Spring cleaning is traditionally thought to be a time of decluttering and clearing, but there is also an opportunity to bring special meaning to the items you *do* own.
We’re referring to all of your photo albums and family heirlooms that you keep meaning to go through…but haven’t yet. Well, if there’s ever been a year to take an active role in preserving your family history, this is it!
In partnership with Ancestry®, we took some time to sift through our own sentimental items, which was extremely rewarding. In these uncertain times, it was a comforting reminder to see how resilient our ancestors were, and share that with the rest of our family.
Here are our tips on how to preserve your family items to provide meaningful connections for generations to come:
1. Edit Your Items
Set aside anything you find that provides the richest insights into someone’s life. This may include family and wedding photos, birth and marriage certificates, one-of-a-kind handwritten letters. These are key to preserving an ancestor’s personal stories, their personality, and what their life was like at that time.
2. Go Digital
The safest way to preserve is to digitize. Think about how easy it is to lose or damage paper of any kind. Do you really want to possibly lose your grandma’s wedding photos? Didn’t think so.
When you create an account on Ancestry.com (which is free to create and all you need to start building your family tree!), you can snap a photo of documents, photos or even physical heirlooms from your device, upload it to the site, and attach it to your family tree. Not only does this allow you to sleep better at night knowing it’s there for safe keeping, but you’ll also be able to share it with family near and far in just a click.
3. Get Specific
Every photo tells a story, so as you’re uploading them to your family tree to make them discoverable for more family across the world, try to provide as much detail as possible. You’ll want to include the year, names, location, etc. Start with what you know and if you need help, ask other family members to help you fill in the gaps.
4. Store vs. Display
Once you sift through everything and find the most important keepsakes, we love displaying them in a shadow box or frame — it can add a personal touch to any space!
5. Create a System:
To create a physical archive in your home, we recommend using archival photo boxes to keep the items protected for generations to come. You can either store in broad categories, such as year or family member, or subcategorize by occasion. The system you create depends on how you will access these items in the future.
Those who want to start their own spring cleaning project can visit Ancestry’s blog for a full “how to” guide on uploading memories, starting with creating an account on Ancestry.com — it’s free to create an account and all you need to begin building your family tree.
xo, clea + joanna