Thursday, 30 September 2010

Writing out your family history research

In this age of technology we all store our information and records on various media. Long gone the days of the “floppy disk” and even current media storage will and is becoming outdated. We all have stored our family history research of many years hard work on CD’s, DVD’s, Memory Sticks, Hard Drive back up’s etc. Even places on the internet such as Dropbox where we can “safely” store our hard sought research.

However bringing family history to life is not just about having everything backed up. It is about presenting it in written hard copy format with information, photographs, BMD certificates, census copies etc. This done on archival acid free safe materials and presented in a binder to future generations (remember how many family bibles were passed down through the family).

I was approached by a lady today who wanted to handwrite her research on acid free paper but wanted to use acid free ink with a fountain pen! Admiration for this wonderful initiative from a family historian who wants to present her findings in this way. Family Tree folk sell a range of acid free papers and pens but have never been asked for a bottle of acid free ink.
What are other views out in the genealogy world? How do you write up your research? More importantly are you using archival safe products to ensure long term preservation?

Be interested in any comments on this posting.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Genealogy Christmas

Well it will soon be October and Christmas is looming especially for our overseas customers who want to buy genealogy themed Christmas cards and gifts for their fellow family historians (or even themselves. Always a good idea to pass on our website to your family who can never find something suitable for a family historian.

We have a range of Christmas cards and inexpensive gifts as well as our standard ranges. We also carry a comprehensive range of magnifiers and lights as well as a major selection of archival acid free products.

So if your looking for an inexpensive themed gift or something a little more serious visit our website at

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

What do you buy a genealogist for Christmas or a birthday?

It is so hard to find something related to family historians (other than relations!) to give as a present or send a greetings card. Family Tree Folk established an online shop in 2007 just for that reason. I was unable to find a suitable card or some inexpensive little items (stocking fillers) to raise a smile with my genealogy friends.

Using humour that is in the main only understood by fellow genealogists we designed and produced a range of gifts such as keyrings, magnets, mouse mats, pens etc. To accompany these we produced a range of themed greeting cards including Christmas, Mothers Day and Fathers Day.

We also have a serious side (genealogy is a serious pastime as well as fun though) and we sell a comprehensive range of magnifiers for genealogists along with archival and acid free products. The range has grown over the years and continues to do so. Take a look at our website at the products we offer as well as informative sections and details of the full research facility we offer.

Christmas is approaching treat your friends (or even yourself) to something they can “relate” to. May be worth passing on our website to other members of your family as a prompt to buy you something. One can live in hope of that, almost like finding that elusive ancestor! Happy Researching.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Viking DNA

Viking burials yield uncontaminated Viking DNA for important analysis

Vikings are well known in mythology and stories for wearing their famous helmets and being buried with their treasures. Archeaology has discovered some of these helmets, which has provided much detail about the lives of Vikings. Now scientists have now used the human teeth and tissue from the Viking skeletons that have lain undisturbed, buried with their artefacts for over 1000 years, to extract pure Viking DNA to tell us more...

The researchers overcame problems that have plagued previous studies - that of contamination. All living things have DNA and examining archeaological finds always leads to investigators DNA being left on the finds. Danish researchers planned this excavation carefully. They took samples from teeth and bones for DNA testing moments after the ancient skeletons were first unearthed, before any DNA could contaminated the area.

For more information and links visit

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Some useful genealogy websites

I will be attempting to introduce possible helpful new areas of research from websites I have uncovered. These are all free to use with no subscriptions or payments required. Occasional registration maybe required to access the information.

I have given some of the websites using shortened URL’s to make it easier and quicker to type in the website name search. You can then save them into your favourites.

Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms

Have you ever pondered over the cause of death on a death certificate? Stuck trying to work out a cause of death because of strange wording? Try this excellent site for old medical terms. In alphabetical order and some with original document examples.

Manchester & Lancashire FHS Toolbar

Manchester & Lancashire FHS launched a brilliant new browser toolbar for genealogy resources - free download. Once loaded it gives you an instant drop down menu with access to numerous worldwide genealogy sites so easily. From the link below once you access the page select the M&LFHS Toolbar.

Welsh Family History

Do you have Welsh ancestors? A good site for checking out "Common Words & Phrases on Welsh head stones & Memorial Inscriptions" – (Good one for MI coordinators)

Australian War Memorial

Searchable First World War Diaries database by name with some original documents. Whilst on active service Army headquarters, formations and units are required to keep a unit war diary recording their daily activities.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Archival Glue and Adhesive Tapes

Archiving, repair and bonding of all of your research material, old documents, newspaper articles and photographs even if just copies of the originals should always be done using acid free materials. Using traditional Sellotape which is a cellulose tape with a rubber resin adhesive should not be used. The rubber resin adhesive degrades and dries out causing irreparable damage to documents.

An archival preservation acid free adhesive glue or tape should be used to safely repair a torn document or mount items onto acid free paper or card backings.

Often many old family documents, papers, letters, certificates, books, photos and maps can already be torn from poor storage and handling. To avoid further damage and to safely repair and reinforce these documents for preserving, acid free document repair tape should be used. Our repair tape is of archival and conservation quality and used by archives, libraries, schools and museums for document and book repair.

The tape has an acid free clear polyester film with a non yellowing adhesive and incorporates an "exclusive" Peel 'n Place Centering Strip®. This consists of three peel off backing strips (see photograph). After removal of the thin centre strip you can then visual see where to apply the tape over the tear line. This provides far easier and more accurate application to your damaged documents. Once pressure is applied the tape is transparent.

We stock a range of acid free tapes and adhesives for genealogists or indeed anyone who wants to safely preserve their work and documents for generations.

Please feel free to visit our website for more information or contact us if you have a particular question about preservation.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Archival Acid Free Paper and Card

As well as recording your written or printed research using acid free inks you need to ensure you use acid free paper and card. This archival paper and card is not easily found in general stationers.

The acid content in paper determines it's life expectancy. The acid content is measured on a pH scale:

• pH 3-6 very acidic with a short life expectancy

• pH 7 neutral and classed as acid free - lasts 200 years

• pH 14 alkaline with a very long life expectancy - 500 years or more

Acid free paper (pH 7.0 and above) has a high degree of durability and permanence and will last for up to 200 years under normal use and storage conditions. It will not discolour or become brittle with normal handling.

Our acid and alkaline free paper (neutral pH) is suitable for use in both laser and inkjet printers. Also use it for copying, writing and drawing up your family trees or recording any of your important ancestral information.

Using acid free card has additional benefits:

Acid free card provides good support inside the acid free sleeves to protect delicate and fragile documents. The acid free card inserts also form an acid free mount for the certificates, making an attractive display in your binder. Use acid free adhesive or acid free tape to attach descriptive labels around the certificate with details of the ancestral line to which the certificate relates to.

Visit for more information or to buy

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Have you placed your valuable research in clear PVC sleeves? Oh No!

Widely found and used to store documents with other memorabilia, PVC clear plastic sleeves are a definite NO to any family historian. The number of people who approach me at Family History Fairs with old and fragile original family documents (certificates, wills etc) in PVC sleeves is astonishing. What is more surprising is they are not aware of the long term damage PVC can cause to their precious documents.

PVC has plasticisers added that make the PVC soft and pliable. These plasticisers over time migrate into the document and destroy the print and also eat into the paper. You will have seen examples of this when you try to remove a long term stored document and the PVC sleeve is sticky and has some of the print transferred from the paper onto the plastic.

The archival way of storing your documents is to use acid free inert PP (Polypropylene) or PET (Polyester) sleeves. These two are widely used by professional archivists to ensure safe storage of valuable documents and memorabilia. PP is by far the most common type used mainly because of availability and the lower price. The benefit of using PET (used by more professional bodies) is the ultra clarity and generally more lightweight gauge of sleeve.

At Family Tree Folk we stock a wide range of PP sleeves in A4 portrait, landscape and photo sections as well as the longer foolscap certificate size PP and PET sleeves. If you want more information visit our website at or contact us for advice.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Archiving Correctly - Why?

Archiving and storage of all of your valuable research material, old documents, wills, maps, newspaper articles, memorabilia and photographs even if just copies of the originals should always be done using archival acid free materials and archival products.

If you use acidic paper and normal ink your work will fade and deteriorate over a short time span. If you want to preserve your research for generations to come whether it is handwritten or printed it needs to be done on acid free paper or card. It also needs to be written with an acid free ink pen or check your printer ink is acid free (most inkjet printer cartridges now have acid free ink – but check with the manufacturer and avoid cheap compatible cartridges).

Using archival acid free paper and ink your research will last generations (our white paper carries a 200 year guarantee from the suppliers).

You can buy all your genealogy supplies - acid free pens, acid free paper and card, acid free tissue paper, acid free glue and tape as well as certificate and photograph/memorabilia storage binders from Family Tree Folk.

For preserving your certificates, documents and photographs in the binders we supply archival products - acid free pockets, acid free insert card and tabbed dividers. A smaller memorabilia clear pocket is available to store those precious little keepsakes.

We also stock archival acid free document repair tape and kits, pH testing pens and archival white cotton gloves. Used by professional archivists.

Please contact us if you have any queries regarding using any genealogy supplies for preserving and archiving your valuable research items.