Records at Risk
Not many family records survive. Most people have few if any items that once belonged to
a grandparent or great-grandparent. Rarely is a descendant lucky enough to have inherited
a locket or comb or watch or Bible or lock of hair, let alone any old letters, diaries, or
What happened to all those items that belonged to people living three or more generations
ago? Almost all of it probably was thrown away because it became broken, unusable or, most
of all, unwanted or unappreciated.
Generally, those bits of material with family heritage value that do manage to survive are
not saved in proper ways, so they deteriorate or become damaged or ruined. The bottom line
is your family records must be valued or they risk being thrown away. They must be
protected to prevent damage, ruin or loss.
The information contained on this page comes from a variety of sources, but relies heavily
on The Everything Family Tree Book by William G. Hartley (Adams Media, 1998) and Ancestors:
A Beginner's Guide to Family History & Genealogy by Jim & Terry Willard with Jane Wilson
(Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997).