Ultraconserved Elements (UCEs) have been useful to resolve challenging phylogenies of non-model clades, unpuzzling long-conflicted relationships in key branches of the Tree of Life at both deep and shallow levels. UCEs are often reliably recovered from historical samples, unlocking a vast number of preserved natural history specimens for analysis. However, the extent to which sample age and preservation method impact UCE recovery as well as downstream inferences remains unclear. Furthermore, there is an ongoing debate on how to curate, filter, and properly analyze UCE data when locus recovery is uneven across sample age and quality. In the present study we address these questions with an empirical dataset composed of over 3800 UCE loci from 219 historical and modern samples of Sciuridae, a globally distributed and ecologically important family of rodents. We provide a genome-scale phylogeny of two squirrel subfamilies (Sciurillinae and Sciurinae: Sciurini) and investigate their placement within Sciuridae. For historical specimens, recovery of UCE loci and mean length per locus were inversely related to sample age; deeper sequencing improved the number of UCE loci recovered but not locus length. Most of our phylogenetic inferences—performed on six datasets with alternative data-filtering strategies, and using three distinct optimality criteria—resulted in distinct topologies. Datasets containing more loci (40% and 50% taxa representativeness matrices) yielded more concordant topologies and higher support values than strictly filtered datasets (60% matrices) particularly with IQ-Tree and SVDquartets, while filtering based on information content provided better topological resolution for inferences with the coalescent gene-tree based approach in ASTRAL-III. We resolved deep relationships in Sciuridae (including among the five currently recognized subfamilies) and relationships among the deepest branches of Sciurini, but conflicting relationships remain at both genus- and species-levels for the rapid Neotropical tree squirrel radiation. Our results suggest that phylogenomic consensus can be difficult and heavily influenced by the age of available samples and the filtering steps used to optimize dataset properties.