Friday, July 1, 2011

Argh! Vinyl

As I’ve mentioned before, I have received boxes of binders of genealogical information from Grammy. For the most part, she organized her artifacts and research into binders. I’m sure she spent a fortune on page protectors!

Recently I came across a page protector in one of the binders that contained 3 pages, all copies. All items were related to the military service of Carlos C. Collins in the US Army in World War I.

I had a few of goals with regards to these documents:

  • Glean the genealogical facts from the 3 documents
  • Scan the originals so that I could attach the digital image to my genealogy database
  • Split the documents into separate page protectors so that they could all be seen without having to handle them
When I started to remove the certificate of Honorable Discharge from The United States Army from the page protector for scanning, I found it hopelessly stuck. That’s when I realized that this was an old page protector made of vinyl. I've learned from dealing with photographs from the 1970s that vinyl photo pages or sheet protectors were bad news. This was hard evidence to that fact! Fortunately, it’s only a photocopy, but it’s my only copy nevertheless.

At first I tried to force the sheet out of the protector but realized that I was damaging it irreparably. “Stop! Don’t do anything that can’t be undone,” I told myself. I ended up putting the document, page protector and all, on the scanner while I thought about my next steps. I was able to extract the other two pages with minimal damage, but was still left with the stuck Honorable Discharge certificate.

After placing the Enlistment Record in a fresh (safe) page protector and the certificate of promotion to Sergeant in a separate one, I trimmed the edges and back off of the vinyl page protector containing the Honorable Discharge certificate and placed the certificate, along with the remaining vinyl inside a new safe page protector. Now, at least only the one page is affected by the vinyl.

If anyone has an idea on a better solution to the problem, please comment.

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