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DIY Digitizing Your Family Tree

scansnapHave you made copies of your genealogy research, old family photos, and copies of vital records of your ancestors yet? What’s holding you back? One fire, or natural disaster, could wipe out all those precious pieces of paper. Genealogists should take the time to make digital copies of important documents and photos. Not only does that provide you with an extra copy, it also makes them easier to share with family members.

The New York Times published an article that all genealogists should read. It was titled Digitizing the Family History and was written by J.D. Biersdorfer.

The article states that it is possible to take your old family photos, ancestor’s journals, and vital records to somewhere like FedEx that can make copies for you. Or, you can save money by doing it yourself. The article also has excellent details for the more tech-savvy genealogists to consider.

It is entirely possible for genealogists who are only somewhat comfortable with technology to go ahead and “DIY” the digitizing of important family documents. Purchase (or borrow) a hand held wand scanner. Follow the directions it comes with. Those handy little scanners were designed to make it really easy for people to scan, digitize, and digitally store paper documents.

Some (but not all) printers have a scanner function. If your printer said it was “multi-use”, you may be in luck. You can start scanning vital records, photos, and pages from an ancestor’s journal, one at a time. The process can be a bit tedious, so you may want to break it up into small bunches.

Where are you going to put the digital copies of what you have scanned into your computer? You might be surprised how quickly your hard drive can run out of space because it has filled up. One solution is to purchase an external hard drive. Scan everything, and store the digital copy on the external hard drive, instead of on your computer’s main drive.

It is much easier to share digitized copies of documents with your relatives than it is to mail out physical copies. You can attach a digital copy of an old family photo into an email, and send it out to your family member. Put a bunch of stuff on a thumb drive and hand that to your relative the next time the two of you are together. There are also plenty of other ways, but these are simple enough that even people who are not tech-savvy can do them.

Image by TAKA@P.P.R.S on Flickr.

Related Articles:

* Wand Scanning Family Photos and Documents

* Scanned Documents

* Don’t Snooze – Back Up Your Computer Family Data

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