Scan, Save & Share

Scan, Save & Share

While living here in Seattle for the summer, I went to the Public Library and chatted with some genealogists, just because. Photos & slides are deteriorating quickly. So get them scanned. Here’s what I learned.

Suggestions from a Genealogist


Scanning your pictures and family documents are the best way to preserve and share what you have with others. Please make scanning and sending your stuff a priority in your family history efforts.


Basics to Know

Pictures can be scanned and saved into different formats each with different qualities. The main 3 formats we’d like to use are “tiff”, “jpeg” and “png” files.

  • The “tiff” format saves pictures in more detail so the file takes up more space. Good for archiving and printing really good pictures, not so good for sharing through email or uploading quickly online.
  • The “jpeg” format takes up less space because they aren’t as good of quality. So they are good for uploading to facebook or emailing because they upload quickly.
  • The “png” format is particularly good for documents and is best for putting on a website.

Uploading = putting pictures on the internet or attaching to an email


How To Scan


1. Pay someone to do it!

Easier, faster, professional. Negative, it costs $$. But is likely worth it!!!!

There are many different companies out there who scan pictures, slides & negatives. Some are online, some are local businesses near you. Look online or in the phone book. One online company I saw charged 29 cents per slide or photo (scanned one by one by hand).

Request scans be done in the scanner settings below.

2. Do it yourself (or get your teenager to do it)

If you feel comfortable with computers or have family members who can teach you, do it yourself. Some libraries have scanners with USB ports and/or internet access for emailing if you don’t wish to invest in a scanner.

Scanner Settings

  • 24 bit color (even if scanning black & white)
  • at least 600 dpi (dots per inch) – the higher the dpi the bigger prints you can make
  • .tiff format – for better quality. If you need it for quicker uploading later you can always make a copy of the picture and turn it into a smaller file (like a jpeg facebook or png for websites).


Save Pictures

Save in folders either by date, place, or person


  • Computer – keep for your own records
  • CD – easy to send to other people
  • USB drive – easy to carry around and copy onto other people’s computers

Name Pictures

In the title – keep it short and consistent

  • Date of picture
  • Place
  • Who owns original photo

Something like “2006-17-25 – Sigurd, UT – owner Shannon Borcherds”

Create a separate document to write a full description

  • Copy title
  • Complete Description – names, dates, stories associated with picture, notes on the back of the original photo, who owns original pictures, studio picture was taken

Save the document with details in the same folder as the corresponding pictures.

Share Pictures

  • Send a CD or email to your line representative or the family history coordinator – They will archive it and put it on the family website.
  • Post on Facebook (if you have an account)
Please share so everyone can enjoy!
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