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A Genealogist In The Archives: Preserving and Protecting Your Ancestor's Vinyl Records

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Preserving and Protecting Your Ancestor's Vinyl Records

From the 1940's to 1980's, vinyl record albums were the way to listen to music. While the radio was popular and in almost every household, the record album was played everywhere. With the invention of the 8-track, cassette tape and CD, the record album went by the wayside. Recently, there has been a comeback and there are now stores selling retro record albums and even some music artists are recording their newest hits on vinyl.

Do you have piles of record albums? Did you inherit vinyl from your parents or grandparents? Maybe you have a stack of 78s or 45s that belonged to that favorite Uncle. Maybe you have your own prized collection of vinyl record albums. There is a specific way to preserve and archive vinyl records so that they are preserved for generations to come. This process is simple and any home archivist can do it!

All record albums should be stored standing up and not laying down. Whether you are storing record albums on shelves or in archival boxes, they should always be standing on their end. If the album is loose and does not have a sleeve, you can purchase record album sleeves from Amazon or through an online archival store (see links below). 

Do not stack record albums one on top of the other and never stack many albums together. The weight of the albums can crack the ones on the bottom of the stack. Either store the albums on a shelf or in an archival box specially made for record albums. If stored on a shelf, be sure that the environment is a cool, dark and most importantly dry place. Humidity and the heat from the sun can warp record albums. It is preferred that records albums be stored in archival safe boxes that can be purchased through or one of the online archival materials stores.

Music may have been part of our ancestor's lives. The record album collections they left behind can tell us that part of their life story. As we preserve their paper records, let's also preserve their music heritage.



Online Archival Materials Stores

Gaylord Archival

University Products


Hollinger Metal Edge 

Light Impressions


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Researching in Libraries and Archives


  1. There are attempts to archive/preserve those 78's online for future generations to hear. Once digitized, even if the physical vinyls get lost or damaged, the music itself remains, with credit to the donor. This option may be of interest to some of your readers.

  2. Char, Yes! this is a great project and one that I have shared on social media but not on my blog, thanks for the suggestion! Thank You for reading my blog!