1. Document Preservation
2. Family Traditions

3. I Have No Photos
4. Photo Preservation
5. Remember your Byline

6. Source Documentation
7. Writing Family History

Document & Paper Preservation

Proper preservation of papers that make up a family history collection is often neglected by many people. These papers could be printouts from your computer, newspaper clippings, birth/death/marriage certificates, old report cards, mom's love letters, and so forth. A little bit of care is all that is needed and you'll greatly increase a document's longevity. After all, we want them to last so our descendants can enjoy them. Its not hard either, here are some tips:

1. Most paper contains acid, which over time will cause the paper to weaken and become brittle.
Newsprint has an especially high acid content, which is why your old obits, birth announcements and such become brittle quite quickly. All is not lost though, for documents that are on acid-bearing paper, spray them with a deacidification spray, such as Archival Mist. This is by far the best and easiest method to neutralize the acid. But you can make your own dipping solution:

. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk of magnesia to 1 quart of club soda.
. Allow the solution to refrigerate at least eight hours before using.
. Put the solution into a pan that is large enough for the clipping to lay flat and be covered by the solution.
. Soak the clipping for 1 hour.
. Wet paper is very fragile, so carefully remove the clipping from the pan and place it on a soft towel to dry.
. Be sure the clipping is completely dry before moving.

Always test an unimportant clipping in this process as many inks are water soluble. Inks have been known to entirely disappear from paper during this process.

2. After you've made your documents and clippings acid free, store them in archival (meaning acid-free and lignin-free) albums, storage units, or page protectors. Make sure the papers, especially newspaper clippings, are stored flat and not folded. While you can laminate newspaper clippings after you de-acidify them, be cautious as the heat could cause long term damage.

3. Print out your computer data on acid free paper. There are many suppliers of this (Great White, for example) and you can buy it at an office supply store. But don't let the paper come into contact with other acid bearing paper/materials because it will contaminate the paper. Most printer inks are acid-free, but they are not waterfast. So put your print-outs in archival page protectors to protect them from accidental spills and to minimize any handling damage.

4. If you are putting items in a scrapbook or heritage album, mount them on acidfree, lignin-free paper with an acid-free adhesive (you may want to use small amounts of adhesive on the edges of the document to allow easier removal if needed later).

5. For your very important documents and newspaper clippings, you might want to wear gloves when handling them to keep your skin oils from staining the paper.

6. Pens with acid-free ink or pencils should be used if your going to write on a document.

7. Avoid long-term exposure to light as the UV rays can cause damage. High heat and humidity are also detrimental.

8. Use a pH test pen if you have any question as to whether a document is acid free. For pH pens to work, though, water must be present to show the shift in color. Newsprint, for example, tends to be a particularly dry paper. So if you are testing newsprint, you may have to place a drop of distilled water on the pH pen marking to see the color shift.

9. To repair a torn or ripped document, use an archival, transparent document mending tape (such a made by 3M). Do not use typical cellophane tape.

Some related links:
Library of Congress information on paper preservation: http://Icweb.loc.gov/preserv/care/paper.html

Guidelines for storage from the State Library of Victoria, Australia: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/siv/conservation/flatpapr.htm

Miscellaneous tips on handling, storage, etc: http://www.nationalgeo.com/corner/preservation.html

Many of the archival items mentioned in this newsletter can be purchased at Your Family Legacy.

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Your Family Legacy
"Discover and Preserve Your Family Heritage"

http://www.web YFL.com

Family Traditions

Traditions are reflections of beliefs, superstitions and personality of a family. I stop short of saying that they are the soul of a family because the spirit of those traditions may have been lost. Still, those traditions are part of who you are and whether or not you know why or how those traditions came about, they give rise to a dimensional understanding of a family that genealogists and family historians treasure.

You've probably already thought to document some of those traditions by taking pictures of family gatherings at holidays and festive times but what about the food at those gatherings? Are there traditional dishes? What about the way in which those gatherings and holidays unfold? Often traditions are simple things that no one remembers to document. Think about weddings. Is there something the family always does, something unique, some tradition that isn't usually part of the ceremony and therefore goes undocumented? If a certain person has a particular role in the tradition, document that too. If you know how and when the tradition began write it down in your heritage album.

Pictures and journaling are both great ways to document your family's traditions but don't forget that they don't have to be exclusive of one another. You could include a family recipe next to a picture of the dish or someone preparing it. Stories of family traditions can take up a page of a photo album or scrapbook, or a picture and the story behind it can share a page.

When you document your traditions you can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Even the colors of the papers you chose for the background of pictures can have special meaning and you can include symbols to convey the meaning of your traditions.

Traditions aren't exclusive to holidays or weddings, though. Remember your every day family life holds traditions too and these often are the ones you rarely think about. Because people move away from their extended families, traditions are lost, which is why it is important to document them whether they are active traditions or not. You don't have to have photographs to create an image for your children or grandchildren of what the "Sunday family dinner" at your grandmother's house was like, or the traditional snowball fights you and your cousins had after church in the winter. Just record in a journal your memories of the traditions, even the small ones that the family used to have. They'll thank you for writing them down.

Be sure to document with pictures and jouma1ing those new traditions you and your family have created. And if you don't think you have any new traditions, think again! I was amazed when my children began talking about how we "always" hang balloons from the dining room chandelier for their birthdays, or how we "always" play games throughout the evening on New Years Eve. I hadn't thought of those things as traditions but through the years they have become just that. If you think about it, you've probably created a lot of new traditions because of necessity or convenience that you hadn't thought of as "traditions". Make sure to document them! And this is a great opportunity to tell future generations, through journaling - even a few lines jotted next to the picture - how and why these traditions began.

And traditions aren't just for grown-ups. Children have them too and they, in turn, hand them down to their children. One of our children's traditions is really a superstition, as many traditions are: On winter evenings when snow is predicted for the next morning, our children drink hot chocolate and wear their pajamas inside out to insure a "snow day" off school the following day. Taking pictures of your kids in the act of their traditions not only is great fun but it preserves them for future generations. Write about the traditions or let the children jot down an explanation themselves in an album next to the picture. They'll love it and some day so will their great-grandchildren.

Links and related sources:

Journals: http://journals.aboutcom/mbody.htm

Celebrating Family Traditions: http://www.everton.com/FHN/fhn1998/140ct98.htm

'Writing Family Histories and Memories" by Kirk Polking. http://www.webyfl.com/item.jhtml?UCIDs=66985%7C550424&PRI 0=156878

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Your Family Legacy
"Discover and Preserve Your Family Heritage"

http://www.web YFL.com/

I Have No Photos

Making a scrapbook of your heritage is a wonderfully creative way to tell your family story. Each page brings your ancestors alive to your scrapbook viewers. But perhaps you're hesitant to make a heritage scrapbook because you think you need a photograph of the person, and they're simply not always available. Although photography has been around for well over a century, pictures beyond a couple of generations can be rare in a family. If you're in this situation, you can still make artistic pages to display your family heritage, you just have use other materials.

Assuming there are no pictures, then the materials you have on an ancestor can generally be put into three categories: documents, memorabilia, or data. They can be used singly or in combination in your scrapbook to tell your ancestor's "story", and we'll work with each type to give you some ideas on how.

Let's start with documents. These could either be originals or copies and can include: Birth/death/marriage certificates
Invitations & greeting cards
Military records
School/work records
Pages from bibles
Newspaper articles
Census records
And on and on...

These documents tell your family history in some way. Use them in your scrapbook to tell about the life of the person. For example, mount a marriage license using photo corners, then journal on the page about their life based on the facts your gathered during your research: "Great grandma Mary Jones was typical for her day, getting married at the young age of 17. Although January tends to be dreary in Maine, she probably had joy in her heart as she married her life-mate that 1ih day of 1909..." Be creative with your narrative. Spice up the page by adding clip art that relates to the event or time. In our example, we could add wedding related items.

A quick word on using original documents - make sure you de-acidify them and mount them on acid-free, lignin-free pages using non-permanent means. See our article on Document Preservation for more information. You may want to consider making copies for use in your scrapbook and keep the valuable originals safely stored away.

Just like documents, the same technique can be done with memorabilia like medals, jewelry, buttons, pins, and so forth. If they're not too big, mount them on the page with a memorabilia pocket. An alternative would be to take a picture of the item and use it on your page. Then write up a paragraph about the person and weave the item into the story. Paste the write-up on the page with decorative borders along side the memorabilia. Add any other related items that complement the person's life story (see below).

What if you have no documents or memorabilia? Use your data to write a brief biography that gives the essentials of your ancestor's life. Then include as many related "visuals", like those listed below, as makes sense. Or just focus on one aspect of your ancestor's life, like their occupation or where they lived, and write a brief narrative about it. Then include "visuals" on your page like:
. a map showing where they lived. This could be done broadly, like the city on a state map, or more narrowly, like the township on a county map. Combine this with a copy of the census page, which will show the family details for that enumeration day.
. a picture from the area where they lived, like the local courthouse. Or perhaps you can find copies of old photos at the local library that show scenes from the locale. If you know where their house was located, get a picture of whatever is there today.
. clip art or pictures that related to the time period, occupation or the social aspect of their life. For example, if your ancestor was a trolley car driver, find a picture of one and use it on your page.
. copies of old newspaper clippings of historical or personal events make great page additions. Historical information will allow you to weave the events of the day into their life story.

The idea is to use whatever facts you have about a person, family, area, or history to tell the "story" of your heritage. Use pictures if you have them, but when you don't, try some of the above techniques. Happy scrapping!
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Your Family Legacy
"Discover the past, capture the present, preserve for the future"


Photo Preservation

I've been thinking about preservation lately. No, not about me (I'm not that old...yet!). But about your family history, especially your treasure of ancestor pictures. Whenever I get in touch with a new found "cuz", I always ask if they have any photos of ancestors. Getting names, facts, and stories about your family is great fun, but putting a picture to an ancestor brings them to life.

But how do you preserve these treasures? Just remember that the most harmful agent in photo degradation is ACID because, over time, it will deteriorate the photo. Many plastics and papers, as well as "magnetic" photo albums, use materials that are not acid free. So you "1ight want to "dig" out your wedding pictures and albums of family snapshots and make sure that they are stored in albums made from the proper materials.

Some preservation tips:
- Use albums that are archival quality, meaning acid free.
- The paper you put the photo on should likewise be acid free and lignin free. Lignin is a substance found in wood fibers of untreated paper. Over time it breaks down into acids that will harm photos and documents.
- Storage boxes, envelopes and the like should also be archival quality.
- Do not store your pictures in high temperature or high humidity areas, as this can cause mold or fungi development and increase the chemical reaction in the photos. So avoid attics and basements to store your precious memories.
- Water and fire can ruin an entire collection. Keep pictures away from fire places, dryers and the like. Avoid water damage by storing them up off the floor and not in a basement. - Avoid prolonged exposure to light to minimize fading.
- Use tapes or photo corners that are acid free to mount them on pages.
- Try not to write on the picture, especially the picture side, as I think it's a detraction. If you must write, do it on the back with an acid free pen (don't press too hard or the pen indentation will be visible on the picture side). An alternative is to write on the paper next to the picture.
- Have your pictures scanned and put on CD.
You may want to consider making a copy of the pictures you want to show most often. The copy can take all the wear and tear of handling while your original sits safely in its archival storage location.

For more information on photo preservation, visit the National Park Service Conserve-O-Gram at http://www.cr.nps.gov/csd/publications/conserveogram/conserv. htmI

Have an old photo that needs restored? See http://www.maine.com/photos/

To learn more about the history of photography, visit http://www.eastman.org/

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Your Family Legacy
"Discover and Preserve Your Family Heritage" http://www .webYFL.com/

Remember your Byline

Whether you're into scrapbooking, family research, or like many of us, into a little of both, you're probably meticulous about the details of your projects. You've scrapbooked, journaled, collected facts and biographies from generation after generation of family members, but will anyone ever know who created or compiled this work? In your pursuit to leave future generations with a picture of who they are, have you forgotten to tell them who you are? Have you, even with hand written notes and journaling passages, left your identity a mystery for future generations to solve? Here are some simple ways to identify your self as the author, creator, or compiler of scrapbooks and genealogy information without "upstaging" the information or scrapbook subject.

The most direct identification is a simple byline. If you are the author of a family history you may have already included your name and may wish to consider adding some of the other suggestions below. If you are a scrapbooker, this is an opportunity to add yet another creative touch. A byline can be presented as a page of its own at the beginning or end of an album. It can be as simple as the stated words, "By Daphne Mills" with simple or elaborate backgrounds, colorful pens and clip art that reflects your personality or the theme of the album. And if your relationship with the person or people captured within the album isn't clear from the photos and journaled entries, then make it clear within your byline information. You might say, "By John Wilson's Grandma, Daphne Mills", or model the words from those on tags that can be sewn into clothes made for loved ones, such as "Created with love by Grandma, Daphne Mills".

If you wish to add more, and your project is a compilation of genealogy, consider creating a byline of information about yourself. You might say, "The Johnson Family History researched and compiled by James Johnson", followed by basic information such as the date the information or this segment of the information was compiled, your age (if you wish to reveal it) at the time, your relationship with the original family member such as, "Great great grandson of Josiah Johnson." Include whatever other information you like - your education, rank and dates if you served in the military, your favorite phrase or words that you live by, or any other information you care to list.

Scrapbookers who are making an album for a friend or relative may want to make the information about themselves focus on the album subject. This makes for both a softer appeal and provides information for that friend or family member's descendants can follow. For example, the byline page may read, "An album created with love for Betty Marsh by her devoted friend, Mary Smith", or, "Created with love for Samantha Owens by her cousin Mary Smith." You may wish to include the date you created or plan to give the album, and follow that information up with a touching memory, "from our childhood together in the summer of 1954 in Mobile, Alabama", or a funny incident, "when I baby sat you, my little cousin, when you were four and I was still a fun toving fifteen year old". The subject of your album will not only find this page enjoyable but it will provide important information some day for her branch of the family when researching their background.

If it is a family history you're compiling consider expanding the general information about yourself into a short autobiography or follow the byline page with a more extensive autobiography. For a quick and easy method of writing your personal history, read our article on writing your autobiography.

Whether you decide to use these suggestions or craft some of your own, consider the benefits for future generations of identifying yourself as the author, creator, researcher, or compiler of your family heritage projects.

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Your Family Legacy
"Discover the past, capture the present, preserve for the future"

http://www.web YFL.com/

Source Documentation

You should consider documentation of an information source just as important as recording the information itself. Why? If you're like many family tree researchers you don't always work on your genealogy every day, maybe not even every week or month. You may have family lines that you haven't looked at in years! It's difficult to pick up where you left off unless you've documented the information sources. Secondly, if you send family data with no sources to a newly found "cuz", then you deprive them of the ability to review those sources. Finally, if you decide to "publish" a family history, you'll want others to know where you got the information so they won't question it. So documenting sources adds credibility and trace-ability to your effort. It’s not difficult either; it just takes a little discipline.

There are two basic classifications of sources: Primary and secondary. Primary records are those created shortly after an event by someone having personal knowledge of the event. A birth certificate is an example of a primary source, or a family bible if the event is recorded soon afterwards by a witness. However, someone's old letter that has a birth date in it may not be reliable if it's written at a later time. Primary records are obviously the preferred sources for establishing historical facts.

Secondary sources are generally compiled from primary sources or are written from memory long after the event (such as the letter example above). Other examples might be a published family history or summaries of censuses and marriages for a county. Secondary sources are very useful, but their validity could be questionable. So you'll need to examine the primary source if you want to be absolutely sure about a fact. Sometimes, however, a primary source may not be available. So you'll have to rely on the secondary source. An example of this is using the military pension file of your great-great grandfather for his birth date if no other birth record exists. Since he gave the date, there is some credibility for its accuracy.

Just because a source is "official" does not mean that a fact is correct, either. A great example of this is a death certificate that lists the person's birth date. The date of birth is usually obtained from someone's recollection, which might be fuzzy. The birth date could be correct, but its not direct evidence of the event, so it’s circumstantial and possibly suspect. The death certificate is, however, direct evidence of the death date, assuming the attending physician or relative has attested to the event, and should be considered accurate in that respect.

Regardless of whether your information is from a primary or secondary source, document the source. Unless you plan to publish a scholarly work on your lineage, nothing elegant is needed. Use this basic rule: record enough information about the source so someone else can go retrieve it. If you get data from the 1900 census, for example, record the roll number, state, county, city/township, page number, and family number. This way cousin Sue can go look it up easily at her library. For books, record the title, author, publisher, date published or edition, and page number. Be sure to include where you found the source, e.g., Ohio Historical library. Once you've been in several libraries, it’s hard to remember which one had a particular book.

Once you have the source documented, you can tie it to the information in your history. If you have any of today's genealogy software, like Legacy Family Tree for example, then it will do this for you. If you don't have software, then just footnote the source to the fact in your end-notes. For example:
Jacob Smith was born May 7, 1845 in Washington County, Ohio 1.

End Notes:
1. Declaration for Pension of Jacob Smith dated June 6, 1907, US National Archives."

With your sources documented, anyone, including you, can retrieve the same data bringing credibility and traceability to your family history.

Links and related sources:

Source Tips: http://www.familytreemaker.com/19_carla.html

Understanding sources & citations: http://www.pipeline.com/-richardpence/classdoc.htm

Use YFL Research Notes Form to record your research. It will easily allow you to document your source right along with the information. http://www.webyfl.com/item .jhtml?UCIDs=66985%7C66990&PRID=93711

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Your Family Legacy
"Discover and Preserve Your Family Heritage" http:llwww.webYFL.com/

Family History

Writing a Family History
You have all this family history information. You should share it not only with today's
generation, but also with those to come. And while scrapbooking is one creative way to tell a heritage story, you might also consider a written history. You don't have to be a professional writer or an English major either. This month's article will present ideas on how to write your family history story.

First, there is no "formula" for writing a family history. There is no right or wrong way. There's only your way. So get the idea out of your head that you can't write it because you don't know how. Second, although researching your family can never end, don't feel like you have to have every scrap of information for ten generations before you start. Think smaller and focus on just a key family line going back a few generations. Lastly, make sure all the information you now have is in your computer genealogy software if you use one, or in your charts and files if you rely on a manual system. The idea is to have easy access to your information before you start to write.

Think of telling your family history like you might any event from today; it's a mixture of facts, stories, and visuals. If you were to tell a friend about your vacation, you would include facts, like how long the drive was or the weather; stories, such as your child's excitement in seeing the ocean for the first time; and visuals like the photos you took. Do the same with your family history. Include:

Facts: birth/marriage/death dates & locations, family group sheets, pedigree charts, and sources of information are all possibilities. These are the "pieces of the puzzle".

Stories: These can be actual stories you've collected about people, such as those your grandpa told about his war time experiences. Or it can be prose that you write using the information you've gathered. An example might be: "Great Grandpa William must have felt a close bond to his younger brother Tom as they together joined the 180th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on what was most likely a hot summer day of July 27, 1862. Brothers in arms, no doubt." Deductions you have made from your facts can be included, but footnote this somehow so readers do not think it's a fact (see related link below). Your prose can also be enhanced by including both factual and social history information, and how it may have impacted the lives of the people.

Visuals: Although not absolutely necessary, using photos of people can more fully communicate your history. Think of any biography you've read. Don't you always keep flipping to the pictures as you read so you can better "visualize" the story? Visuals don't have to be pictures of people, either. They can be photos of places, like the old homestead; photos of things like a favorite car or an ancestor's tombstone; or copies of documents like grandma's marriage certificate or a relevant newspaper article. Even a picture of grandpa's military medals would be interesting. All of these suggestions can be scanned and inserted into a word processing file.

How you mix the three categories is up to you. As a base case, it can be all facts: family group sheets, pedigree charts, and descendant trees. This can easily be done with any genealogy software program. But if you want to create a special heritage write-up, go beyond the minimum - add stories and visuals. Today's word processing and genealogy software provide many creative ways to do this. Here is a suggestion to get you thinking and planning. Let's assume you are starting with a great great grandfather and he had six children. You could organize it like this:

. Create a chapter for the patriarch family, i.e., your great-great grandpa's family.
. Create a chapter for each of the patriarch's six children, tracing each sibling's descendant lineage as far as you want.
. Each chapter is structured into three basic sections: prose about the family unit and their life, followed by facts (family group sheets and descendant trees), and ending with the visuals grouped together and identified.
. Include a chapter on sources of information and acknowledgments of who helped.

However you write your heritage, be sure to include a chapter on your experiences in researching the family. What emotions did you feel? Were there any discoveries that were startling or unexpected? Did you meet any special people? You get the idea. And perhaps most importantly, include a short bio of yourself as the author (see related link below). People generations from now will want to know who the wonderful person was who made the effort to research and write the family story.

Good luck and have fun!
If you enjoyed this article, please forward it to a friend. Thanks.

Your Family Legacy
"Discover the past, capture the present, preserve for the future."


Any questions, please email Grandmommyandme@aol.com...thanks, Donelle

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