The Family Memories Preservation Center in Salt Lake City debuted this week, offering free digitalization of photos, films, negatives, slides and other important documents to the public.

“The Memory Lane service is a great opportunity to ensure family memories will be preserved and available for future generations,” Debbie Gurtler, FamilySearch assistant library director, said in a release.

Located on the second floor of the preexisting FamilySearch library, equipment is available for reservations and walk-ins. All you need is a device to store your new digital treasures, such as a USB or external hard drive — but you can even borrow that from the center if you forget, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement.

Reservations can be made online on the Family Memories Preservation Center website.

“Every family probably has photo albums or boxes of photos or old video tapes and reel-to-reel films they have produced or acquired through the years,” Gurtler said.

Victoria Moore, a member of the Orange Country California Genealogy Society, and her mother traveled with a carry-on full of her family albums, tapes and movies to digitalize at the library.

“I brought a lot of items with us,” Moore told the Deseret News. “We worked on newer and much older photo media as well as VHS tapes, hi-8 movie film, and reel-to-reel voice recordings.”

She was excited by all the different machines available in the space that allowed her to digitalize the variety of memories she brought with her.

“Now I have these memories digitized forever and can share them easily,” Moore said. “As the media degrades over the years, we won’t lose the objects.”

“Some of the items were fragile and already falling apart and I would have been reluctant to mail those things away to be digitized professionally,” said Moore.

View Comments

Specialists are available to answer questions and assist as needed. Moore said that “the staff made everything extremely easy to do,” and helped walk her through the steps for using each machine.

During the process, she was able to hear the voice of her great-uncle and aunt on a reel-to-reel recording, where they were “talking about their everyday life.”

Moore said that “it was well worth the effort.”

“Now I have these memories digitized forever and can share them easily,” she said. “As the media degrades over the years, we won’t lose the objects.”

What devices are available at the Family Memories Preservation Center:

  • Audio cassette tape converter.
  • Audio reel-to-reel converter.
  • 8.5-inch x 11-inch flatbed scanner.
  • 11-inch x 17-inch flatbed scanner.
  • Fast photo and document scanner.
  • High-speed slide scanner.
  • 8 mm & Super 8 film digitizer.
  • MiniDV converter.
  • Hi8 video converter.
  • VHS/VHS C film converters.
How FamilySearch is using the future to discover the past with AI
The heartwarming thing a Utah couple did when the youngest of 11 kids graduated high school
Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.