Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Storage Is Acidic!

I just tested my storage materials with the Abbey pH pen and found that some of them are acidic.  Here's the link to the pen on Gaylord Archival, but there are a lot of options on the market.  If you draw a line with the pen, it will be yellow if it is acidic and purple if it is alkaline.  The mark is permanent, so don't do it on a valuable document.

The Good News
  • Plain copy paper from Office Depot is alkaline.  So I don't have to buy whatever expensive paper the archival suppliers are selling.
  • My plastic document sleeves are good.  Polypropylene sleeves are good but others are acidic - sometimes you can even smell chlorine or something awful when you open a sleeve and sniff and those are definitely acidic.

The Bad News
  • One of my cardboard document storage boxes is a leftover from U-Haul from my latest move, and it's acidic.  But all the boxes I bought from an archival supplier are alkaline.  So this news is just a little bit bad and mostly good.

The Ugly News
  • My manila folders (at least some of them) are acidic.  No good storing my genealogy records in acidic folders, so I'll replace all of those.  I had made one folder for each ancestor and stuck a label on it with the ancestor's name, dates, and Grandma number, so I'll have to re-do all those labels.  Office Depot sells non-acidic manila folders that are a bit more expensive, but not as bad as the ones from archival suppliers, so I'll order a box of those.
The Moral
  • Always look for "acid-free" when you are buying genealogy supplies.  You don't want to leave a yellowed, crumbling mess to posterity after all the work you've done on research.
  • Test materials with a pH pen before you buy and use a bunch of them.

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