Friday, October 4, 2013

I am still scanning

Several people have asked me how my scanning project is going.  In case you missed it, I am scanning all the paper documents I have into the computer (22 years worth).  This is very time consuming because I am doing several things at once.

1)  Scanning the document and saving it to the hard drive. 

2)  Filing the paper document in the appropriate binder and printing a new label.

3)  Entering the information into Legacy.  I had exported my direct line plus siblings to a new file without exporting the source citations.  Many of my citations did not conform to Evidence Explained.  I am crafting new citations and I am also evaluating every piece of evidence that is on each document.  I missed some things the first time around, especially on the older documents. 

4)  I am linking the document  to the person in Legacy so that I can see everything I have on each person by going to their Media Gallery. 

5)   I am sending permission requests to photographers on Find A Grave for any photos that I didn’t take myself.  I want to include tombstone photos in the Media Gallery.

Yesterday I worked on this most of the day.  I managed to do 20 documents.  At this rate it is going to take me awhile but it is already so worth it.  When you have 22 years of research entered in several different stages of research competency, there are bound to be omissions and errors. I have so much more education and experience now.   It is actually quite exciting going over these old documents and finding things that I didn’t notice before.

I also have many documents that I downloaded straight to the hard drive that I don’t have paper for.  I will be doing these after the paper ones are done.  These are in an older filing system and need to be renamed and moved into the correct folders.  I will be reanalyzing them and creating good source citations.  I will also need to link them to the correct people in Legacy. 

I will be able to thin down my paper documents a bit.  Anything that is available online I will just download and not have a paper copy.  The only paper documents I will be keeping are true originals/artifacts and copies of documents I got from repositories that are not available online.

The next step will be to go back through the census records.  I am dreading that one but I know that it will be fruitful.  I didn’t download the census pages as I examined them the first time around so I will be reevaluating these as well as I download them and attach them to the correct people.

A little side note.  Remember I said that I only exported my direct line and their siblings.  I did this to give me a skeleton to work from.  I will have to add collateral people as I come to them in the records which of course takes even more time.  I will say that there are many collateral lines in my old file that will not be making it into my new file.  In my early days I copied stuff into my file willy nilly just like all newbies do.  It is time to prune,.

Do I have a goal for when I want to be finished with this massive project?  I am trying to be realistic. I know that I will be going off on tangents and doing research at the same time as I am doing all of this.  I have given myself until December 30, 2014.  If I finish early that would be a good thing but I didn’t want to give myself a deadline that wasn’t doable.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. It might be a good thing that you didn't save the census images when you first viewed them depending on when this was. In 2002 (until Feb 2005) was using sid format. I use IrfanView to convert them to jpg and get very good quality. Then they went to using gif and later jpg. New, improved images have also been added in the past few years and I find myself having to go back for sharper images.
    On my Facebook page !Opening Doors in Brick Walls" I wrote "Genealogy is my hobby - growing and pruning the family tree." Next time someone asks me how I do the pruning I'll refer them to your blog post. :)

  2. Michele,

    Great Article.

    Like Legacy, my genealogy database uses the Evidence Explained Source Templates. I spent much of last year cleaning up my Census Sources from 1790 - 1940, getting them all into the correct template. I picked up lots of information that I had missed the first time around and putting the census records into the correct template caused me to actually look at those census records again, wow did I miss stuff the first time. But, I had also learned how to do things better since that first glance at those records.

    Thank you,


  3. Cathy, that is good to know! At least it will make me feel a little better when I am downloading all of those images.

  4. Russ, I really should have done this about 10 years ago. I made so much more work for myself by putting it off. By the time I get done though I will have a tree that I can be proud of. Maybe I will even put it on Ancestry ;)

  5. Michele, once you have it all done it will be so much easier. I found a genealogist's webpage, years ago, referring to purely Digital Genealogy and how he does it. It inspired me to try the same. I was running out of room, had everything in binders, with a filing system that never seemed to be right for everything and a logistics nightmare. So I began the process of digitizing everything and, like you, only keeping the copies of what I ordered and heirloom copies passed down. Now I can search for anything on the computer and it appears immediately. No more pulling out the 5 lb binder and paging through. I follow the rule of backing up the first of each month to several cloud storage accounts and also use an external drive. Now if I can only get to all my pictures scanned and figure out a better way to name them it will all be perfect. Good luck with your project and know it will all be worth the effort. BTW, I recently started going through those binders and purging and revisiting my records, with all my new knowledge, has found me many new clues to follow, not to mention a laugh at my newbie mistakes.

  6. I know that everything will be sooooooooooo much more efficient once I get all of this done. I have so much to do though, it is kind of depressing :) Every time I find something I missed the first time around I do get a bit energized :)

  7. Yes, way more efficient, organized and search ready. One problem while I was reviewing and scanning; a new discovery would totally sidetrack me. After awhile I realized I had to stay focused on the big job. So, I made folders for each surname and threw the new find into that folder and worked on it after the project was complete (unless it was a EUREKA moment). Your job is probably more overwhelming as I had only been into research for about 3 years prior to changing my system. I wish I could find the website of the genealogist who inspired me, I would love to thank him. Or send flowers, or money, or something.

  8. Michele,
    Going over documents and/or photos you haven't looked at in several years is very rewarding. Isn't it amazing all the things we missed? I like what you're doing and have a pretty good collection I need to scan also. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Diane aka

  9. In the midst of this process as well. Part of my self prep as I work on my BCG portfolio. I am struggling with only 14 yrs of work - 22 yrs is, I'm sure, an amazing collection. One word of matter how intuitive your image file names seem to you now, in a year or two you will wish you'd done it differently. Take the time now to research image software that will let you add tags, or even citations, to your photo metadata. That way, you'll be able to use find features based on surname or citation elements.

  10. This is great but my one word of advice is have addition backup for you electronic files. I know someone who lost 30 years if research in the tornado that hit Joplin mo. I back my files onto a thumbdrive that I keep on my key chain. (password protected)

  11. I agree! I use Carbonite to back up everything on my computer but anything real important I also back up using Dropbox and SkyDrive.