Tuesday, August 02, 2011

FlipPal scanner OK to use at NARA I

From: Diane,
I'm going up to the DC Archives on Wednesday and was wondering if you have ever used a Flip Pal scanner there? I'm going to investigate the land records I questioned you about for my husbands grandfather a few weeks ago.

I've read their restrictions on scanners and they need to be as big as the document or bigger to avoid damage but since the cover comes off it isn't the same as a regular scanner.

Please let me know either way if you've tried or not and what the response was. 

Quick Answer: I didn't try using my Flip Pal there. I would think the Flip Pal would be too limiting,  as the files are usually legal size and many pages thick. There is the "stitching" capability, but am wondering if this would prove too time consuming for files with a hundred pages.

From: Diane
I was at the Archives yesterday. I took a chance and brought the scanner knowing I could leave it in a locker if they said I couldn’t use it. I brought it to the second floor and the folks there never saw one before (can’t believe I’m the first). After I showed them that the top came off and no harm would come to a document they said it would be OK to use.

I had already pulled all four land documents for the “George Oswald” I had written to you about a few weeks ago. After a quick lunch I headed back to the second floor to await my arrival of documents. I searched through all four and was disappointed to discover that none of them are for the right person. I photographed the portion of application that proved these were not the right person (age, place of birth) and then turned the documents back. I had little interest in learning anymore after discovering that. I spent the rest of my day using the public access computers and poked around the library. 

I still had a good time, met some wonderful local genealogists and discovered some tidbits via the internet.


  1. I was able to use my FlipPal at NARA in June to scan Civil War pension files, though it took a bit of discussion. The only provision was that I not slide it over the documents as I moved the scanner. It was still a novelty then and sparked quite a bit of curiosity.

    My camera was actually more useful - and faster - for recording digital images. But the scans are clearer and the stitching has been simple.

  2. Thanks, Susan for your report. Mr. Myrt and I use digital cameras and are quite fast at the process. With so many files to scan, time is of the essence. We do like using the camera copy stands at NARA I and at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC)in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as they provide additional light sources.

    Ol' Myrt here does not take the time to zoom in on each document, trusting that I'll crop the pics once I have more time at home. I also dislike zooming in, because it makes the documents appear to be the same size but with different font sizes. I like to have the documents appear as close to the original as possible, and that includes the relative size.