Are precious details about the lives of your female ancestors hidden in old family photographs? Most of us have bins or boxes of treasured memories just waiting to be uncovered and shared.
|Photo of my aunt, Sister Mary Camilla Alzo
As a long-time genealogist, I have been researching the maternal lines in my family tree for more than 30 years. I wrote my book, Three Slovak Women as a tribute to my maternal grandmother and mother. Along the way I accumulated quite the collection of photographs, documents, and memorabilia. Since 2019, I have been on a mission to sort, scan, and share digital copies of the prints with my relatives.
Since March is Women’s History Month, I have decided to focus on the pictures that depict some of my female ancestors. But, where to begin?
With hundreds of photographs to process, I realized what a monumental task I had ahead of me. I needed a system to make things easier. I decided to follow a four-step process:
1. Sort – Organize photographs by family and then by date or event when possible.
2. Scan – Digitize the photographs using a scanner and correct any problems or imperfections using software (see below for details).
3. Store – Initially save the digital images to my computer (then move to an external hard drive with backup to cloud storage).
4. Share – Share digital copies of the images with my cousins and other interested relatives.
I won’t bore you with the details of the sorting process, but I usually set aside an hour or two each week to go through the boxes and bins, sort the photos by family and then year/event where possible, and make sure they are put into archival safe storage boxes. The bigger decision for me was how to approach the scanning and storing. While I have a very nice Epson flatbed scanner to do the job, lifting the lid up and down is a bit cumbersome. And using my smartphone did not seem like the best option either.
Enter the Vivid-Pix Memory Station
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out the Memory Station [affiliate link]. This is a combination of a Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 + Vivid-Pix RESTORE software. In the bundle, Vivid-Pix includes FileShadow cloud archive if desired, providing storage for 1,000 images for free and additional fee for more storage).
The ScanSnap was easy to set up (I use it with a Windows laptop but it works with Mac too). I created a folder called ScanSnap Scans on my computer. I followed the instructions outlined on the Vivid-Pix website to get the best resolution and other specifications for saving the scans as high-quality JPEG image files. The ScanSnap allows for continuous scanning and for image correction if so desired. Each scan takes just a few seconds and can be done with either a simple press of the “Scan” button on the unit, or by clicking on the SCAN button in the ScanSnap software. Before I began the scanning process, I downloaded and installed the Vivid-Pix RESTORE software [affiliate link] – just $49.99 for a one-time fee and the ability to install on 2 computers (Mac and/or Windows). RESTORE is on sale this month, just $39.99 during the month of March, 2022 and they also offer a trial to fix 10 images for free.
I tried out the Memory Station on a treasured scrapbook of photographs that belonged to my father’s sister, Anna, a Roman Catholic nun (she changed her name to Sr. Mary Camilla after taking her vows) who lived in Victoria, Texas most of her life. I called her “Auntie.”
|Photograph scanned with MemoryScan (not cropped)
The Vivid-Pix software adjusted color, contrast, lightness and sharpened the original photograph. As people have different perspective on “keeping age” (fade), less fade (or even back to the original black and white photo), below is the original and the 2 variations. [Note: I left the original photo on its black album backing but can crop the images as desired.]
My goal for this March is to scan the entire photo album and then create a digital version that I can share with others. I will likely share some of the results here on the blog as I work through the process.
Want to know more about the Memory Station? Click here for more information.
Copyright 2022, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved.
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