Brittany – In my earlier reply, I failed to mention one thing. In our accessioning, we differentiate in PP between the items entering the Permanent Collection and other items we want to book-keep…..particularly for research only. It would seem your family files fall in the latter and you might think about setting up a unique Accession Catagory. This would give you all the PP capabilities but fall outside your Collections Management Policy and can be unique in reports and searches.
Re Bian Gomez quote…in our cataloging, items enter the Collection as artifacts but are not part of an archive and are 2D in nature – Maps, Checklists, Letters, etc. We will view these as Objects. Storage will be based on type of material (paper) and location on intent of the Object i.e. Research Library.