How to Digitize Your Most Important Documents

The New York Times has published an article by J. D. Biersdorfer that I will suggest should be required reading by every genealogist. Here is a quote:

“But even if you’re already backing up your digital files, do you have a backup plan for your one-of-a-kind documents and photos that you have only on paper — like birth certificates, marriage licenses and military-discharge papers?

“Scanning copies of your personal papers creates a digital archive that can also be used as a backup, especially if you have the files password-protected and stored in a secure location. And even if you don’t have a document scanner, you can create your personal archive with a smartphone, a few apps and a bit of time. Here’s a guide to getting started.”

The article isn’t written for the genealogy audience but it does include a lot of common-sense information FOR most everyone, including genealogists.

How to Digitize Your Most Important Documents may be found at:


When I go to the suggested https site I have to pay or create a free account. Will the FREE account allow me to read the complete article? Thanx Dick for continuing with your valuable info. Stay safe.


    I must admit that I do not know. I have a paid account so when I read the article all the information was visible to me. It gave a good overview of what needs to be done but did not offer step-by-step instructions, simply because of the wide variety of software available for Macintosh, Chromebooks, Windows, Linux, iPads, Android tablets, and other devices that can be used to accomplish these tasks. Each product will have its own (different) instructions.


    Yes, a free account will give access to the entire article.
    Also, note that many libraries will also give you a temporary (24 hour) free pass to paid NY Times services — remote from home — using your home city’s library card.


It is so important since we never know what will happen so quickly that you don’t have time to respond. I’m so thankful I had so many things scanned and on CDs in 2008 when our home was flooded. Many of the important papers and also my genealogical information was on CDs so I could retrieve it later. My computer was destroyed, our home was destroyed and although we could get in later and get some things, many things were beyond salvage. That is when I went to DropBox and save everything to that. When you only have access to the library computers, at least you can get into your files.


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