The Great Scanning Project
When my Mother passed away, I became the "keeper" of the family archives. This is quite a job as my Mother worked at doing the family genealogy almost full time for over 20 years. The collection includes all the research, publications with appropriate and background information, memorabilia that ranges from clothing to teacups to miner's headlamps, etc. Not to mention the huge amount of slides and photographs, not only from her and my Father's life together, but for all the extended genealogy family research! It takes up a huge amount of space. An entire room in my basement is dedicated wholly to storing all this research as I'll show you below.
Thus, I embarked on a plan (even before my Mother passed away) to at least get all the photos and slides scanned and organized. That's the short term goal. The long term goal is to get all the memorabilia photographed and all the research scanned/digitized. Then, I hope to donate the entire physical lot of it to some organization who will be able to house it and make it available to those who would like to access the information. I haven't found a source who will take it yet, but that's my hope.
The first step was finding a way to organize the slides. It's so much easier if I can scan them directly to an organized file. I chose to do it chronologically, at least for the slides and photos from my parent's marriage in 1955 to the present time. The slides have been stored in a number of different ways, so I've been gathering them from boxes, slide carousels, baggies, suitcases, etc. and organizing them by year. Within each year, I find many are dated by the month they were developed and so I've been sorting them by develop date and the number order, which is also usually printed on the slide. Then I have been putting them in shallow boxes by year with tabs for the date and specific events so I can easily scan a group to a file on the computer by the same name. Eventually, these will be stored in some metal slide files that I ordered. They will take up significantly less space than the carousel boxes do!
The scanner sits next to my computer desk and with the addition of the little table to organize things, the scanning goes pretty quickly, all things considered! I can scan slides at the rate of about 180 slides an hour if I'm organized and all goes well. It's a good project to work on late at night when I'm awake due to my crazy working schedule as a night nurse.
Some of the slides have been stored in these "protector" sheets. I'm discovering that they are my least favorite of the storage methods. Too many of the slides stored this way have gotten scratched while inserting or removing them. And simply, they are just a pain in the neck to deal with. I'm SO glad to be getting the slides out of them.
Some of the slides were stored in this old suitcase. At least it kept them dry, dark and contained, but probably not ideal!
The majority however are stored in carousel boxes. They take up a huge amount of space. I've already scanned over 6 or 7 boxes not shown here. This wall of shelves is all genealogy storage, photographs (boxes and boxes in addition to albums) and slides. The file cabinet is also half full of genealogy stuff. The bottom row of boxes and the boxes out of view to the left hold memorabilia and notebooks of research.
These are the photo albums from my family dating back from the 1930's to the present time. Most of the older photos are in boxes or notebooks of research.
This shelf also contains more photo albums, framed pictures and more memorabilia (and my Christmas China, which is just about the only non-genealogy stuff in the entire room!).
So as you can see, I have quite a job ahead of me. Scanning slides is easy, just time consuming. Photographs and negatives are a little harder. I do love discovering some of the wonderful photos tucked away in all of this. They are a nice reward for all the hard work and keep me motivated. It's a big job!