Many people starting family history are given some original certificates - a grandparents marriage certificate, their own birth certificate, a parent's birth certificate. These are longer than A4, and can be extremely fragile, particularly if decades old. Many have unfortunately been folded and need to be opened and stored flat
To stop them deteriorating and store them in the best condition possible you need to archive acid free. Acid free archival materials are widely used by record offices and the legal profession and are now popular with family historians. At Family Tree Folk, we have a range of acid free products to help - and we are sourcing more for 2010.
Instead of keeping your certificates folded in an envelope - or worse still, in a cheap PVC polypocket (this accelerates the ageing process acting on the paper, and strips the ink from the document), put them in acid free polypockets that allow them to be straight and unfolded. The acid free sleeves will prevent further yellowing and disintegration of the paper, and will stop accidental damage by handling.
Storing your original certificates in acid free pockets in a certificate binder keeps them flat and safe and away from light. They are clearly visible through the clear polypropylene or polyester and can still be used for reference as required. As well as our long certificate binder, folders for A4 landscape certificates are also available. These are useful if you only have the newer style certificates, which are all now supplied by the General Registry Office as A4 sheets. As with our deluxe long certificate binder our deluxe A4 landscape binders are available with a full range of acid free wallets, acid free card inserts and tabbed dividers.
Using acid free card inserts allows two certificates to be stored in each acid free sleeve and prevents the certificates touching. It also stiffens the acid free pocket and provides an attractive background to the certificate.
The deluxe certificate binders and acid free pockets can also take landscape A4 certificates (all newly purchased certificates are A4 landscape) as these also need careful acid free storage. With a cost from April 6th 2010 of £9.25 for each certificate this represents quite an investment, after all and they need to be stored for generations to come.