We’ve got my mother’s old recipe box, my husband’s mother’s old recipe box, and his grandmother’s old recipe box. We want to be able to share these family memories with other relatives so we’ve decided to digitize the recipe cards.

With Covid-19 restrictions starting to lift, I got an appointment at a local Family History Center where I was able to use a high speed photo scanner (in the image below) to digitize old family postcards, recipe cards, and some photos.

  • You can use this Find a Family History Center link to look up a center near you (they’re free) and then select “Website” where you can read about the offerings at that FHC. Specifically, look at the “Hardware and Equipment” so you’ll know what type of scanners they have. The image below shows the high-speed scanner I used for recipe cards, postcards, and photos.

I brought an external hard drive (in the image below) and transferred the images from the FHC computer to my hard drive. I was scanning a lot of images and didn’t want to run out of memory on the hard drive so I opted for a larger external hard drive rather than a small thumbdrive a lot of people use for images. You can buy either at stores like Walmart, Costco, Sams Club, Amazon, etc.

Then I used Google Slides, a free program, and created a template for my recipe cards. This is still a work in progress but with a free Google account you can see:

  • an example of how I’ve organized my mother’s recipes
  • a free template you can use for your own recipe scans Go to the upper right-hand corner and select Present to view the slideshow, click anywhere on the slide to move to the next slide, select ESC to leave the slideshow, go to File, Make a Copy, to make a copy of the template for your own use. If you create your own slideshow, you may want to also download it as a PDF file. The slideshow is a fun way to view the memories, but the PDF file is more useful if you ever want to use the recipes.

You can also use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a slideshow or PDF of old recipes. I’ve done this as well, and they have some fun extras, like templates and different ways to transition between slides (I like page curl).

So, now I have a digital copy of these recipes and can save my mother’s recipe box with my siblings. Next, I’ll do the same for my husband’s family recipe boxes. In the meantime, I’m going to make a Key Lime Pie – a family favorite. Best with your family history!

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