Move Family Records and Photographs – Sassy Jane Genealogy

Move family records and photographs to preserve them. Tuesday’s tip is the smartest, safest, and cheapest preservation thing you can do to preserve your paper family records.

If you’ve stored them in an attic, garage, or other unheated or cooled place, move family records and photographs into the house.

Paper-based records (and that includes photographs) do best in the same environment conditions that people enjoy. That means no storage in places where the temperature and humidity cycle between lows and highs, such as attics and garages.

Newspapers and Paper Records

Newspapers are difficult to preserve because the paper is highly acidic, making them extra vulnerable to damage caused by heat and humidity. Humidity causes mold spores to sprout on paper, and the paper to yellow and curl. In addition, high temperatures speed up the reaction of acids in the paper.


In environments where high heat and humidity cycle with colder temperatures, photographs are especially vulnerable. The emulsions that comprise the image on photographic paper grow brittle, can crack or even separate from the paper base. Photos will also fade or turn yellow in these environments.

Archives and museums invest incredible sums to keep an ideal temperature/humidity balance.

But it’s the extremes in temperature and humidity that cause the most damage. Keeping your family records in the house is the smartest, safest, and cheapest preservation tactic you can employ. A dark closet works best – and everybody’s got one of those sitting around empty, right? Kidding!

For more Sassy Jane posts on preserving your family papers and photographs, click here.