Scan the Photos!


1919 Passport Application photo

While I went to spend Thanksgiving with my family, I had another goal as well: scan the family photos!

Have you scanned yours?

Why not?

I started talking to relatives in August, asking them to bring family photos to Thanksgiving and I’d bring my scanner.

It’s portable and I attach it to my laptop. A few clicks and the photos are saved.

Literally saved.

As in, I’ll import them to my “big computer” that is covered by an offsite server (Mozy, similar to the Cloud), adjust them with Photoshop and then send them back to my relatives.

I have photocopies of my grandparents’ youthful pictures but I’ve never seen the real photos.

No one is really sure where they are since my aunt and her daughter–both lovers of old family items–died eight and nine years ago.

I hope to scan them before they’re totally lost or gone.

(Photos deteriorate in time. Scan them before they’re lost!)

When my paternal grandmother died in 1998, I inherited her 100 year-old photo album.


My great-grandfather is the handsome one, third from right!

Since I live in a high fire area, I spent that summer photographing the album–my scanner at the time wasn’t good enough to do the photos justice.

(I really need to scan them again. I’ll put it on my list and you can stop feeling guilty).

I had copies printed and gave them to my brothers, uncles and aunt and to my grandmother’s brother’s extended family.

I couldn’t bear the thought those photos might be lost to history.

I’ve written before about the importance of writing on the back of pictures and I hope you’ll notate yours as well.

And I hope you’re as lucky as we were that someone picked up a photo album at a yard sale one day and gave it to the East Texas Genealogical Society, who kindly posted the photos on their website.

I’d been looking for a photo of my paternal great-grandmother for twenty years.

Surely you heard me scream at 1 o’clock in the morning the night I found her picture on that website?

It’s posted on now, so others can find her.

Speaking of Ancestry, I discovered another treasure there recently: my grandfather’s 1919 passport application and photo.

I’d never seen that picture before.

Thanks US government for requiring it and for making it available.


Grammy’s in the front row wearing a hat.

Family genealogy may not seem important to you now, and there are so many photos out there, it may seem ridiculous to worry about them now.

But you never know when that loved one won’t be around to retell the stories; those photos may burn up.

The keeper of the box may lose it in a move.

Someone may spill a cup of coffee and ruin it.

Once the face is gone, it’s too late.

If you’ve got family with photos, get copies made or scan them.

If all else fails, take a picture with your camera.

You’ll never be sorry if you have it.

And neither with your children.

(Scanning old family photos makes a great summer job!)


Scan your old family photos! Now! Click to Tweet

Fire, dust, ignorance: scan your family photos to protect them! Click to Tweet

Why not use the holidays to dig out the old family photos and scan them? Click to Tweet


You can sign up for this giveaway–seven Christmas books AND an electric fireplace– at Amanda Dykes’ website located here. Raffle ends December 4.



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