"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"
Preserving a Lock of Hair
Genealogists love anything they can get their hands on about their ancestors. Whether that is documents, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia, we want to collect it all. Many times family members hand down or bequeath genealogical related records and memorabilia to the next generation.
A lock of hair could be one of those unique items that a genealogist could receive among all the other documents and photos. In some families, it was even customary to clip a lock of hair from the deceased to save the memory of that person.
Today's tip will explain how to preserve a lock of hair so that it endures for generations to come. For this example, I have used a lock of hair located in the Houston County, TN. Archives.
This lock of hair is housed in an old harmonica box and is tied with a delicate blue ribbon in the Houston County, TN. Archives. On the top of the box is handwritten "N.H. Scholes, Halls Creek, Tenn". You can also see a place where there was once a postage stamp. I estimate that this lock of hair and box are dated to the late 1800's or early 1900's.
|Harmonica Box with lock of hair. Located in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
First, the lock of hair was photographed, in the box and out of the box, to document the original disposition of the artifact. It is important that the lock of hair in the possession of the genealogist be documented in a similar way.
|Photo of artifact inside the box as received. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
|Photo of artifact outside of the box. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
Next, the box was lined with a piece of acid free, archival safe tissue paper.
|Harmonica box with acid free tissue paper. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
Then the lock of hair was carefully placed in the tissue paper lined box.
|Lock of hair in the box with acid free tissue paper. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
Last, carefully fold in the sides and ends of the tissue paper so that the lock of hair is entirely covered. Replace the lid back on the box.
|Completed preservation of the lock of hair. Located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
The box with the lock of hair is then placed in an acid free box for additional protection. If you just have a lock of hair with no original storage container, purchase an archival safe box to preserve the lock of hair.
Locks of hair in the genealogists collections need to be preserved right along with the paper records and treasured for generations to come.
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