If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I have an ongoing project to create digital copies of all my family history research, including photos and documents. While I’ve made great strides, I do have more work to do and am on the lookout for scanning options. Let’s look.
The FamilyTree Magazine, July/August 2023 issue, has a good article about scanning apps for your phone. I must admit that I’ve questioned the usefulness of such apps since I can just take a photo of a picture or document with my phone. Anyway, I thought I would investigate a couple of them and share my thoughts.
You can find more information about Microsoft Lens here. There are links to the Android and iOS versions. This app is geared towards documents rather than photos. Once you scan your document, you can save it to a Word document which has OCR capabilities. In my case it saved this in my OneDrive so I thought I’d see if I could access it on my computer. It showed up under My Files>Office Mobile. The original scan on my phone was much clearer than this version. It could be that I need to explore and practice more. Overall, it was easy to use.
This app is geared towards photos. It really sounds like a great program, but I hesitated to download the free option to try. Reading reviews, it does everything it promises, scanning multiple photos and cropping them. Imagine how useful that would be when scanning multiple photos in a photo album. However, some of the comments noted that the free version only saved the scans to their site, and you needed a subscription to download or do more with them. You can learn more about this app here. Photomyne: Save & Cherish Family Memories Forever. Currently, prices range from $39.99 a year to $199 (One-Shot) option. I found this page to be more helpful with Additional information on plans and pricing for each of the app offerings.
All the bigger genealogy database sites have apps that allow you to save photos and documents to their sites. If you are using Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast or MyHeritage, you can look at their mobile apps to help you upload information to your family tree.
Or if you have an Android Samsung phone, there is a built-in scanning option when you take a picture of a document. Point at the document you want to scan with your camera, then press the yellow “T” icon. Your document will have a yellow box around it and you can adjust/crop before you save it. I did try this with a photo, and it seemed to work fine. You can then edit it for color or brightness.
I hope this gives you some ideas for scanning using your phone. Not everyone has a scanner anymore, so it is great to have another tool in our toolbox for saving and storing our family history photos and documents. Happy scanning!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.