If you have bunches of old photos and records you’ve been meaning to scan, here’s a new option for getting ‘er done: FamilySearch has added a free photo and document scanning and preservation service in more than 2,800 of its FamilySearch Centers in North America. (The service is in the works for international centers.)
The scanning equipment, called “multifunction products” (MPFs) is available through a partnership with Lexmark. The MPFs have software that scans your family history materials directly to your account on FamilySearch.org. There, you can tag and share the images, and attach them to people in your FamilySearch family tree.
You also can opt to save your images to a flash drive to take home with you.
To use the service, just bring your photos and documents to your local FamilySearch Center (I would call first to double-check the center’s hours and make sure the equipment will be available there for your use).
You can see what the scanners look like in the FamilySearch announcement. From what I can tell, they’re flatbed-style scanners, in which you set the photo or document face-down on glass and lower the lid on top. That makes the service best for paper prints. It’s usually safer to digitally preserve fragile items, old albums and cased images (such as daguerreotypes) by photographing them. (Here are tips for using your camera to “scan” photos and records.)