Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scanning, Scanning, Scanning

Ah - a dream of every genealogist is to have photos, letters, and other pieces of paper that give a clue as to the everyday life of our ancestors.

Well, since I've been letting everyone in my family know that I am doing genealogy (and trust me, it hasn't been an easy task to get everyone to listen), they began giving me boxes and boxes of photos, letters, funeral cards - you name it.

While I love these precious items because they bring my family to life in ways that a census record never could, I get a headache just thinking about scanning, labeling, and storing all of these items safely.

It is a daunting task! I want to make sure that I do all of this right so that my children may have these items someday. But how do you do it right? Well - that requires research, lots and lots of research.

I know that one of the few things that are keeping my sane is playing music as I scan. The good beat atleast keeps me from loosing my mind!

So what are some of the things that YOU recommend to make scanning easier, more enjoyable, and safe for your items? I would love to hear from you guys!


Msteri said...

Hi Elyse,

I love reading your blog and I have tagged you with the "I Heart Your Blog" award. The details are on my blog Heritage Happens.


DJ said...

Hi! I just found your blog after viewing a couple of your videos on YouTube. Great videos by the way. :) Anyhoo, it's been a project of mine to also scan all of the old newspaper clippings, birth certificates, etc., as well as the huge number of old family photos. I just finished up on the family photos & I thought I'd share a couple of hints with you.

I don't know how you are doing your scanning, one photo at a time or as many photos as will fit on bed of your scanner. I did the later, took less time for sure. But in doing it that way, you lose your chance of naming each photo file with the person(s) name. And as you know, with digital files, you can't write their names on the back. Darn it!!! lol One way to fix that is, once you've got it scanned, open up a graphic editing program (PhotoShop, PhotoFiltre, etc), make a duplicate copy of the scan & then edit each photo with the person(s) name on their picture. You can even make special notations about the photo if you'd like, such as when the picture was taken, where, etc. I then name each photo/file by number. The first photo/file (the original) will be "1.tif" & the copy (with the names added) will be "1a.jpeg". Then the second scanned photo will be "2.tif", with the edited being "2a.jpeg" & so forth.

Also, when I'm scanning I save the original scan in the "TIF" format, I've always read/heard that for archival purposes, the "TIF" format is your best bet. You get the best quality with "TIF". And the reason why I save the edited copy in a "JPEG" format is, it is just for identifying purposes only & I don't need an archival quality. Plus "JPEGs" aren't as big in file size as the "TIFs" are.

I hope that helps you a little bit? And keep up the good work! :) I'd give almost anything if I had gotten the genealogy bug back when I was your age! I didn't really get into it till around 1992 or so. And sad to say, I had lost several good family resources by then.

Good luck!

Miriam said...

"What are some of the things that YOU recommend to make scanning easier, more enjoyable, and safe for your items?"

My answer: make a party out of it!

I'm glad you're joining us tomorrow, Elyse!