, random, scanning

A Little Preservation on the Fly


Grandpa, my Hubby, and my two younger fellas.


When my husband was born he had 12 living grandparents.


Twelve actual direct-line grandparents of varying degrees.  Two of those 12 were 2nd great-grandparents.  One born in 1887 and the other born in 1882.  If we want to count 2nd spouses after a grandparent being widowed, the number is even higher.

Well, now he is down to two.  Two grandparents.  One grandfather and one grandmother on different sides of his tree.

Over Thanksgiving, we were able to spend some time with that grandfather.  The morning we left, we stopped in to say goodbye to Grandpa.  There are several lovely photos on display in his home.  Photos that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

So, I followed my own advice.  I pulled out my phone, snapped some photos using the Google PhotoScan app and then sat down with Grandpa and labeled the photos right in the FamilySearch Memories app.  This photo could use a few touch-ups in Photoshop, but I got the details I need in a safe place that was fast and easy to use.  On the left, my scan, on the right, the tagged photo in the FS Memories app.

I captured seven photos and got some of the details behind those photos.  It only took about ten minutes.  A very well spent ten minutes.

But even better than getting a little preservation work done for my husband and children was the interest it sparked in my husband last night when I spent some time editing one of the photos.

The original looked liked this:


It was a particularly difficult photo to scan because the glass on the frame is domed.  It’s a 5-generation photo with the baby being my mother-in-law.  It’s old and has been in that frame for a long time.  Not the kind of item I want to take out of the frame to scan with an app.  Too much risk of damage.  The only way to get a good scan was to have my husband hold the frame.  The fourth scan finally turned out fairly well.  But you will notice there is an area on the right at about shoulder height to grandpa that you can see the reflection of the dining room light fixture.  A little editing in photoshop cleaned that right up:

STEED, 5 generation photo

I also removed the distracting elements, also known as my hubby’s hands.  😉

Well, after editing, I uploaded the photo to FamilySearch and was tagging everyone.  My husband walked by, noticed what I was doing, and then suddenly – there he was, sitting on the couch next to me learning about his family.

Those ten minutes of preservation at Grandpa’s house turned into so much more than just snapping a few photos.  My husband has actual questions about some of his ancestors.  Questions he wants answers to.

I’ll tell you what – that is a first around here!



Have you tried the Google PhotoScan app?  What about the FamilySearch Memories app?


Happy Tuesday, I hope you preserve a special memory today!



9 thoughts on “A Little Preservation on the Fly”

  1. I love that you’ve got him interested! I have tried the Google PhotoScan app—is that the one where you have to line up the circles and shoot four times? If so, I’ve had no luck with it. I just use my phone camera or Photomyne. Do you have to have a tree on FamilySearch to use the memory app? Great post, Amberly!

    1. Thank you, Amy. Me too! I actually had a follow up conversation with him last night. One of his direct line ancestors appears to have bailed on his wife and kiddos, married another woman, moved to Canada, had more children and then died there. The really interesting part is that the 2nd woman he married is someone I am related to! She is half 1st cousin 4 times removed. We can’t find any trace of info on how the first marriage ended. We are hoping that his grandpa might know.

      Yes, the Google PhotoScan app is the one with the four circles. It is a bit fussy for sure. I would not ever use it as a replacement for a scanner. But for really large framed photos, it has worked the best for me so far. I haven’t ever used Photomyne. I’ll check it out!

      You don’t need to use the tree on FamilySearch to use the memories app. You do need a FS username and password – which is free – otherwise the photos won’t have anywhere to be stored. There are a few other things to consider, like what is the long-term goal for the photos, stories etc., but you can absolutely use it.

  2. Great post, Amberly. It’s awesome when they become interested and ask questions! I was a bit disappointed when I read you had edited out your husband’s hands. When I saw them holding the 5-generation photo I thought it was amazing that you had gotten a 6th generation added when taken the snapshot. 🙂

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