The Archive Lady: Flattening Rolled Documents

The Archive Lady: Flattening Rolled Documents

Launa from California asks: Currently our family has two documents for our great-grandmother who was postmaster in a small town in Ohio in 1925. They came to me by way of father-in-law’s wife some 25 years ago. They were rolled up in a tub, I have taken digital images of them both, but should I leave them rolled in the tub or have them flattened? What is the best way to store them without the funds for special archiving?

Launa asks a question that a lot of genealogists want to know about when it comes to their rolled documents. Should they be flattened or should they be kept rolled up? It is my professional opinion as an archivist that all rolled documents should be flattened. The act of rolling and unrolling documents can be very damaging to the documents. The creases and bends made in the documents, over time, can cause tears and rips which severely damages the documents.

Rolled Maps, Houston County, TN. Archives

Rolled Maps, Houston County, TN. Archives

Flattening a rolled document can be a fairly simple process. With these step-by-step instructions, flattening documents can be done by the home archivist. Many genealogists have a hard time purchasing archival materials due to the price. It is true that archival materials are two to three times more expensive than non-archival materials. Not everyone can afford to purchase archival materials all the time and it is quite understandable.

With this process to flattened the postmaster documents that Launa has is quite simple and very inexpensive. The materials needed for this process are items from around the house. Possibly the most difficult part of this project will be the time it takes for it to be completed.

The step-by-step instructions for flattening any documents is as follows:

  • Locate a flat surface where the rolled document can be flattened for an extended period of time without being disturbed. Be sure the area that is chosen is not in direct sunlight.
  • Place a bed sheet, table cloth of just some copy paper on the flat surface to unroll the document onto. Do not lay the document directly on the table, use some kind of clean buffer between the table and the document.
  • Gently unroll the document on the flat surface with the front of the document facing down towards the table. Unroll the document slowly and carefully so as to not tear or damage the document. Temporarily place heavy books on the document to hold it down until it is lying flat.
Heavy Books, Houston County, TN. Archives

Heavy Books, Houston County, TN. Archives

  • One at a time, remove the heavy books and at the same time lay another bed sheet, table cloth or more copy paper on top of the unrolled document for protection.
  • Replace the heavy books along all four edges of the document. It is even better if heavy books can be placed on the entire document.
Books Holding Down a rolled Map, Houston County, TN. Archives

Books Holding Down a rolled Map, Houston County, TN. Archives

  • Leave the document in this position for two weeks. After two weeks, check the document and see if it is flat. If the document is not flat, leave it for another two weeks. Repeat this process until the document has flattened. It’s possible this process could take a month or more.
Flattened Maps, Houston County, TN. Archives

Flattened Maps, Houston County, TN. Archives

  • Once the documents are flattened, store them in archival boxes and on shelves.

Flattening documents in this manner is easy, inexpensive and will keep the documents from becoming damaged due to handling.

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Researching in Libraries and Archives: The Do's and Don'ts Legacy QuickGuide

Researching in Libraries and Archives: The Do’s and Don’ts
Legacy QuickGuide 

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If you have a question about researching in archives or records preservation for The Archive Lady, send an email with your question to: melissabarker20@hotmail.com

Melissa Barker - The Archive LadyMelissa Barker lives in Tennessee Ridge, Tennessee. She is the Houston County (TN) Archivist and a Professional Genealogist. She writes the blog, A Genealogist in the Archives, and has been researching her own family for over 26 years. She lectures, teaches and writes about researching in archives and records preservation. 

©2017, copyright Melissa Barker. All rights Reserved.

Genealogy Bargains for Thursday 23 February 2017

The Complete Guide to Google Photos: The Fantastic Free Tool for Curating Past and Present Pictures

UPDATED GENEALOGY BARGAINS for Thursday, February 23, 2017

INDEX of Genealogy Bargains

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NEW Genealogy Bargains

The Complete Guide to Google Photos: The Fantastic Free Tool for Curating Past and Present Pictures

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The Write Stuff - Genealogy educator & author Lisa A. Alzo announces her successful online classes for genealogists seeking to improve their writing skills.

  • NEW! Save over 30% on The Write Stuff – and improve your family history writing skills. For the past three years, genealogy educator and author Lisa A. Alzo has been conducting successful online classes for genealogists seeking to improve their writing skills. Her course – The Write Stuff – is now available in a self-paced format at a savings of 30%. Regularly $129, you can now get this course for just $89 – use promo code FRUGALGEN at checkout – this offer is good through February 28th. Click here for more information.

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ONGOING Genealogy Bargains

FamilySearch is offering an amazing opportunity - to attend a British Isles Research Seminar, in person OR online, March 13-17, 2017

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Save up to $150 at Legacy Tree Genealogists: Have you hit a genealogy brick wall you can't seem to overcome? Or maybe you've always wanted to know more about your family history, but don't have the time to dedicate to research? Our Winter Sale is going on now through March 1st. Order genealogy research and preserve your legacy today!

Save up to $150 at Legacy Tree Genealogists: Have you hit a genealogy brick wall you can’t seem to overcome? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know more about your family history, but don’t have the time to dedicate to research? Our Winter Sale is going on now through March 1st. Order genealogy research and preserve your legacy today!

During our Winter Sale new clients can enjoy $100 off of a 20-hour research project, or $150 off a 40-hour research project.

20-Hour Research Project:

  • Professional research and analysis on your family tree.
  • Best for 1-2 surname lines and 1-4 generations.
  • Includes printed report and documents, deluxe binder, private webpage, and up to $50 in document fees.
  • May be split into 3 monthly payments.
  • Project completed in 10-12 weeks (rush available).

40-Hour Research Project:

  • Extensive research and analysis on multiple parts of your family tree.
  • Best for 2-4 surname lines and 1-6 generations.
  • Includes printed report and documents, deluxe binder, private webpage, and all document fees.
  • May be split into 3 monthly payments.
  • Project completed in 10-12 weeks.

Click here for more information – via Legacy Tree Genealogists

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FREE ACCESS Black History collection at fold3 - “Throughout U.S. History, African Americans have played an integral part in the development and achievement of this country. Fold3 is now revealing a side of the African American story that few have seen before. View more than a million rare photos and documents.”

  • FREE ACCESS Black History collection at fold3 – “Throughout U.S. History, African Americans have played an integral part in the development and achievement of this country. Fold3 is now revealing a side of the African American story that few have seen before. View more than a million rare photos and documents.”  Click here to access – via fold3

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Disclaimer

All prices and offers are subject to change. Some items may be sold out and have limited inventory. Also check to see if you have automated purchase settings enabled, such as Amazon Buy with 1-Click: it is your responsibility to make sure you are getting the correct price for an item before you check out and finalize the transaction.

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

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©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Thursday, 23 February 2017

On 23 February 1945, the US flag was raised on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima by US Marines. Almost 20,000 American soldiers lost their lives before the island was finally taken from the Japanese on 16 March 1945.

On 23 February 1945, the US flag was raised on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima by US Marines. Almost 20,000 American soldiers lost their lives before the island was finally taken from the Japanese on 16 March 1945.


Today is Thursday, 23 February 2017, and here is what’s available in terms of genealogy blogging and other related events in the Genealogy Blogging world:

Genealogy Blogging Items of Note

  • Today: Curling Is Cool Day, Diesel Engine Patented – Anniversary, Iwo Jima Day – Anniversary, and World Spay Day.

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