs, films, slides, family archives
An unholy mess of an archive!
From the family archive: Birthday card, drawn by my 16-year-old daughter for my 52nd birthday, 2011. Priceless!
My initial reaction when I saw this mess. Its actually a birthday card, drawn by my 16-year-old daughter for my 52nd birthday, 2011. Priceless!

 

family photographs, snapshots
Old-school drugstore film processing envelopes in a shoebox labeled “Family Pictures.” Hey, at least they were easy to find!
Glass plate negatives from the 1910s, in deteriorating original envelopes. The acids used in their manufacture have made these old paper envelopes almost as fragile as the glass plates themselves.
Glass plate negatives from the 1910s, in deteriorating original envelopes. The acids used in their manufacture have made these old paper envelopes almost as fragile as the glass plates themselves.

 

 

 

Antique hand-written letters and documents I found in the attic. Pretty cool.
Antique hand-written letters and documents I found in the attic. Pretty cool.
Organized disorganization. Photo albums that were together in their own box. Now that was convenient. Can't wait to look through THESE!
Organized disorganization. Photo albums that were together in their own box. Now that was convenient. Can’t wait to look through THESE!

 

…into THIS! The correct archival storage solutions across the board.
(Please click on images for more details)

 

black metal edge box, snapshots storage, negative storage, family archives
Prints and negatives (and valuable written information) transferred from drugstore film processing envelopes into this handsome and easy-to-navigate archival box filled with individual film/print enclosures. Its a snap to do this! Really!
3-hole archival Page Protectors, documents, family archives
My personal family archive has tons of different items in it, and this concept will come in MOST handy!

 

 

snapshots, clear photo pages, photographs, family archives
Some of my favorite snapshots will end up in an elegant album, and this is what THAT looks like. Quick and easy steps + safe archival storage = just the solution I was seeking.
archival storage, flat artifacts, newspaper preservation, family archives
Old magazines, newspapers, and assorted other flat paper items, each in its own archival polyester bag, will be stored in stackable acid-free boxes with a moisture-absorbing desiccant canister.

 

 

Binder Boxes, clear photo pages, archival storage, family archives
Efficient, economical and extraordinarily flexible binders-in-a-box offer ease of use and easy access to all sorts of different clear pages holding prints, negative, slides, CDs, letters, documents, square basketballs – anything, really.
acid-free preservation enclosures, family archives
Open end envelopes for safe archival storage of film, prints, cards, all sorts of stuff.

 

Quiz #3: So, how hard is all this gonna be? A.) just plain hard B.) hand-wringing / very hard C.) root canal hard D.) Winter of 1941 on the Russian Steppe hard E.) impossibly / staggeringly / infinitely hard E.) actually, not that hard at all, even a surprise-filled(!!!) pleasure
Quiz #3:  So, how hard is all this gonna be?
A.) just plain hard
B.) hand-wringing / very hard
C.) root canal hard
D.) Winter of 1941 on the Russian Steppe hard
E.) impossibly / staggeringly / infinitely hard
E.) actually, not that hard at all, even a surprise-filled(!!!) pleasure

 

 


 

Now then, my fellow adventurers and time-travelers, let’s make our start, beginning with… 

 

Part 3 – Setting Up a Work Space

 

(BTW – got a question thus far? Got a particularly challenging archival storage / preservation / presentation / organizational nut that just won’t crack? Don’t know what’s what re: your personal archive or collection? Post a comment or contact us. We’ll get ya through it!)

 


 

Series Navigation<< American Family Archives | Overall PhilosophyAmerican Family Archives | Setting Up a Great Work Space >>

Related Posts