Scanners are some of the best computer accessories a genealogist can buy. Not only can a scanner digitize old family photographs, it is also an excellent tool for making digital copies of old documents or even of today's handwritten notes made during a trip to the library or courthouse.
Once digitized, these images can be used in word processing documents, genealogy programs, or even printed and hung on the wall in a picture frame.
I also scan almost all other paper documents in my life: insurance policies, auto registrations, eyeglass prescriptions, the users manual for the dishwasher, receipts I wish to save for income tax purposes, receipts, notes, invoices, whiteboard discussions, business cards, certificates, and much more. I then save those digitized documents in a private account "in the cloud" where they are safe and easily accessed at any time and from anywhere by using a desktop, laptop, or handheld computing device.
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