Tips from the Pros: Five Files, Just Five Files, from Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

I did it today. I reached into a box of file folders of mixed origin that were poorly labeled and removed five. I made myself a glass of iced tea and decided that it was time to watch some old Doris Day movies that I received as a gift. It was time to sort, re-label, and even toss some pieces of paper.

I also made a stack of items to scan. What was the impetus? Watching the sobering amount of flood damage in the Midwest made me think about all that was lost. Photo albums, baby books, receipts saved for tax purposes, business records, genealogy files, and other items–even moving them to the second floor of some homes and buildings did not preserve them.

The scans I make will be saved to CDs and sent to my sister. They will also be saved to an online backup system like And as I cleaned up from this sorting session, I put another five files back on my coffee table for the next round of sorting some evening later in the week.

If you are among those who have flood damage, here are some websites with tips on saving items:

U.S. National Archives & Records Administration

Northeast Document Conservation Center

Many state archives and/or historical societies have conservation labs that offer suggestions for dealing with flood- and tornado-damaged records and photos.

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3 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Five Files, Just Five Files, from Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

  1. I’m a genealogical newbie and am interested in resources to help me decide which scanner to buy. I’ve heard that Epson has good scanners, but its website is not very user friendly, at least for beginners. I’m looking for a scanner that can handle photos and negatives as well as documents. Speed and quality are more important to me than cost.

  2. Such a timely article…and I wonder if it wouldn’t be wise to upload such files to two of the sites given…even choosing ones in opposite sides of the country…to avoid losing records because of floods or other natural disasters.

  3. If you have family that have been effected by the flood, take time to make them copies of the pictures and documents you have and give them to them at an appropriate time. My step- daughter lost everything in Katrina and in among the care packages we sent, there was a photo album of pictures. Guess which gift she liked best!

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