Posts Tagged ‘family history’

Introduction to FamilySearch

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world.  It is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The FamilySearch services and resources are focused on helping you learn more about your family history.  FamilySearch is also a centralized location for recording and archiving your family tree online.  Only records of those who are deceased are available for others to collaborate with.  You can enter and keep track of family members that are living, but these will only be available for you to see.

With tons of records becoming available everyday and their revolutionary ‘volunteer-driven’ indexing programs, this not only the place to keep and share your family history, but the place for discovering more about your family history.

Whats New at FamilySearch?

If you have not been keeping up with the changes at FamilySearch, you are in for three cool surprises.

 1> For a year now, FamilySearch is available to everyone.  Previously it was only available to LDS Church members.  If you do not yet have a FamilySearch login, we encourage you to do so now.


2> Photos and stories can now be attached to the Family Tree!  We all know that a family history is not complete without Photos and Stories.  FamilySearch now allows photos and stories to be entered/uploaded and connected to people in the family tree.  This is great news for Family Photoloom users!  Read more below.

FamilySearch now with photos!

FamilySearch now with photos!

3> FamilySearch has completely revamped their site design and interfaces to their internal services called APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).  FamilySearch is encouraging third parties (such as Photoloom) to add and enhance services through the use of FamilySearch’s published APIs.  This is a win-win for FamilySearch and the companies like Photoloom.  In the end, the real winner is the end user.  You get the benefits of a solid family tree data source AND the revolutionary features and enhancements that come from other specialized companies like Photoloom.

Photoloom and FamilySearch

Photoloom uses these FamilySearch APIs today to pull information about your ancestors from FamilySearch into Photoloom so that you can organize your pictures around your family history.

Photoloom was previously certified with what they called their “New FamilySearch” APIs.  With the recent updates in design and architecture there is a “New-New” FamilySearch API, that we now call “FamilySearch Family Tree”.

Photoloom is currently in the process of being re-certified with the “Access” level FamilySearch Family Tree APIs.   The “Access” level of certification allows Family Photoloom to pull in information about your ancestors from FamilySearch.

What’s Next ?

It’s only natural… Photoloom is the easiest way to organize your Photos around your family history.  Now that FamilySearch is allowing photos and stories to be added to the Family Tree…   Yes, you go it!  Your Photos and Stories, that you have organized around your family history in Photoloom, will be sharable on FamilySearch!!

This functionality is currently in development.  Once complete, we will apply for the “Connect” level of certification with FamilySearch.  This will allow the stories and photos that you are collecting and organizing with Photoloom to become attached to the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Photoloom’s one step Photo Tagging

Photoloom provides a one step process for tagging ancestors in your photos.  Since Photoloom’s person records also include a connection (relationship) to the family tree.  Adding a photo or a story to your FamilySearch Family Tree will be a snap, and much simplified over the 7-step process that FamilySearch uses.

Here are the steps needed to tag a photo with a person in your family tree:

Photoloom (pictures already uploaded)

#1 Drag record onto picture (if needed) Adjust tag rectangle, and you are DONE

FamilySearch (from ‘Photos’ section, pictures already uploaded)

#1 Click picture (if needed) Adjust tag circle area, and you are just getting started J

#2 Type a name for a “Persona name”, press enter.

#3 Click “People” tab for a list of “Persona” tagged pictures

#4 Click one of these Persona Portraits

#5 Type in the PID number or Search for person in the tree

#6 For a “Search”, type in identifying information, click ‘Find’

#7 Press “Link” or “Select” button, and you are DONE

This next level of certification with FamilySearch will be an excellent match allowing the value that Photoloom was design for to be returned back to the FamilySearch Family tree.

Look for updates here on this blog: http://www.photoloom.wordpress.com

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Happy 124th Anniversary, Great-Grandpa Edwin & Great-Grandma Georgia!

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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.

Lightroom2 Compare Window Select Left or Right as Keepers

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 –

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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!

If you have a photograph and family story  (200-500 words) that you would like to share with our readers, please send them in today!

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.

Contest Deadline:
August 31, 2010.  All stories are subject to editing for space and content.

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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.

iPreserve NWEnter 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.

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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.*

Lucy & Wayne Hancock

Lucy & Wayne Hancock (note the Bible Wayne is holding)

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!

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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 Ewell
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

12:00-12:20pm [Demonstration]
Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Scott Huskey
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!)
Jim Greene
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.

3:00-3:50pm [Demonstration]
Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Scott Huskey
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
Barry Ewell
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.)

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