Without a simple-to-use digital genealogy filing system and a knowledge of how to properly resize an image, responding to this email request I received this morning would have taken a lot longer than it did.
Geoff: I am looking for a copy of the Marriage license of Edwin and Annie Beevers in 1877. Any chance you might be able to send me a digital copy? Thanks much.
Here's what I did....
First, I opened Legacy and located the couple - Edwin Hague and Annie Beevers (my wife's great-great-grandparents).
I noticed that their Marriage Source button was blue, so I knew I had entered a source for their marriage. My hope was that I had also linked a copy of the digital image to the source detail (I didn't want to have to retrieve the actual paper document and scan it). So I clicked on the Source button, then clicked on the Pictures tab. A small preview of their marriage certificate appeared. Great!
I made a mental note of the marriage location (Wentworth, Yorkshire, England) and opened my Windows Explorer (shortcut: Windows button + E) in preparation for emailing the image to my new correspondant. Although I have tens of thousands of digitized images on my computer, locating the digtial image of this marriage certificate was easy because of how I have set up my digital genealogy filing system. I navigated to C:\Genealogy Photos Pictures\England\Yorkshire\Wentworth where I found ten digitized documents. The marriage certificate was one of them.
I noticed, however, that the marriage certificate's file size was way too big to send in an email - 25MB and in the .tif format. For some original documents that are either irreplaceable or very expensive to replace, after digitizing, I save them as a .tif instead of the usual .jpg. Saving an image as a .tif takes up more space on my hard drive, but they do not use the same "lossy compression" that a .jpg might and gives me a better-quality digital image.
So to email this certificate, I first had to resize it. I right-clicked on it, then clicked on 'Open With Adobe Photoshop Elements', my preferred picture editing software.
Next, I resized the image by going to Image > Resize > Image Size and modified the pixel dimensions from 3504 x 2436 to 1000 x 695 (I simply changed the width to 1000 and the height adjusted proportionally).
Finally, since I did not want to make these changes to the original digital file, I made a copy of it by going to File > Save for Web, clicked OK after reviewing the image's adjusted quality, and gave it a new name.
The resulting file was 790kb, less than 1MB. My email software (gmail) would have no problem with this file size, and with the dimensions of 1000 x 695, the recipient wouldn't have a problem viewing the smaller image either.
The entire process took about a minute to do. Because I had linked the image to the couple in Legacy, I could quickly locate where I had stored it in my digital genealogy filing system. You can learn more about organizing and sharing digital photos in my recent webinar here. In a couple of months I will be presenting a webinar on digitizing your images, including editing, preserving, resolution and more. Register for it here.
I received the email request this morning at 7:34, didn't look at it until 8:20, and had replied by 8:23. Typing the response to him took longer than anything else. While most of my emails don't have such a good response time, I hope he was impressed.
Update: at 9:08am I received the following reply:
Wow! Thanks for the quick response....
Amazing. This process would have taken weeks, or even months in the B.C. days (Before Computers).