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Saving & sharing family documents - Part 1: Scanning a family photo album

Over the past number of months I have been caught up with creating a website to save some family photographs taken between 1890 and 1916. These particular photographs are part of the collection of family documents and such I have accumulated as one of the family's historians, all in a photo album belonging to my great-great aunt. Although this great-great aunt is not in my direct family line, it is a fascinating look at what my extended family did at that time of history.

Being over 100 years old, these photographs are fading quickly and I need to either save them now or lose them forever. I also want to share them with family members in such a way that everyone can access them instead of only one of us keeping the album and no one seeing it except during visits. This entry is the first of three posts about how I have ended up fulfilling my goals creating a website. As you will see, it hasn’t been a simple experience, but it’s definitely one that is worth the work.

The first step: saving the photographs

There are a couple of ways to save photographs, but I chose to scan them at a high resolution and then use a photo editing program to give them clarity. Taking the photographs out of the album pages was a bit tricky, particularly with gloves, but I managed to get them out and return them with little issue. Using a soft microfiber cloth to dust off the scanner bed helpe

d me get fairly dust-free scans.

The scanning of the photographs took over a week since there are so many, but I made sure to save them to a cloud account. I created folders with the original, unedited scans and then put the edited ones in another folder. I labeled the scans according to the album pages, and since each of the pages had four photos, indicated each particular photo’s place on the page by counting them from left to right and top row to bottom row. Finally, I created an Excel spreadsheet to record the numbers and any labels written beneath each one. I have found this an invaluable source to keep things organized as I put together my website.

Next entry: The adventure of creating a website to house 200 snapshots, and identifying the people, places and things in them.

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