Saving Family Photos

When I was young, I was sitting in my parent’s living room and looking through the photo albums that my mom had created. They spanned generations, from my Great Great Grandmother’s family, to me when I was young holding a towel around me after swimming in a lake. My dad always seemed to have a camera around his neck when we travelled, and while we didn’t travel out of state often, we did try to explore different parts of Oregon, and every year we went hunting and my dad would take pictures.


Storage for personal photos has never been exactly up to archival standards. People use photo albums that have a plastic cover and a sticky back. While it does help to keep the photos from moving, over time the glue degrades the photos and yellows the glue and eventually the photos. Before that people would glue photos into a photo album, or in some cases even to paper that was then put into a binder. While even old photos were usually good quality, over time these storage methods can degrade and, in some cases, even destroy the photo.


Today, most things are digital, including hundreds of thousands of photos taken daily using cell phones and digital cameras. This is helping grow the collective history, whether people like the “selfie” generation style photos or not.  As a cultural historian, these photos show what life is like now, just as photos taken in the middle of the century showed what life was like then. The method may have changed, but the result is the same.


As our ancestors have passed away, many younger individuals are left with photo albums and are not sure what to do with them. Add that to our increased mobility and this history gets donated to thrift stores or sold at garage sales because there isn’t a place for large photo albums anymore.


This is how Schellinger Research and other digitization companies can help. When people think of digitization, they think large scale for businesses or libraries, but often, my clients are private individuals that want to digitize documents and other material to decrease physical clutter, while easily indexing and holding on to history.  Also, as time goes on originals may deteriorate, but the electronic copies will always be there. This can help create custom Christmas gifts like calendars with family photos or small photo books and framed images for the wall.


If you are someone who has photo albums laying around and you want to keep a digital copy for future use, please contact us. Our rates are affordable, and in most cases your photos never have to leave your possession, whereas other companies you may require you to send your photos away for them to be digitized.


If you have a collection of photos that you would like digitized and preserved, please reach out to Schellinger Research via our contact page.  We are still accepting projects.


Until next time, happy scanning 🙂

The importance of digitizing historical documents

When I was working on my book Men Beyond the Stones I went into the local library to look at what archival documents they had. I was hoping to find images of the individuals who I had not yet been able to track down. While I was unable to find the images I needed, I discovered something almost as important. The library had an entire wall of documents, books, and binders full of newspaper clippings and manila envelopes full of documents, all unable to be checked out.


At the beginning of 2020, I decided not only was I going to push Schellinger Research forward, but I also planned to volunteer more in the community. My volunteer opportunities outside of the time Schellinger Research donates includes being part of Home Fires Burning which is a local group dedicated to helping caregivers of military veterans, I also am currently the secretary of Friends of Girl Scouts(FOGS) The Dalles, a local organization that supports the local Girl Scout troops.


Deciding how I can put my knowledge to use, I approached the library director about scanning the documents in the glass case. I believe that archival documents should be widely available, and by scanning them, hopefully more people will be able to view and make use of these important documents. It will also make it easier for researchers such as myself, who may be interested in the documents.


Historical documents, be it photos, newspaper clippings, or written accounts of historical events help to enhance our understanding of events, culture, how people thought and behaved, and most importantly, how documentation of events occurred.  Today, people create vlogs, or take pictures and create a social media or blog post. Even 20 years ago the technology was not to that point, so history was documented differently.


This difference is what I thrive on. It’s piecing together elements of the past to make a cohesive picture for modern historians and everyone to see. To like history does not mean you have to be a historian. To understand what people from the past went through does not mean you have to have a degree or be related to them. Just as sitting down and reading Anne Frank’s diary takes you into her life, so does looking at photos and reading accounts of what life was like for those before us.


Living in the Columbia Gorge has surrounded me with Lewis and Clark history, and the history of the Oregon trail. Personally, my interests tend to go towards post 1900 culture, interesting pieces from the past have still pique my interest. While for me it may only be a passing glance, others live for that history that was previously sitting on a shelf in a library.


Specifically, for me, digitizing history is important to ensure that it exists after the paper breaks down. After the people who lived during that time pass away. And ultimately after their stories have ceased to be passed down from generation to generation.  Just as we work to preserve ancient history, we must also work to preserve recent history, as it can serve as a reminder of where we came from.


Reach out to us for all of your digitizing needs.


Until next time, happy researching!