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Scanning and Preserving Family Photos

Updated on October 5, 2013

How to Easily Scan and Preserve Family History Photographs

Scanning photos and adding them to your genealogy files can be very time consuming and awkward, especially if they're secured in an old album. I was procrastinating this very chore for years. It wasn't just the time involved, but the fact that the old albums couldn't lay flat on the scanner. Removing them was a painstaking process, and still resulted in damage to either the photos themselves or the book they were mounted in.

I had no idea until a couple of months ago that a perfect and inexpensive solution existed. There are portable or mobile hand-held scanners on the market that make the job not only easy, but fun. But the best part is that they can be used for lots of other things. Imagine while doing research you find just a paragraph of information on your family in an old book, or you want a copy of just a small part of an old map. With the hand-held portable scanner you are able to scan just the information you want without trying to fit the object on a copier (which often is prohibited anyway).

Seeing is believing. Watch the Flip Pal at work.

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Here's How the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner Works

Here's How the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner Works
Here's How the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner Works

My Description Based on Owning the Flip Pal Scanner

This is a high resolution (300-600 dpi) mini scanner just the right size for photos and document excerpts. I like the size. It's just right for 95% of the things I need to scan. If I have an occasional item that's larger than the scan surface it's easy to stitch two or more images together later after downloading. It works similar to a digital camera as far as getting scans from the scanner to the computer or printer. It comes with a removable memory card and a USB adaptor if needed.

You can actually scan albums while watching TV, just like it suggests. But there are many other applications for this technology once you have one and start thinking about it. How about a close-up of Mom's needlework. You can even take it outside and scan objects of nature. How about an inventory of a stamp or coin collection. The projects I've thought of are endless, but far too many to be practical. For now I'm sticking to the genealogy application. Once that's done, I can use it for other things.

I forgot to mention. It works like a regular mini scanner, too. What I mean is, you can place an object on the flat bed just like a full-sized scanner. Look at the picture above to see how it works flipped right side up. But for those things that can't come out of the book, you flip it over and hold it to the page, push the button and watch the little scanner go to work.

I can't believe what I did without this -- well, actually I can. I was too afraid of removing pictures from albums, so I never got to it.

I just now thought of something else I absolutely need to use this for--just as important as the antique photos. I have several very old diaries or journals that are very fragile. This is the perfect solution to preserve them and make them accessible to the whole family without doing further damage.

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What do you think of the Flip Pal? Or just say hello :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Faster, less expensive option is Pic Scanner, an iPhone and iPad app with which you can scan three photos at one time, the app automatically crops and saves them all. At www.appInitio.com/picscanner and Apple App Store

    • dogface lm profile image

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      I have heard of similar products as Flip Pal, but not of Flip Pal. It looks expensive. o.o