After my grandmother passed away my mother received all of her old photos and documents. I have been going through these and have found an old genealogy manuscript written by a distant relative in 1925.

The book is "bound" between two sheets of vinyl with what appears to be a shoelace. It is not easy to flip through and read, and some of the pages are beginning to show signs of wear.

My question is: what should I do to preserve these pages in a way that not only keeps them safe, but also easy to flip through. I was thinking some sort of plastic sleeves in a bound-together book, but wanted to know what this community thought and if they have any suggestions.

1 Answer 1


It is difficult to both preserve old documents or photos and also handle them a lot.

My suggestion would be to:

  1. Scan all the pages (or photograph if it is not possible to place flat on a scanner)
  2. Store the originals in a cool, dry, and secure place
  3. Print out copies of the scans if you want to flip through or share them

A minimal ammount of handling will keep the originals in their best state. If you use the scans or copies to work with on a regular basis, then you do not risk damaging them. You could print out the copies and bind them together into a book form if that is preferable.

  • I planned on making digital copies regardless. If they were to be placed in sleeves and those sleeves then placed in a binder, they would not be handled much. I just wanted a way that they could be handled if necessary. Do you think they would still be subject to damage in that scenario? I'm new to genealogy and preserving documents so thank you for your help!
    – Troy
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 20:07

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