Our family history project continues…


The family history project continues in the background. The move from physical to digital and then to my blog involves my knowing the people and therefore having stories about them. The current pictures are from the Ralstin family archives of Joan Ralstin and I don’t have any stories from those. So for now the blog is focused on the other things I work on.

We have completed `23000 scans so far. 12,000 slides from my grandfather and father. 11,000 pictures from the collection of Joan Ralstin and the ones that Barb and I took before we went digital.

I have shared roughly 700 pictures and slides with the world.

I’ve posted any number of blogs on how to start your own project. This one has three rules that I am going to expand on today.

Original Rule One get a good team. My son’s have done the majority of the work on this project. They have literally scanned more than 80% of the pictures and slides. I’ve probably done 8% of the scans and Jakki has done about 12%. Jakki has done some organization for the project but for the most part the boys have stepped up and done the majority of the work. The other side of the good team is getting a good scanner.

We choose the Epson Perfection v750 model. There are scanners that are faster (built only for slides, include a sheet feeder for pictures) but none that are more versatile. The end game for pictures is being flexible. The Epson V750 (jakki actually researched and found this scanner) has good software and is easily able to do Slides, pictures and negatives.

Step one – good technology and a good team!

New step two – have multiple modes of backing up the pictures once scanned. We have four local hard drive copies for the overall pictures and also are leveraging Carbonite to back them up to the cloud. In addition to having multiple sources we are scanning them into folders as they were originally labeled. So for example we have slides labeled Thailand that are now in the scanned Thailand folder. Organization the slides and pictures is important, You can also engage a company that does this professionally. The starting price point for a project like this (with stage 3 we will be well past 35000 scans) they start around 10,000 dollars and go up from there. Scanner plus time costs a lot less.

Step Three – share the pictures. I think the saddest thing going through my father’s slides for me was the fact that I had never seen many of them. My dad was album020convinced most of his slides were bad. They in the end were not. This one is from Joan Ralstin’s collection.  Many of her pictures included a hand written note of who was in the picture and when it was taken. Without more context I don’t have much of a story other than names here. Well I guess there is a story about them liking camping but not camping in a tent but beyond that not much.

So step three is share the pictures. Don’t scan them and like the box they have been in for 40 years get them out into the air again. Put them on a blog. Make collages you print with hundreds of pictures. Use the Photosynth tool from Microsoft and pull all your images of an event into a single picture.

Don’t judge the quality of the picture – share it. The last and most important part of the family history project is to once again make those pictures available.

Step four: we actually gave my sisters and mother copies of stage 1 on a hard drive for Christmas, (all my grandfather and father’s pictures and slides). We will update their hard drives at Christmas with Stage 2 images they don’t have of family events and stage 3 images as we begin to scan the old family pictures.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

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