Thursday, March 31, 2016

Truly March Madness...DiGITizE your old stuff!

Aside from my brackets being shot after 2 days of basketball madness, my parents' basement flooded.

It was a mess.  THANKFULLY about 5 years ago I went on a digitizing craze.  During that time I digitized almost all my mom had as far as family photos and documents were concerned.  Unfortunately, due to my mad organization skills tons of the photos I had digitized got ruined because they were all together in folders and the dampness of the house made the photographs all stick together.  Ironically the ones heaved in drawers were totally fine because they weren't tightly packed. LESSON LEARNED.

But after a full weekend of cleaning, sifting, and sorting here's a peak at my mess that I have to sift through now...

Apparently after my uncle passed away my mom had inherited a lot of his documents and photos which also had a lot of family history stuff in there.

Look at this gem...

It's a family log from 1901.  It has tons of names and dates of births, deaths, marriages, blessings, baptisms, etc...I was so excited to get it digitized.  I sneaked a visit into the BYU Family History Library last weekend with my 7 year old to get it done.  She appeases my obsession once in a while. Sometime she even pretends to enjoy it with me.  The library has some great book scanners, and it was super fun to involve my kiddo, though she insisted that she wasn't actually doing family history work because "it was only pushing a button".

I LOVE finding new treasures!  There's lots of other treasures in this pile too...but it'll take some time before I'm able to report on all of them.

Bottom line...if I hadn't digitized when I did, I'm certain we would have lost some irreplaceable stuff. Unfortunately we did lose some originals but we have really great digital images of those pictures that we can print, copy or share.  Yes, it's a lot of work and it requires some planning, but it's worth it.  So if you haven't yet digitized your stuff and you'd like some guidance on where to start, check out my post about DIY Digitizing.

Monday, March 21, 2016

DIY Scanning

Scanning or digitizing your family treasure trove can seem to be an incredibly daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.  If you take a few minutes to educate yourself on the basics then you can make an informed decision about the best route for you and your archive.

I got going on it myself in 2010.  I admit photos was an obsession before family history entered my radar--I'd say photos, digital scrap-booking, and family movies was what led me to discover my love for genealogy.  So I'm pretty sure I am genetically hard-wired this way.  So with 6 years of experience under my belt and research on the subject I'll give you the basics.

First of all, assess what you've got, and what you can and want to digitize.  You'll likely be surprised at the things that you'll find as you start to dig.  Things like photos and documents are easy to scan, but many of us have things like film, tape, & heirlooms that can be a little more tricky to digitize.

Next, learn a bit about file formats and resolution.  You'll want to know what your ultimate goal is...are you digitizing for display, preservation, or just as back up.  Here are some super brief articles to get you up to speed quickly: Learn about file formats & Learn about resolution.

Now you'll want to decide which approach is best for you, here are some ideas and things to consider about each. I'll save the best for last...