ADVERTISEMENT

Free Family History “Stuff” Keep or Toss Checklist

By Denise May Levenick

As you sort through an inherited family archive of papers, photos, genealogy records, albums, newspaper clippings, magazines and other assorted “stuff,” you might be tempted to either keep everything or throw everything out. Resist both of these urges. Instead, look at each item and download our checklist to help you quickly decide what to save and what to trash (shred any records with sensitive information).

ADVERTISEMENT

Receive your free copy of our Family History “Stuff” Keep or Toss Checklist form by clicking the button below.

ADVERTISEMENT

Get the Family History “Stuff” Keep or Toss Checklist in PDF format:

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Keep:

  • vital records
  • graduation, baby, marriage invitations and announcements
  • educational records—school report cards, school photos
  • military records—discharge papers, letters, awards
  • Christmas cards and envelopes
  • Christmas card list
  • recipes, handwritten favorites
  • address books
  • bank passbooks
  • income tax returns
  • journals, diaries, ledgers
  • scrapbooks, autograph and photo albums
  • correspondence
  • employment records—pay stubs, contracts, résumés (keep enough to verify employment and salary)
  • telephone books
  • city and club directories and rosters
  • genealogy and family history charts, narratives, family trees

Skim, then toss:

  • church and club newsletters (skim first for family news and consider saving a representative copy)
  • cancelled checks, check registers (skim first for purchases of family heirlooms or details on relatives’ cost of living)
  • news clippings (skim for news of family or friends)
  • travel itineraries and brochures (skim for information on trips or places where relatives might live)
  • old calendars (skim for anniversaries and dates of birth)
  • receipts (skim for purchases of heirlooms and other important items such as automobiles)
  • medical bills and records (extract genealogical information before throwing away)

Toss:

  • random newspaper and magazine clippings 
  • bank statements
  • old insurance policies (check first whether they’re still in effect)
  • travel brochures

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get Your Free Essential Genealogy Research Forms

Sign up for the Family Tree Newsletter and receive 10 research forms as a special thank you!

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Download the Essential Family Tree Forms Library!

Can’t get enough forms to organize family facts? This download contains over 100+ templates, checklists and worksheets to track your research—from conflicting death dates to DNA matches, censuses to source citations.
BUY NOW

{"cart_token":"","hash":"","cart_data":""}