Tag Archives: preservation

Box Adventures: Scanning is Slow Going

My daughter is staying home for the most part. She has a few safe-distance visits with a couple of friends, and they all wear masks responsibly (and if you are reading this in the future, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic). She’s also knitted about 15 sweaters since staying-at-home started, and she reported that she’d watched every video on YouTube. A couple of times per week she comes and scans the photos and items from the box. She gets about 15 or 20 done usually.

The photos tend to fall into one of these categories:

  • childhood pictures of me
  • childhood pictures of my brother
  • pictures of ancestors
  • pictures of people I don’t know
  • pictures of scenery
  • more childhood pictures of me (I guess no one else wanted them)

So, here are a bunch of pictures of me at varying degrees of development. Enjoy!

Box Adventures: Sorting and Planning

Box Adventures_ Sorting and Planning

Ok, so I’ve unpacked my box. It was jam-packed full of treasures that will take me months to sort through. I’m excited. So what to do first? Honestly, I have no idea…but here is what my preliminary plan is.

Step 1: Sort into types of items

Largely, there are photographs here. Some of them, I know I already have digital copies of from a time back when I was allowed to scan them, but not keep them (before the downsizing). There are also newspaper clippings as well as full newspapers. I will need to figure out why that newspaper was kept and perhaps clip out the important part (keeping the title, date, page, column for the citation, of course). There are large family reunion photo prints that have been rolled up. There are envelopes with who knows what inside. So sorting is my current project.

Step 2: Decide how to preserve each type of item

I could scan, photograph, frame, clip, store in archival boxes, and so on. Each item is going to have a different solution. Determining that solution will be next and I’ll tackle each item separately. For example, I probably don’t need to keep the actual newspaper or clipping if I get a good scan of them. Newsprint is terribly acidic and doesn’t hold up well over time. But if I make a scan and print on archival paper, it might last longer. Making each of these determinations is going to vary.

Step 3: Do the task set forth in step 2 for each item

This step could take months. The process of scanning and putting the item into whatever the final form will be is going to be lengthy. And I think one I can hire my teenaged daughter to help with since she’s home right now.

Step 4: Catalog each item

Putting the information into my family tree software, the digital image stored in my digital filing system, and a copy stored in my binder system will likely come at the end. And this is going to be the fun part! My initial thought is that my daughter can scan the item and name them in a pre-determined format then put them in a dropbox folder we share. Then one-by-one I can go through them and put them in their appropriate places. It is during this step that I will also craft the citations for each item.

Up next…getting into the sorting. I hope my daughter is ready!

Getting Organized: Paper or Digital?

The first post in this series last week garnered some comments on the post itself or on my Facebook page relating to digitizing your files. Some are completely paper free which is great. Others still like paper. I say there’s no superior system. The only superior system is the one that is working for YOU. So if paper makes more sense to you, then keep your files on paper. If you cannot stand the clutter, then perhaps a digitized system is yours. Personally, I use both.

I grew up in a world before the Internet (it seems so long ago) and I struggle to really connect with my ancestors when “they” (their documents) are entirely digital. My paper system organizes their documents in chronological order so that when I am looking through a person’s binder, I have a visual timeline of their life, at least in terms of the documents they left behind. (We’ll cover this in more detail in a later post.)

Before you can organize paper or digital, you have to decide HOW you’re going to organize.¬†Find a system that makes sense to you. Spend some time thinking about how you think about your ancestors, their documents, accessing their documents, and so on. You’ll want to match your filing in a way that matches how you think about the documents. The possibilities are endless! Here are a few ideas:

  • by surname
  • by location
  • by family line
  • by event (marriages, deaths)
  • alphabetically
  • by document type/repositoryStay Tuned TV
  • chronological order

Or a combination of any of the above.

As I mentioned, I organize my documents in chronological order. It’s more detailed than that, and it is the subject of the next post so stay tuned!