scan and file, don't pile
february 2, 2014
A few years ago, I decided to go paperless. After all, the computer age was supposed to generate less paper. Not. At least for me it was the opposite and generated much more! Therefore, I began to digitize papers and important family related pictures and toss the rest. Yes, I did toss things and it was difficult for me to do at first. I am more used to it now.
My neighbors and friends send pictures in Christmas cards. I really do not need to keep these in a file. I simply scan those pictures and file them under ‘Friends and Neighbors.” Then I toss them. Therefore, I am keeping them as a computer file to enjoy and reminisce at my leisure. People give me things of interest all the time. After I read it and make any notes I feel necessary, I throw it away.
I had about a five-inch stack of material that needed to be ‘taken care of.’ I have put off taking care of these important items far too long. I began earlier in the week and I have certainly made a dint. I filed the book on my reference shelf after I recorded it in my digital library file. When I look for it again I only have to open my personal library file and see where I filed it.
Several important pictures needed to be scanned, saved and filed in the appropriate archive box. Some were of ancestors I must share with other family members. After I saved them as a .JPG file I opened each in Picasa so I could use the Text tool to identify the people, give it an approximate date, and the provenance. Then I attach them to an email and send them to fellow family researchers. I began doing this several years ago when I found some one-of-a-kind pictures on the internet. Not only were they unnamed, but also the pictures were copied from my family history book. Did it mention the picture was from my book that also had a bio on the person? No. I corrected that.
There were three obituaries in the stack. I scanned each and filed them with the person to whom it belonged in my genealogy software database, but not before I attach the person’s name, newspaper and date to the file extension: Jane_Johnson_PlanoStarCourier_12292014.jpg. This way I identify the obit quickly and it is saved with the necessary identifying information. Next, I entered all the information from the obituary into my database. Usually, these are very detailed especially the older ones, and add greatly to my family information.
Interested in my Irish and Scottish history, when I find articles of interest I scan these to file digitally. Recently in the newsletter from The Guild of St. Margaret, there was an article on the Caledonia Modern Tartan and a picture of the plaid with sources. This was especially interesting since our church had just celebrated the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans.
There were other interesting articles in the stack that I filed digitally on how to conduct oral histories, another on how to tape them and tips on breaking down those brick walls genealogists encounter. I scanned and saved each under their respective topics to reflect on later.
Often I find interesting announcements or flyers on topics of interests. One I collected to scan was the brochure on Collin County Clerk Stacy Kemp’s Genealogy Corner, “Where Past Meets Present.” That site is at www.collincountytx.gov/county_clerk. In addition, the Collin County Historical Commission brochure on The Museums of Collin County caught my eye. With all my Collin County roots, I must have that one readily available. Their site is at www.co.collin.tx.us/historical_commission/historical_com.jsp. Once these were scanned, I only had to add the links to my internet favorite’s page.
My guidelines for saving or tossing or much like those of Marilyn Tomsen, http://uvtagg.org/classes/thomsen/Getting%20Your%20Genealogy%20Clutter%20Under%20Control.pdf.
- Determine if this item could be a future historical document.
- Will the family genealogists who follow me find this document/picture valuable to our family history?
- How difficult would it be in the future to get a copy of this?
Going paperless has saved me a lot of money because I no longer have to buy so much paper, archival items, etc. Now I need to set aside more time to scan and file—and really do it!
MEMORIAM: Elizabeth “Pinkie” Pinkston Feigl died January 17 after a long illness with cancer. She was 80 years young. Pinkie was one of the nine original founders of Genealogy Friends of Plano Libraries, Inc. in 1997. She will be missed in her beloved genealogical community.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.