If you have read this Box series since the beginning, you know the size and scope of the photos I received ten years ago. It was a huge box with rather random photos and papers included. My daughter has been doing the scanning. We’ve been doing the titling together. Luckily, when I picked up the photos ten years ago, I managed to ask my grandma or aunt who certain people were and made notes. So they aren’t all completely unidentified.
If you undertake a project like this, you will likely develop your own system and methods. Do what works best for you and makes the most sense with your filing system. Ours goes like this:
- My daughter, Ellie, scans an image. She asks me who about the image if there are no notes. If there are notes, she can figure out the title.
- She titles the images along the lines of “surname-firstname-event or number-year” so that it might be “Dimick-Leland-1” or “Kindervater-Ernestine-Wedding-1895.” If we don’t know one of the elements (such as the year) then we just leave it off. These might change after I do some of the research, but for now, they are titled in a way that lets me know what is in the file.
- She uploads the images to a shared Google Drive folder.
- Later, I download the scanned images to my hard drive to the folders where I keep all of my family history photos.
The Google Drive looks like this:
The eagle-eyed among you might notice a difference in file types. We had settings set up for .tif (my preferred file for photos). However, when we moved to a new scanner, we didn’t get the file type set for some of the photos and didn’t notice until she had done many. We decided not to redo all of those .jpg files for now. Someday we might go back to it. But for now, the images are digitized as well as in an archival box and that’s good enough for me.
Those digitized photos will sit in the Google Drive for a while. I have not decided if I will leave them there. My hard drive gets backed up to a cloud backup server, so I don’t feel the need to duplicate them in another location. However, I will leave them there until I get my filing done on my hard drive…just in case.
Mainly, when tackling a large project like this, figuring out a system and sticking to it is the most important. Then it’s just a matter of hiring a teenager to do the repetitive tasks. If you don’t have a teenager you can hire, especially in these times of social distancing, the task of scanning and titling your photos is not difficult.
Put on a movie or audio book or music and get scanning!