(10 photos scanned, digitized, preserved. Do it in 15 minutes. Do it every week and watch your digital collection grow!)
It's not That we don't want your business. Of course we'd love to help you if you want our professional assistance. But if you're bent on doing it yourself - and keep putting it off - here's a fool-proof plan to get started, spending only 15 minutes each week.
If you follow this easy 4-step plan for family history preservation, at the end of the year you'll have 520 to 1040 historical images in your Digitized Family History Collection. That's a terrific start by anyone's standards. And you can accomplish it all yourself, spending just 15-minutes each week.
Step !: All you need to start is a decent desktop computer and scanner. If you don't have that, you can shop second hand. We happen to like Macinosh computers but PCs are just as fine for this purpose. Use whatever basic computer you're comfortable with and pair it with a good scanner. We use and suggest the Epson Perfection line. Sometimes you can find them at second-hand stores. You can also save money by purchasing a refurbished scanner at the Epson store online. If you're a seasoned bargain-shopper, you might find a decent used Epson scanner for $50 or less. You definately don't have to break your piggy bank to get started preserving your family history.
Step 2: Gather up a big box of photographs, letters, event tickets, recipes and other items you want to preserve. Set the big box of momentos next to your desk at home.
Step 3: Sit down for 15 minutes each week (preferably on Thursday or Friday so you can participate in the Flashback Friday and Throwback Thursday fun on Facebook and Instagram. I enjoy doing this every Thursday with my morning coffee. It's as easy as washing your hair. Sit down. Scan 10 to 20 photos (or recipes, or movie tickets...) from the box next to your desk. Post a few of your newly digitized images to Facebook or Instagram and tag some friends. Instant gratification. Bask in the glow of the comments you get from friends and relatives who had forgotten how funny your hair looked in 1989. Stop there. Repeat in one week.
Step 4: Organize as you go! One of the biggest barriers people have to starting is this feeling that they have to "get organized." This is a total fallacy. It's worse than the person who has to clean the house before the maid arrives. In this case, you absolutely do not have to organize a single thing. In fact, the very process of scanning, digitizing and preserving your photographs will create an element of built-in organization that will make your history infanitly more accessable than your box full of hard-copy momentos. When you scan your photos you'll use a software such as Image Capture for a Mac or VueScan for a PC, you'll select a name for your image and location to scan to (could be as simple as a folder called "pictures" or could be a folder you name "Christmas" or "mom and dad;" be as specific as you like). Voila! Suddenly each item in your messy box of momentos has a name and an assigned folder in your desktop.
It's really THAT simple. You really can preserve a significant part of your personal or family history in just 15 minutes a week. If you follow these four steps every week for a year, you'll have an amazing digitized collection of memories.
In future posts we'll talk about some specifics to help you take further advatage of your Digitized Family History Collection. For instance, we'll teach you about photo-sharing sites, geneology sites and meta data. But don't fill your head with thoughts of that now.
Go on. Follow these four simple steps and get started. You are not too busy to spend 15 minutes a week preserving your history for future generations.