This week on Who Do You Think You Are? actress Vanessa Williams used military records, obituaries, and a census record from Ancestry (shown below) to find the amazing stories of ancestors who helped break down barriers and forge new ground in history.

5 Steps to Preserving Family Photos

Vanessa was presented with photos of her ancestor who fought in the Civil War. Here are some tips on preserving family photos.

1. Do not touch: Hold all photos, old and new, by their edges and only with clean, dry hands. You can also invest in a pair of non-latex examination gloves.

2. Create a digital: For recent photos that are in good shape but not digitized, use a scanner to make a copy or use your digital camera and zoom in to make a high quality photo. With photo albums, it’s often best to scan full pages one at a time to reduce the risk of tearing photos.

3. Store properly: Once you’ve made a copy, visit a local office supply or craft shop for acid and lignin-free boxes and folders and for protective sleeves and labeling tools that will help you organise photos and protect prints.

4. Upload the copies: Use your family tree to store the digital copies of your family photos (you can also attach the photos to people in your tree). Don’t forget to store additional copies on DVDs and keep a back-up copy on your hard-drive.

5. Create something great: Use your digital copies to create a photo book or a family history book that lets you show off all of those great snapshots. Add captions, stories, and family history information. Most photo-storage sites let you publish photo books from the images you’ve uploaded to them.

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