Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

Gift subscriptions

Genes Reunited gift subscription

Do you know someone interested in discovering their family history?

You can now buy a gift subscription to Genes Reunited so they can research their family tree.

Buy gift or redeem gift


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Portable Scanner

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Lesley Report 15 Jul 2013 19:02

When I have been to Family History fairs I have seen these to buy and thought they would be useful to take to records offices etc. There are several on the market (In England) with very different prices I wondered if anyone here had bought and used one, how good they are and whether to go for one at the lower end or a more expensive one.

I am particularly interested as I am going to visit an elderly man and thought they would be useful to scan the photos he has.



Gins Report 15 Jul 2013 19:37

If you have an iphone, it might be worth checking this out


DazedConfused Report 15 Jul 2013 19:50

I recently bought via Amazon a

Skypix TSN410

It is about 10" long and just over 1/2" wide.

It is wonderful. Never thought I needed one til I got this. Had a wait as it came from Japan. But you can get so many via internet now.

Do just go onto Amazon and look at what is available. THere are quite a few.


Lesley Report 15 Jul 2013 21:06

Thanks for the replies, I have looked at the one mentioned on Amazon and it seems very good for the price, is it powered by batteries?

There are several kinds out there with very different prices but this seems a reasonable [rice and will probably send for it (in stock).


CuriousFish Report 15 Jul 2013 21:18

Will be interested in how you get on. Please update the information if you do buy one. I use my camera, set on 'text' and think the images come up pretty well.


Reggie Report 15 Jul 2013 22:17

I'm sure the info about how it is powered will be included in the 'blurb' on Amazon


William Report 15 Jul 2013 23:20

Another vote for the SkyPix. I have recently purchased the SkyPix TSN450. It is pretty good. The actual scanner head (300mm x30mmx30mm) snaps into a base so it also acts as a scanner into which you feed the documents (up to A4). When in this mode it is powered via the USB connection from your computer and can scan either in BW or colour at up to 1200 dpi. Remove the scanner head (a simple push of a lever) and you have a hand held scanner that you simply slide over the item to be scanned. In this mode it is powered by an inbuilt lithium battery and will scan in BW or colour at up to 600 dpi. (I don't know why resolution is lower in this case nor how long the battery power lasts). I bought it new directly from China (via Ebay Australia) for Au$129-00 including delivery ---- I see Amazon has it for $172-00 plus delivery. I only needed to buy a micro memory card (slots into the head) and away I went.
Ha, ha! :-D Now that I re-read this it sounds like an advert ---- it isn't ---- I am just pleased with the unit.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 16 Jul 2013 00:57

"useful to take to records offices"

Does anyone know what a record office's policy would be if you wanted to scan a document? Does the hand held device have to touch the paper?


William Report 16 Jul 2013 02:03

That could be a problem +++DetEcTive+++ as normally the scanner rests on the page. I will do a pass about 1cm above the page and let you know how clear the scan turns out.

Did it. At least on this unit (and I assume all other hand held units), when held about 1 cm above the document, the scanner will not detect nor read read the document. It has to actually lie on the page. I cannot see the archive holders being keen on people dragging an implement over the surface of valuable documents.

Thinking on this perhaps a piece of clear glass or perspex may help. Placing it on top of a document and then the scanner on the glass/perspex. That way the document will be protected from the scanner sliding over its surface and perhaps because the scanner is now in contact with a surface, it may then scan correctly. We shall see.

Well, that worked well. Document not subjected to a hard rubbing surface and a good scan resulted. If you have a portable handheld scanner in mind it would be an good idea to get a piece of A4 sized clear perspex.

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 16 Jul 2013 08:20

I know I have been to one RO or Local Archive that didn't allow the use of hand held scanners. Admittedly it was some time ago and I can't remember which one it was.

I suppose the best thing to do would be to check the policy of the relevant repository before going.



RolloTheRed Report 16 Jul 2013 08:33

If you have a reasonably modern smart phone with a camera of 5 megapixels or better 8 then there are several scanning applications ( for iPhone, Android ) which work fine and do not involve physical contact with the documents. By and large using physical scanners will not be allowed inc portable ones.

It is worth remembering that the captured image size of a smart phone can be a lot larger than its physical display.

For some reason I have found that while it is ok to make scans with a smart phone they can get in a tizzy with larger tablets.


DazedConfused Report 16 Jul 2013 12:13

My Scanner uses a couple of triple A batteries and has a micro disk. I already have a couple and the adaptors that ensure you can use it in a computer.

You just pass it over the page. Its great. It even did a good copy of a picture I have of g/grandad which is painted onto glass and is framed behind glass. Tried taking pictures but just would not work. Scanner did its job just fine.

Also have a camera but have found that sometimes the clarity leaves much to be desired.


Lesley Report 17 Jul 2013 19:21

Thanks for your help the one that seems to be popular is on Amazon for about £30 which seems very reasonable so when I have sent for it (may be a week or so) will let you know how I get on.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 18 Jul 2013 08:37

Not all records offices allow "things" to be taken in.

The National Archives at Kew will only allow pencils to be taken in with paper and these have to carried in a see through bag .everything else including mobiles have to be put into the lockers .

This is to protect precious originals and to stop people taking out what they shouldn't !!


DazedConfused Report 18 Jul 2013 19:31

And another reason Archives/Libraries do not like you taking in Cameras and Handheld scanners is that this then removes the chance for them to charge you a fortune for photo copies. This part of their business is extremely lucrative!