Saving Your Family Treasures: A Directory of Past Columns, by Maureen Taylor

If you missed the Webinar I recently presented on Ancestry, you can still listen to me talk about simple, common sense tips to help you save those items you got from Great-aunt Phyllis. The webinar is archived in the Ancestry Learning Center.    

Back before there were webinars, an Ancestry 24/7 Family History Circle blog, and the Ancestry Weekly Journal, there was the Ancestry Daily News newsletter. In that newsletter, I wrote a series of articles under the title, “Saving Your Family Treasures.” While the blog no longer uses topical titles, I still occasionally write about ways to preserve all that “stuff” you’ve inherited or collected. The response to each one of these columns was overwhelming. It proved that if you’re interested in family history, you’re also involved in trying to save it for the next generation.

I’ve collected selected columns here so that you can read my articles and also see the comments posted by others. Remember if you have a preservation-related question send it to me at You might see your question and its answer mentioned in this very spot.

General Advice

  • A Case of Mistaken Identity
    Learn more about the true meaning of the often used and misused term “archival” and what all those terms on product packaging really mean. 
  • Protected from the Elements: Storing Family Heirlooms at Home
    If you’ve often wondered about where to keep all these valuable family treasures then this article is for you. What’s good and what’s not in home storage is full of valuable tips.
  • One Step at a Time
    Here’s a step-by-step approach for preserving family heirlooms. 
  • Four Destructive Habits
    If you know someone who’s still laminating photos and news clippings please show them this article. Hopefully it will change their mind about using lamination as a preservation method.


The focus of this piece is my attempt to learn more about an aunt’s gift of a small handmade item. You can use these techniques to learn more about almost any type of artifact in your collection.


A reader’s question about how to care for a family Bible ended up so popular I had to write a second follow-up piece to answer additional inquiries and concerns.


Who doesn’t have a newspaper clipping they’d like to preserve?

Photographs and Movies

Got a picture in your family collection that’s slowly disappearing and wondering what you can do about it? Here are a few tips on how to enhance the image using contemporary tools.

Photo Albums

This was my all-time most popular topic. So many people added comments to the original posting that there was enough material for two more blog pieces on the same topic. Add your questions and let’s see if we can make it to a third article.

Voice Recordings

The inspiration for this column was the wonderful work being done by the StoryCorp ( folks who document oral histories and the Recording Rescue feature of VoiceQuilt (

Wedding Dresses and Memorabilia

Here’s an article for anyone with a wedding dress they’d like to preserve. Before you pack up your dress for the kids, read this.

Creating this list of past columns helped me organize my thoughts for future articles. There is still a lot of preservation ground to cover!

Maureen Taylor is The Photo Detective. Her most recent book is Capturing Memories: Your Family Story in Photographs.

4 thoughts on “Saving Your Family Treasures: A Directory of Past Columns, by Maureen Taylor

  1. I loved the picture on the main page of the Hollinger Company of the founder smoking a cigarette while handling (supposedly) archival papers!

  2. A bible was given by his mother to my husband’s great-great grandfather when he emigrated to the U.S. in the 1870’s. The bible survived weeks of immersion in Hurricane Katrina floodwaters in New Orleans because it was stored in a totally unarchival manner. A team of volunteers gutting a house found it stored in a ziplock plastic bag.

  3. Thank you for these articles on how to protect our family artifacts. I am relatively a new member to Ancestry.Com, and I am sure others who are new to genealogy appreciate the tips on how to take care of the items from our families past. Thank you again.

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