I bought a scanner which I have already replaced twice since 1998. The first thing I did was obtain as many pictures as possible from my mother. I scanned them and returned them, this allowed me to have them at my fingertips and could reproduce them as I needed. It also allowed me to create a back up in case that anything happened to them. To store and manage photos I use Picasa it’s free and very user friendly and currently managing my over 25,000 photo collection. You can also use it to scan pictures and documents.
Finally, I am very selective of what goes into my database which I currently use Family Tree Builder from MyHeritage to manage. It currently holds over 16,000 names, countless documents, images, and photos.
How can I get rid of my piles of documents?
Very simple change your habits, instead of copying files at local library try taking pictures with smartphone or iPod, if possible take your scanner and laptop. Also don’t print anything from the internet, PDF it instead and place it in your Genealogy Folder. Finally once you have changed your habits and those piles are not getting any bigger set aside at least 30 minutes of each day to scan the documents that you already have.
CutePDF = http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp
Picasa = http://picasa.google.com/
MyHeritage = http://www.myheritage.com