Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

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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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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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.

Watch Lisa’s interview with Photoloom President Scott Huskey.

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!

Family Photoloom is always FREE. Click here and join today!

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February was an exciting month at Photoloom all the way around! For starters, we’ve made big changes to our pricing model. Family Photoloom now offers a FREE account that will meet the needs of most casual users. Free Membership now provides a much broader range of service than our previous “Trial” account, and includes up to 200 image uploads and 10 guests. Sign up today!

Upgraded “Premium Membership” will still be available to individuals and organizations that need heftier service, still at the low price of $39 a year. Premium Membership includes unlimited uploads and unlimited guests, plus a personalized Family Photoloom URL (i.e., ww.familyphotoloom.com/smith). Additionally, we now also offer Lifetime Premium Membership for a one-time only service fee of $90.

I don’t want this post to go on forever, so here’s a quick overview of the recent updates, changes, and improvements we’ve experienced:

  • New Membership structure:
    • FREE – Updated & Expanded to 200 pictures/ 10 guests
    • Premium Members – Additional benefits include unlimited pictures / unlimited guests (yearly service fee)
    • NEW Lifetime Premium – A one-time service fee gets you Family Photoloom for life.
  • New affiliates:
    • Use your Family Photoloom images to create charts and beautiful heirloom-quality art.
    • Keep checking back – we will be adding more affiliates soon!
  • New Account functions:
    • Quick rotation of images that are sideways or upside-down
    • Easy merging of duplicate records
  • New FamilySearch Certification:
    • Import information from New FamilySearch into Family Photoloom.
    • Link ancestors photographs and documents into the New FamilySearch Global tree
  • New website:
    • Complete website renovation
    • New blog location – we’ve moved from Blogger to WordPress!

Please take some time to visit our website, log into your account, and check out our new features. And please tell your friends and family about Family Photoloom!

P.S.  Just a note on our new blog location:  I had to clear my cache for the redirect from the Photoloom website (Menu►Read►Our Blog) to work.  So, if you’ve visited our blog before by going through our website, you may need to do the same thing.  When is this computer just going to learn to read my mind?  Wait, no, I don’t want that.  I take that back.)


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We just returned from an amazing couple of days in St. George, Utah, where we attended the Family History Expo last Friday and Saturday. As one of a small cadre of “Bloggers of Honor,” I spent much of my time Tweeting and taking notes, but I also made it a point to get to know a little more about my fellow geneabloggers. Let me tell you – I’m in pretty great company.

The Friday night banquet offered me a good opportunity. Themed The Wizards of Blogz,** banquet attendees heard from a handful of bloggers who spoke on the amazing family history resources to be found via social networking – there has never been a better time to be researching the past.

“Where else [besides the Internet] can you reach 50,000 people in a few seconds?” Arlene Eakle (Arlene Eakle’s Genealogy Blog) reminded us of the days when folks would post a surname in the hometown newspaper and wait, just hoping someone would find it and take the time to reply. Now, finding long lost cousins often takes nothing more than setting up a Facebook page dedicated to that surname, and boom! Tons of distant relatives are out there, ready and waiting to help, and hoping you can help them. It is no hyperbole to say that the Internet has changed the face of genealogy forever.

Our Master of Ceremonies, Jean Wilcox Hibbin (Circle Mending) entertained us with altered renditions of Oz classics and told us all about the care and feeding of a genealogy blog. I have an affinity for Jean because, though she is a dedicated genealogist, her passion is preserving music, and I love that. We all record the data for one reason or another, but when we keep the music and the stories and the images alive, we save the heartbeat of our people to pass along. There is something pure and beautiful in that.

Blogger AC Ivory (Find My Ancestors) also spoke. In a crowd where even I end up on the younger end of the age spectrum, AC is a baby. But he’s savvy about genealogy and media, and he offered solid advice and encouragement to family historians about how to get started blogging and tweeting. (If you want to follow Family History Expo blogger comments on Twitter, just do a search for the #fhexpo hashtag.)

During the dinner, I had a lot of fun sitting with Gena Ortega (of World Vital Records and Gena’s Genealogy Blog). She attended dinner with her two boys, and between them and Scott, at least a gallon of pink Kool-aid was consumed! Among her many responsibilities, Gena maintains GenealogyWise, a site she described in her remarks to the banquet crowd as “Facebook for genealogy.” That intrigued me, so one of the first things I did when I got home was join and set up a page for Photoloom. The site is very easy to use, and a nice alternative for family historians who want to avoid the Farmville/Mafia/Pirate crowd (which, by the way, you will only understand if you are already involved with the Farmville/Mafie/Pirate crowd). One of the cool features of GenealogyWise is its Chat Room, where you can ask questions, visit with fellow family historians, or attend a scheduled chats on a variety of topics and hosted by experts in the field. This Sunday I’m planning to attend a chat hosted by Jean that will focus on breaking into the genealogy lecture circuit. (Click here or on the sidebar to join the Photoloom group on GenealogyWise.)

One final blogger I wanted to be sure to mention is Denise Levenick, of Family Curator. What a nice lady! Like me, she’s a writer in her real life, and “slips on a hat and veil and may be found writing classic tales of romance and suspense as Miss Penelope Dreadful (for the Shades of the Departed online photography magazine.) The focus of Family Curator dovetails nicely with Above the Trees, so if you are reading us, you may want to check it out. I’m hoping to persuade Denise to write a guest blog for us.

That’s it for today. In the coming weeks, I’ll be making some big announcements about new Photoloom features and affiliates, adding a couple more installments to follow up the St. George Expo (On the Vender Floor; Class Notes), and gearing up for our first National Genealogical Conference, which happens at the end of April in Salt Lake City.

** The banquet couldn’t have been a more suitably themed – by the time we arrived in St. George, Holly Hansen and her crew at Family History Expos had survived a doozy of a twister – a fatal server failure that brought their website and email to a screeching halt just a week before the event. And yet, Holly emerged from the storm pressed, polished, ready for a world filled with interesting characters and face new challenges.

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