Happy 124th Anniversary, Great-Grandpa Edwin & Great-Grandma Georgia!
Posts Tagged ‘family history’
Meet today’s Guest Blogger – Denise Levenick. Better known as The Family Curator, I first met Denise at the St. George Family History Expo last March, and soon came to appreciate both her expertise and her practical approach to preserving family memories and memorabilia. Add to that her generous, affable disposition and there you have it – the perfect Guest Blogger! Denise has made it her mission “to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their family treasures.” It is a privilege to welcome her to Above the Trees!
Was your mom like mine, insisting that you include all your siblings or classmates when you played a game or planned a party? Did you really want to cross the class bully’s name off the guest list, but Mom made you include everyone? Take heart! When it comes to creating a first-rate photo collection, “It’s Okay to Play Favorites.”
Professional photographers have to master the business end of taking pictures. This means that photos cannot languish away on memory chips. They have to be uploaded to a computer, sorted, minimally touched-up, and then presented to a client for selection and (hopefully) purchase. Customers also want to see only The Best, after all that’s why they hired a Pro.
When the family photographer begins to think like a Professional, it becomes easier to realize that Playing Favorites is not only Okay, it is necessary to building a quality photo collection. Of course, the family historian has other considerations as well. An out-of-focus or poorly framed shot of Aunt Mildred may be the only photograph of her at all. By all means, this one is a Keeper.
These same techniques are useful if you are working with a shoebox of family prints. Any photo collection will benefit from judicious sorting. As a bonus, your family will come to thank you that the slide show features minutes of fabulous photos instead of hours of marginal memories.
So, your images are in front of you – either in a software program like iPhoto, PS Elements, or Lightroom, or spread out on the dining room table. How do you select The Best?
First, pull together the “Photo Shoot” or set. This would be the Rehearsal Dinner, the Birthday Party, or your walking tour of Paris. From this set of photos you want to choose the best, which also means dumping the worst. Why waste time and effort with bad photos? Some photo programs tempt you to use Star Ratings, but why? As Photo Pro Scott Kelby notes, do you think you will ever want to look at one or two star photos? Those should be the ones that are out of focus or have heads cut off. Even three star photos? The Star selection system is slow; pros would never earn a living if they spent their time deciding if a photo was worth two stars or three stars. If you think you might want the picture some day, there is a way to keep it without inviting it to the party. Read on.
How to Play Favorites with your Photos
1. Assemble Photo Shoot pictures
2. Ignore typical Star Ratings; instead quickly select the Best, reject the Worst. Use stars (or flags) to assign one star Keep and five stars Reject. That’s it; two choices. Keep or Reject. (Using stars or flags allows you to create a group which can be easily selected later.)
3. Can’t decide which of six is the best? Place two similar photos side-by-side (Lightroom2 and PS Elements allow this comparison view.) Choose the best of the two, reject the other. Bring a new photo in to compete with the winner. Audition each photo against the winner. Try to move quickly; don’t let yourself get bogged down in selecting; go with your instinct.
4. Make a New Collection Set and drag all the Keeps into this set. Label it Rehearsal Dinner. (You could call it Rehearsal Dinner Keeps, if you like).
5. Now, you have to make one more decision. If you want to get rid of the bad photos, select the Reject group and Delete. If you just can’t throw them away, make a second New Collection Set and drag all the Rejects into this set. Label it clearly Rehearsal Dinner Rejects. There, you saved them, but no one has to look at them ever again if they don’t want to!
Playing Favorites will eliminate bullies from your photo collection and give you the best and the brightest to work with for your slide show, album, or web page. You may even gain a reputation as the Family Pro Photographer.
For more ideas on organizing, editing, and sharing your photographs, visit The Family Curator.
Further reading –
- Do Try This With Your Photos at Home
- Old Framed Photo Yields a Surprise Underneath!
- Setting Up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 1
- Setting Up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 2
It’s the heart of family reunion season, and the stories are flying – why not write a couple down and send them to us!?!
We founded Photoloom on the principle at that every image has a story to tell – and each story is a thread in tapestry of our lives. “Family Threads” is a periodic column here on Above the Trees that celebrates that philosophy, and we’d like you to be a part of it!
How to Enter:
Send your photo and story to renee(at)photoloom(dot)com, with “Family Threads” as the subject line of your email. Please include your story in the body of your email, and attach your image as a jpg file.
Winners will receive a FREE one-year Premium Membership to Family Photoloom, and winning entries will be published in Above the Trees.
August 31, 2010. All stories are subject to editing for space and content.
For the last few years, as Scott and I have traveled to family history conferences around the country with Family Photoloom, we’ve talked to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people about their family history pictures. We’ve learned that one of the biggest challenges folks face is getting their photos and documents digitized. Some don’t know the first thing about how to scan photos, but most simply lack the time or resources. Many note that they are looking for someone they can trust to do the job professionally, but are reluctant to mail their priceless memories across the country, or, heaven forbid, halfway around the world.
Enter iPreserve. We were first introduced to iPreserve when we met McKay Murdock, the manager of the St. George iPreserve, at the St. George Family History Expo last March. As he explained to us, iPreserve is a national chain of independently owned franchises, dedicated to digitizing family history.
iPreserve is a localized service, so there is no need to mail anything anywhere. They come to you. They sit down with you, explain your digitizing options for whatever media you have, and take the time to find out exactly what you want done. Then they convert everything onto DVD or CD, either in your home or in their labs. They have the most awesome equipment for doing the best possible job, too.
It took Scott about a minute (and me a minute more) to decide that iPreserve was the answer we’d been looking for. Within the month, we had made the decision to expand the scope of Photoloom LLC – and signed the papers to purchase the first iPreserve franchise in the Pacific Northwest (which we ingeniously named…get ready….iPreserve NW).
We are really excited about this new adventure! iPreserve dovetails perfectly with Family Photoloom, and provides a solid, viable solution to an important, but often overwhelming problem facing family historians – or anyone really – who has media that predates the digital world. (Isn’t that just about everyone?)
We’ve always been in the business of preserving memories. Now we have a practical way to address that process from start to finish. We knew going into this venture that it would be rewarding, and though our iPreserve franchise has only been up and running for a short while, it’s already clear that even we underestimated both the need and the rewards of such a service.
It seems like the moment I broach the subject with someone, a misty look will inevitably cross their face, and then they’ll say something like, “I’ve got this box of slides that used to belong to my Dad…” or “I have all these old movies in a box in the basement…”
Just yesterday, I had that experience myself. I watched an 8mm movie of my seven-year old self from Christmas 1970. I’ve never seen it before – I guess it got tucked away right after being developed, and it didn’t see light of day again until Scott converted it. It has the best footage of my cat, Shelia, on it. And a moment where my Mom is really, truly happy. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it means a lot to me.
And that’s the thing – these memories, they are precious reminders of a life well-lived. All people want to do is see them again, and save them for their families. We do that for them – both iPreserve NW and Family Photoloom – and it’s great. I couldn’t ask for more.
If you live in the Portland area and would like to contact us about converting your media, please contact us at (503) 628-2228, or visit our iPreserveNW Facebook page and leave us a message. Or check out the iPreserve website to find a location near you.
Last night, while my friend Cheryl and I were sitting in my driveway watching the kids blow up things, we got to talking.
“I once had a friend who said that one of the guys in KISS was her cousin,” Cheryl told me.
“Yeah,” I said, “I had a friend who said she was related to Jesse James.” (Aren’t we all?)
Cheryl went on, “The same girl told me that she had a cousin in Bachman Turner Overdrive when they went through town. In fact, I think she may have had a cousin in every band that played in the 70’s.”
We both laughed. Everyone knows someone who has a “cousin.”
Family history is full of legends and lies. And there are plenty of articles with great advice on how to slog through them in pursuit of your family facts – Cyndi’s List has a whole section dedicated to collecting oral history. But today is about taking the road less traveled. Today is about embracing the legends and loving the lies.*
Take my Grandfather Hancock. (This is, by the way, the first time in my life that I have ever referred to him as my Grandfather. Anywho…) He left my grandma, thirty-one and pregnant, high and dry with seven children at the height of the Depression. That’s a fact. My dad, the youngest, never met his biological father. That’s a fact too. But it is at the line where fact meets legend that Grandpa Hancock gets interesting. Wayne Hancock, so the story goes, was a traveling preacher, and would be gone from his family for months at a time. When I was thirteen, I overheard my Dad and a few of his siblings speculating at a family reunion that their father probably had another family “up river” somewhere. Maybe even two! Scandalous – yes. Intriguing – absolutely!
Then there’s his genealogy. Family reports suggest that Wayne was anywhere from eight to fifty percent Blackfoot, but exhaustive research has yet to unearth even one Native American in his line. Oh, and that claimed relation to Declaration signer John? Also unsubstantiated as of today. (Though I admit that I’m still holding out hope on that one.) And finally, even his name is still up for debate: half the family will put their hand on the Bible and swear his middle name was Tecumseh, named for the 19th century Shawnee leader. Cool, huh? But no record supports this, and census records indicate that his middle name began with an “F” and not a “T.” Those who cling to the myth simply dismiss the disparity, blaming Spencerian scrawl.
My point is, yes, I recognize that 98% this is richly embellished family folklore. But somewhere, under most family stories is a kernel of truth; it just takes the time and dedication to peel away the outer layers of malarkey. And if even no truth is found when you get to the center, the story still bears recording somewhere (albeit far from the Fact File). Because whether they are about royalty or riches, rock stars or rogues, these stories are little threads woven into our family fabric. These stories, and what we think about them, say something not only about their subjects, but about who we really are. They tell a truth of a different kind.
*Note: Unfortunately, some family stories are simply hurtful. Stop them. This post isn’t in any way about perpetuating painful gossip.
15-Minutes Family History: Consider one family legend. What are the details of the story? Do you remember where you first heard it? Does the family disagree on the “facts”? What do you think? Record these things in a journal or other appropriate place; just be sure to note the nature of the entry!
I spent some serious time today poring over the schedule for next week’s National Genealogical Society Family History Conference [NGS] in Salt Lake. WOW! It lists roughly 200 classes, workshops, luncheons, and dinners for attendees to choose from, plus another hundred-plus demonstrations in the new GENTECH area. If you’re a first-timer, such abundance can be a little overwhelming, so I thought I’d offer my top picks for the photo-historians in the crowd.
Wednesday, April 28
♦ Your Genealogical Bucket List
Ann Carter Fleming
She had me at “Bucket.” The course description promises to provide attendees direction and motivation to organize, analyze, publish, and prepare to distribute your collection.
♦ Photo Editing Software Tricks, Tips and Applications for Genealogical Novice to Expert (Try to say that three times fast!)
Barry does a great job of detailing the newest and best software trends for family historians, and his classes are well worth the time.
Thursday, April 29
♦ Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Come learn about what’s new and what’s just over the horizon for Family Photoloom. (GENTECH Demonstration Area A)
♦ The Power of Community and the Web 2.0 Tools to Foster Collaboration and Community (These people LOVE their long titles!)
When I read the description for this course, the theme from Cheers started playing in my head…
♪ ♫ Sometimes you wanna go
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they’re always glad you came…♪♫ (now it’s in your head, too. You can thank me later.)
Collaboration is an amazing thing, and I’m so grateful that Family Photoloom is a part of this movement. I’m looking forward to hearing what Jim has to share about all of the cool tools out there that are weaving the family history community together in ways we could only dream of a decade ago.
Friday, April 30
♦ Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams: Twentieth –century Photos in the Family Archive
Maureen A. Taylor
Better known in the genealogy circles as The Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor is a consummate expert of family history photographs. Attend this class to learn to date recent photographs and moving images, techniques for stopping the destruction of color photos, and low-cost storage solutions.
♦ Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Well, of course I’m going to include my favorite photo-historian! Come see what’s new at Photoloom. (GENTECH Demonstration Area B)
♦ Digital Photography for Genealogists
I’ve taken this one before, so I can tell you that this solid, well-organized presentation will give you all the information you need to acquire and preserve documents using your digital camera.
Saturday, May 1
♦ Immigrant Clues in Photographs
Maureen A. Taylor
I love a good mystery, so I’m really excited to attend this class to learn more techniques for reading the clues that photographs hold for a curious researcher like me!
I’ll be TWEETING from the conference, so whether you are there or sitting at home in your easy-chair, be sure to follow me on Twitter @Photoloom. (Use hashtag #NGS for the latest conference news.)
This is a picture of my (much older) brother with our Uncle Russel, somewhere around Maryville, Missouri, about 1959. Uncle Russel wasn’t really an uncle at all, but the husband of an adopted second-cousin who was nearly given back to the orphanage and then unofficially re-adopted by my grandparents, making her an Aunt. Just goes to show, families aren’t always as clean-cut as a pedigree chart.
Both as the host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast and in real life, Lisa Louise Cooke is warm, inviting, and full of interesting conversation. An expert genealogist herself, Lisa is always well-informed and genuinely interested in what her listeners want or need to know.
Lisa’s offers family historians a multitude of great (intangible) Freebies through her podcasts:
- Family History: Genealogy Made Easy – The BEST deal around, as far as I’m concerned! Lisa walks fledgling family historians step-by-step through the in-and-outs of family history research. By the end of the series, you’ll feel as though you have wings to fly to the top of your family tree and beyond.
- Genealogy Gems Podcasts – Regular free podcasts are published about twice a month, and included updates from the world of genealogy, answers to listener email, and interviews with movers and shakers in the genealogy community.
- Family Tree Magazine’s monthly radio show/podcast – Each episode features interviews with genealogy experts and Family Tree Magazine (FTM) editors. The current show, for example, carries a Census theme, and includes interviews with FTM editor Allison Stacy on “Secrets of the Census,” and researcher/writer David Fryxell about his article, “Everybody Counts” which highlights the evolution of the census.
But Free Stuff Friday isn’t about Intangibles, is it? (The correct answer here is “No, Renee, it is not. It is about free Stuff.”) Which brings me to this week’s…
Freebie o’ the Week: Genealogy Gems Toolbar
What it is/does: This toolbar links to the best of Genealogy Gems and delivers the freshest content directly to your browser – including the Genealogy Gems website, Facebook, Twitter, blog and videos, as well as links to Lisa’s top choices for the best free genealogy websites, a webpage highlighter feature, and a search box. Once installed, you can customize it with any of thousands of free apps from the App Marketplace.
How to get it: Just go to http://thegenealogygemspodcast.ourtoolbar.com/ and click the download button. Installing was amazingly simple, and took me less than a minute.
Downside? The toolbar takes up about a third of an inch of screen real estate, but other than that I can’t see a downside.
Why it’s cool: Are you kidding? Look at it – slim, sleek, and busting out with focused family history information at the click of a mouse. I like that it doesn’t invade my screen, but instead sits there politely, just waiting until I need it.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that when I was at the St. George Expo, Lisa gifted me with one of her beautiful Genealogy Gems pins so I could sport some bling. (Most people recognize that I am somewhat Bling Challenged.) However, that in no way influenced my opinion of her or her podcast, because I already thought they were both great!
We are constantly working to make Family Photoloom better and easier for you, and today we want to introduce you to our newest feature: Super-easy record merging.
When using Family Photoloom, you may occasionally find that you have created duplicate records for an individual. (If you import data from New FamilySearch, it is even easier to wind up with duplicate records.)
- Click (using the mouse) to select on the 1st record you would like to merge.
- Hold down the Ctrl-key (Windows users), or the Command/Apple key (Mac users). While holding this key down on the keyboard, use the mouse to select the second record to merge.
- Click either one of the green “MERGE” buttons.
That’s it, your records are merged!
Performing a merge of two records will combine:
- The record’s vital information (name, death, birth date/place)
- All portraits created with the two records
- All relationships created with the two records
Ready to start hanging pictures on your family tree? Sign up for your FREE Family Photoloom membership today!
As we travel and spread the word about Family Photoloom, Scott and I attend a number of family history conferences, many of which are hosted by our good friends at Family History Expos: it is in large part because of Holly Hansen (FHExpos President) and her crew that that we feel so welcomed and supported by this amazing community. Now it’s our turn to offer support.
On February 20th, Family History Expos experienced a hard blow when their website was destroyed by a fire suppression accident in the data center that housed their servers. They are now rebuilding, and (as Paul McCartney once put it), “Every day, in every way, it’s getting better and better.” We invite you to visit their new website, a beautiful work in progress, and register to receive their free E-news and Tips.
To register, just go to the Family History Expos website, and click “Register” in the “My Account” box on the right hand side of the page.
As an added incentive, Family History Expos is offering a free digital copy of their very popular interview book “Life in Your Town” to anyone who registers. I signed up a few days ago, and received my e-book this morning. It comes as a MS Word .doc, allowing you to enter details and pictures of an individual’s life right into the document. I plan to pass a copy on to my 18-year old who has recently been conducting life-interviews with her grandma. (I don’t know how long this free e-book offer will last so sign up today!)
P.S. One of the things I love the most about Family History Expos is that they offer something for everyone, from the hard-core DNA-tracking genealogist (not me) to the journal-writing picture preserver (me!). Consider attending one of the many Expos sponsored by Family History Expos. This year there will be Expos from California to Atlanta and many places in between. For more information, see their website at http://www.fhexpos.com/.