Weekly Planner: Scan Documents

scanner.bmpAre all of your documents in electronic form? Provided you have access to a scanner, scanning documents is a great way to take your research with you wherever you go. Look through the folders and binders you have and do one family at a time, scanning records and saving them to files set up by surname, or add them to your online software. Having them all in one place makes it easy to reference them without having to lug out large files. If you have a laptop, you will have your records with you wherever you take your computer.

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6 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Scan Documents

  1. I also scan documents and post them to my website at Rootsweb in order to share them with family members that don’t live near me. It is also handy when traveling and don’t feel like carrying my laptop. I know I can use a library or archive computer to access my site and look at information I need. I try to keep an up-to-date GEDCOM posted at Worldconnect as well for the same reason. It’s a great back up plan for keeping my information, documents and photos safe in case of computer trouble.

  2. Scanning documents and saving them to files by surname is good, but also consider categorizing documents and naming them with a letter and a dash followed by the surname/key word. Key words may be cemetery name, etc. This can also apply to pdf, video, and sound files. Mine are all in a “MultiMedia” folder with subfolders for each category. However, if in one folder, files readily sort into categories which are then by surname. Following are examples:
    T- tombstone
    TC- cemetery (e.g., entrance)
    P- photograph
    PP- people
    PB- buildings
    M- marriage records (license/certificate)
    D- death record
    O- obituaries
    C- census
    M- maps
    L- land transactions
    B- birth records

    If you already have your scanned images in a file, open the folder in “thumbnail” view and making subfolders for your categories. This then allows you to readily drag the file to the appropriate subfolder.
    Then you will have grouped files by a category, and there are free programs that allow you to “rename” and thus add the appropriate prefix (e.g., T-, B-) to all files in the subfolder. Also, for tombstones, consider identify specific cemeteries by adding a suffix (e.g., A001, A002 …).

  3. Great idea!

    I don’t have a lap-top, so I down-load files and photos to a “thumb-drive”, which have become quite affordable recently, and hold a lot of information… 4 GB for about $30 US…just pop it in your purse/pocket!

  4. Scanning works but is slow and tedious compared to photographing documents with a digital camera. Many cameras include a “text” mode for copying text in black and white. Using a photographic copy stand makes it easy to tackle large tasks.

  5. I have also scanned all of my documents. I scan them as Tiff or Bmp files and save them all together in one folder called “Original Documents”. Since Tiff and Bmp files are too big for email I save them as jpg and file them by married couple. This way the original copy is safe and unused and I can find the jpg copy easily and quickly.

    My hard copy documents, research folder and computer files are all set up the same way, by married couple. After trying many different filing systems this way works best for me because all media is handled the same way. I also save the “Original Documents” folder to a thumb drive.

    The scanned photos are handled the same way. I wanted to send CD’s to all the cousins and so I have two folders for the Bmp photos. “Original Photos – disk 1″ and “Original Photos – disk 2″ Copies of the photos are also in the folders for married couples as jpg files.

    This system does take up more hard drive space, but I wanted all the original scans in a separate folder that isn’t accessed and put at risk for deleting or moving.

  6. I need to have directions for setting pictures, and written records i.e. family group sheets into a jpg that can be accessed by another computer. I know you scan but how does it get into jpg?

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