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Archival Answers: Getting to the Point
What type of pens would you suggest for preserving family history in a scrapbook or journal?

Q. What type of pens would you suggest for preserving family history in a scrapbook or journal?

A. A set of high-quality pigment-ink pens for writing photo captions and journaling in your scrapbook is perhaps the best investment you can make to preserve your family history. Pigment ink typically resists fading and bleeding better than the dye inks used in many colored pens and markers. Though pens are often labeled "acid-free," don't let yourself be misled — ink can be acid-free and still bleed or fade in a short period of time.

Pens used for archival purposes also should be waterproof. You can easily test this by writing on a sheet of paper, letting the ink dry (it should take less than a minute), and then trying to smudge it with water. If the ink smears, pass up the pen for scrapbook purposes. Also steer clear of pens that have a noticeable odor — that indicates the presence of potentially harmful solvents that can cause staining, yellowing or fading in your photos. (This means no journaling with permanent markers!) For use in heritage albums, we especially like Sakura's Pigma Micron pens.
Find inspiration for writing in your family albums and journals in What to Write to Make Meaningful Albums by Melody Ross and You Don't Have to be Famous by Steve Zousmer.
From the May 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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