New York State Funeral Directors Association

Historic Documents Require Careful Handling and Storage

Almost everyone has treasured family papers and documents that record events in their own lives and the lives of their ancestors.

These papers can take many forms and their condition can vary greatly, depending on how the paper was made (poor-quality newsprint vs. strong paper used for handwritten letters or typescript) as well as how it has been stored and handled.

Your goal: Do no harm and help ensure preservation for future generations. Here are a few tips:

Gravesite visits during holidays offer a sharp contrast to the respect some people get after they die – namely the unlucky ones who apparently didn’t do enough during their lives to merit the respect most who are buried get.

These poor folks have been turned into spectacles, decorations, paperweights, whittling material and an ash tray.

These are my newest examples that depict the plight of the #Unliving.

Their grave sites were stripped of remains, their bones hung in museums and displayed to the masses.

Eventually, Native Americans spoke up and said enough is enough.

They wanted their ancestors buried, and their voices forced the creation of a federal law that’s done a lot for the remains of some #Unliving humans in the U.S.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

Video: Family History

Today, resources are becoming more widely available, giving people the ability to learn exciting stories about their ancestors. Find 14 great tips on the Blog.


SympathyNotes is written to stimulate discussion of death and grief. Opinions do not reflect the views of NYSFDA.

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