January 2012 Family Archivist

By Sunny Jane Morton Premium

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 Genealogy Gift Guide

Wondering what to get your favorite family historian for the holidays—or what to put on your own gift list? These must-have archival supplies were recommended by Craig A. Tuttle, archivist at Fayetteville State University, and Practical Archivist blogger, Sally Jacobs.
1. Document storage boxes: Jacobs’ School Days Time Capsule Kit contains three archival boxes, folders, archival tissue and gloves, plus suggestions for busy parents to save school mementos. Order for $57.75 from Jacobs’ website.

2. Archival-quality file folders: Your genealogy friends will have plenty of room to note the contents of these Gaylord Bros. reinforced file folders with a one-inch tab, Tuttle says (see Shop ‘Til You Drop below for contact information). They’re available in letter- or legal-size; a package of 100 costs $36.05 to $39.85.

3. Polyester envelopes: These protect fragile family papers from damage caused by dust, dirt and handling. You want envelopes with a thickness of at least 3 mil. Tuttle recommends the Sealed Archival Polyester Enclosures from Hollinger Metal Edge, $17.25 for a package of 10.

4. Archival tools: Rounded ends on these Genuine Bone Folders ($8.50 and $12.50) from Conservation Resources International smooth creased paper and affix archival repair tape. Pointed ends score board for creating document enclosures. A microspatula like these from Gaylord Bros. ($13.59 and $7.90) removes staples and applies repair tape.

5. White cotton gloves: Give your cousin Gina gloves, such as these from ($3.24 per pair) to protect her family heirlooms and photographs from dust, dirt and oils when handling.

6. Plastiklips: These plastic clips from University Products ($21.60 for 1,000) won’t rust like metal and don’t have sharp ends, so Mom can feel free to use them when organizing the family archive (Tuttle advises against using any clips on photos, though, because they can scratch the emulsion).

7. Book box: “This rare book box looks nice enough for a shelf that guests will see,” Jacobs says. Sizes vary, so it’s perfect for safely storing scrapbooks, old photo albums or a family Bible. Gaylord includes 25 sheets of unbuffered tissue to pad the book inside ($16.79 to $25.95).

8. Advice: Maureen A. Taylor’s book Preserving Your Family Photographs is Jacobs’ go-to recommendation for family archivists (Picture Perfect Press), $24.99.
You can load up on more genealogy gift ideas at Family Tree Shop, or start your very own Wish List.

Project: Keepsake Shadowbox

 Time: 1 hour or less
Cost: $35 for this 16×20-inch shadowbox; smaller sizes may cost $10-30
1. Gather your supplies:

  • mementos related to a person or event (for best visual effect, choose items with a variety of shapes, textures and sizes)
  • shadowbox frame
  • archival mat board
  • mounting materials (see Step 3)
  • optional embellishments
  • 2. Cut mat board to the same size as the inner dimensions of your frame (see if the store where you purchase the board can cut it for you).

    3. Arrange the mementos on the mat board, folding fabrics minimally to prevent permanent creasing.
    4. Don’t use adhesives directly on mementos. Instead, secure the items to the board with photo corners, fishing line, Velcro, cotton tape (wrap it around the object, and use pins or mounting squares to affix the tape to the board) or cotton thread (“sew” the object to the board with loose stitches). For the shadowbox shown here, a few nickel-plated brass straight pins (to avoid rust) secure fabric pieces.
    5. Assemble the shadowbox. Display away from direct sunlight and check for damage regularly.

    Shop Til’ You Drop

    “Consider requesting a free catalog from several archival supply vendors,” says Tim Salls, manager of manuscript collections for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. “The catalogs illustrate proper storage techniques, often provide helpful hints and explain the importance of standard preservation concepts.” You’ll find similar information on the websites of these archival suppliers:

    From the January 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine

    More great genealogy resources from Family Tree Magazine: