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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    New Reviews for How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Thumbs Up!

    Still deciding whether or not you need a copy of my new family history handbook How to Archive Family Keepsakes? Check out these reviews and news bytes from genealogists and family historians you may know --

    and remember:  

    Proceeds from book sales throughout the blog book tour will be used to fund the 2013 Student Scholarship Grant awarded to assist the genealogical education of a promising young family historian.

    Midge Frazel, cemetery / gravestone expert and techie, writes at Granite in My Blood:

    OK, so I AM organized. I love being organized, but I discovered very early in my reading of her [My California-Girl friend, Denise Levenick's] book that I still have a LOT to learn from this book. Buy it! I guarantee that you will findthings and Web sites you do not know about.

    In honor of her book tour, I purchased an different archival box for my file. . . This is what genealogist want for Valentine's Day plus a copy of Denise's book.

    Denise Olson, news hound, tech guru and bookseller, writes at Moultrie Creek Books and

    In How to Archive Family Keepsakes, Denise Levenick has created an amazing reference for anyone who has inherited a collection of family letters, documents and personal items. For family historians and genealogists, this is an essential guide for organizing and managing the family archive.

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes is a great reference and one you’ll want to include in your library of research essentials.

    Caroline Pointer, genealogy and technology artist at 4YourFamilyStory, writes

    . . . after reading her book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes, I have to say she rocks it in her book. . .
In fact, in reading her book you can tell it is her passion, which is always awesome.

    With her simple how-to's, checklists, and forms, when you purchase Denise's book {Not if. I'm that confident you will purchase this book.}, you will not only be motivated to preserve your family's keepsakes, but you will have the tools to go through that box {Or if you're like me, boxes} of your family's 'stuff' you have tucked away in that closet in your guest bedroom that you keep telling yourself you need to go through and do 'something' with.

    Moreover, what I really appreciate is how Denise writes her tips and suggestions in How to Archive Family KeepsakesShe gives you many options in her preservation suggestions, and she does so in a way that makes you feel like she's right next to you sharing her knowledge.

    Lynn Palermo, family history writing coach at The Armchair Genealogist, comments

    There comes a time in your research when you decide to take all the documents, artifacts and photos you’ve accumulated throughout the years and formulate them into stories. One of the biggest obstacles we face as writers is the overwhelming task of getting all that information organized so we can begin to write. . .

    After reading Denise’s book it became clear to me she had written a book that stood at the core of helping authors prepare to write.

    footnoteMaven, Editor Publisher of the popular online photography magazine, Shades of the Departed, writes 

    You can use the book for quick answers, efficient archival workflow, digital savvy, collecting strategies, and most importantly confidence. Confidence that no matter what you acquire you have an answer as to how to proceed.

    I keep the book on my desk and refer to it often. Treat yourself! It is so worth it.

    Shades gives it 4 out of 4 old cameras:


    Ready to purchase your own copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes? Now available in both PRINT and eBook editions. Click the button to see ordering options.

    Visit Week 2 of the Blog Book Tour for more exclusive articles on working with family history photos, documents, and artifacts, and a chance to win the Week 2 Giveaway Prize.


    Blog Book Tour Visits Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

    First, Save Family History, Then Share It

    Although Dr. Bill and I have never met, I feel like we are old friends. How could that be? We don’t email, share Tweets or FaceBook “Likes,” or post on each other’s Pinterest boards. I feel a connection to Bill because of the stories he spins on this blog. Whether he’s remembering a favorite relative or recalling an interesting time or place, Dr. Bill reminds me that ancestor stories are what family history is really all about.

    Today’s Guest Post for the Blog Book Tour features an excerpt from my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes on the role of the Creator who inherits an ancestor’s stories, photos, and artifacts. Before you get started organizing all your genealogy heirlooms and records, it's a good idea to know your overall goal. I hope you enjoy reading about the many opportunities for creating ancestor stories from your own family archive.

    Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012).

    Family History Curators, Creators, and Caretakers

    People who inherit family archives often fall into one of three categories: the Curator, the Creator or the Caretaker. The Curator can’t wait to open those boxes and get everything sorted and organized.

    The Creator sees possibility, too. Writers, photographers, filmmakers, scrapbookers, and family historians are all creators who see potential projects in the depths of a family archive. In their excitement to create something from what they’ve found, creator-types can find it difficult to pause and organize, and then to pause again to preserve the materials they have used.

    The Caretaker, on the other hand, might be just as happy to push the cartons to the back of the garage and forget about them, but in good conscience, he can’t. It just wouldn’t be responsible. (continue reading at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories). . .

    And, for a chance to win a Family History Photo Archive Kit, remember to leave a comment at the Blog Tour post on Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories.


    footnoteMaven is Talking About Many Things! Blog Book Tour Visits Shades of the Departed


    How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour Visits Shades of the Departed

    It's "Many Things Thursday" at Shades of the Departed online photography magazine, and Editor/Publisher footnoteMaven joins the virtual book tour today with personal insights and book highlights of particular interest to anyone caring for family history photographs. fM also shares the backstory of The Family Curator's alter ego, Miss Penelope Dreadful, and a few more tales from the Shades archives.

    Longtime fans of footnoteMaven's work with historical photographs and genealogy citation standards will be happy to see fM online again after a too-long stretch of dreadfully distracting disasters. I hope this is just the first of many more posts to light up the dark at Shades.


    from Shades of the Departed, Many Things Thursday

    Many of us find ourselves in the position of family curator. How each of us deals with that position is often the true story. Denise Levenick has a longtime interest in her family history. Stories of her maternal grandmother growing up in Colorado and Kansas nurtured that interest and a steamer trunk full of letters and photographs sparked her odyssey.

    While wandering the web one day I bumped into Denise's experiment in family history. She was writing about a transcription project for her class of high school students using her family letters. I was hooked (continue reading at Shades of the Departed). . .

    And, for a chance to win a Family History Photo Archive Kit, remember to leave a comment at today's Blog Tour post on Shades of the Departed.


    Wordless Wednesday: Another Kind of Family History Trunk


    It isn't all acid-free boxes and white gloves when you inherit an estate. Learn how to deal with the mountains of memorabilia in my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes, now featured in a virtual Blog Book Tour through January 26, 2013.


    A Coffee, A Comfy Chair and a Q & A: Blog Book Tour Visits The Armchair Genealogist


    A Coffee, A Comfy Chair and a Q & A with the Author: The Blog Book Tour Visits The Armchair Genealogist

    from today's interview by Lynn Palermo, The Armchair Genealogist

    I am thrilled today to welcome Denise Levenick to The Armchair Genealogist. Denise is the author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes. I've been talking a lot about getting organized this January. Not only because it's that time of the year, New Year's goals bring it out of us but as well many of you are preparing to write The Family History Writing Challenge. Yesterday, I talked about what a wonderful tool this book will be in helping you get ready to write. Today, Denise and I are going to talk organizing your family history stuff because we all know it can be monster. 

    Grab a coffee, pull up a comfy chair and join me for a conversation with Denise, as we explore her new book, How to Archive Your Family Keepsakes (continue reading at The Armchair Genealogist) . . .


    Family Keepsakes: Save, Skim or Trash? Blog Book Tour Visits OliveTree Genealogy

    What to Save? What to Toss? 4 Questions That Can Help You Decide with FREE Handout for Tour Readers

    Today the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour visits blogger Lorine McGinnis Schulze at OliveTreeGenealogy.

    We are talking about working with the "stuff" we inherit, but this applies to what we decide to keep and pass on to our descendants too! You'll want to read today's Guest Post at OliveTree Genealogy and download the FREE Handout -- a handy list of What to Save, What to Skim, and What to Toss. This handout will be available for a limited time, so don't delay. 

    Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012).

    It can be hard for family historians to let go of anything that might carry a family story, no matter how old or broken that keepsake might be -- the chipped china teacup you remember from your grandmother's kitchen cupboard, the mildewed children's book that was once bright and new, the keys to long-forgotten locks.

    One key isn't much to save, but it doesn't take long for family keepsakes to become a mountain of memorabilia that threatens to come down on our present life like an avalanche.

    So, how do we choose, what to save, what to toss, and what to give away? I've sifted, sorted, and organized dozens of family collections, and discovered that (continue reading at OliveTreeGenealogy). . .


    Blog Book Tour Visits 4YourFamilyStories: Scanner Options for Genealogists

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour Book Excerpt

    At 4YourFamilyStories, Caroline Pointer is always on the cutting-edge of new technology that will move our genealogy forward and make our family history work easier and more productive. After reading Caroline’s review of How to Archive Family Keepsakes I hope that you are energized and enthusiastic about your own family archive project.

    Genealogists have so many choices when it comes to technology for digitizing our family history documents that purchase decisions can be difficult to make. I am happy to answer your questions about specific models and features for the equipment mentioned here, and I know that Caroline will be joining in to share her expertise as well.  And when you leave a comment to this post you will also be entered to win one of the Family History Archive Kits offered as a Blog Book Tour Giveaway!

    Scanner Options for Genealogists and Family Historians

    As you go paperless, you’ll need tools to help convert your paper files to digital. A home office scanner is a workhorse in the paperless office. For mobile scanning (continue reading at 4YourFamilyStories). . .


    Blog Book Tour Visits Moultrie Creek Gazette: How to Read Your Ancestor Like a Book

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour Author Guest Post 

    I am delighted to welcome Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, and author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes to the Gazette as part of her Blog Book Tour. She has brought a bit of her expertise with her to share with us here. After reading her article, stop by Moultrie Creek Books to check out my earlier interview with Denise and my review of her book.

    Moultrie Creek and The Family Curator share a love of tech gadgets, e-readers, and most especially, books! When Editor Denise Olson and I chat about blogging or family history, somehow the conversation always turns to what we’re reading and what’s waiting for us on our bookshelves.

    Inherited books bring new challenges and new information to family historians. Experienced genealogists recognize the value of noting literacy from census records and document signatures, but have you considered what you can learn about your ancestor from the choice of books in their library? (continue reading at Moultrie Greek Gazette). . .


    Blog Book Tour Giveaways
    Add your questions or comments at the Moultrie Creek Gazette post for a chance to win a free copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes in the Blog Book Tour giveaway, or one of the other great prizes.



    Blog Book Tour Visits Genealogy Gems Podcast Blog: 7 Steps Toward a Paperless Genealogy Office

    Book Excerpt from How to Archive Family Keepsakes

    If you are buried under a mountain of genealogical clutter, take note that January is National Organizing Month and a great time to put your Family History Household in order. When Lisa and I chatted for Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 144, our conversation reminded me that we can all use a little help keeping the paper tiger under control.

    In this excerpt from my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes we  look at  practical strategies to help you Break the Paper Habit. I hope it helps you get a start turning your paper mountain into a manageable molehill. (continue reading at Genealogy Gems Podcast Blog). . .


    Blog Book Tour Visits Geneabloggers: Meet and Greet the Author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes

    Gblogo medium

    January is National Organization Month and a great time to organize your genealogy and family history archives. To help you get started, The Family Curator Denise Levenick will be visiting fourteen genealogy and family history blogs on a Blog Book Tour January 10-26 with guest articles and excerpts from her new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes. The complete tour schedule is available at the Archive Keepsakes Blog Book Tour Page. GeneaBloggers is pleased to be the first stop on this virtual book tour with an introduction to Denise, aka The Family Curator.

    5 Little-Known Facts about The Family Curator

    1. Unlike many genealogy blogs that get started to chronicle family history, The Family Curator blog was born as a (continue reading at Geneabloggers). . .


    How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour Giveaways

    Announcing Giveaways for Week One of the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour

    What would a book tour be without prizes? It's easy to enter the contest, and you could win! I've teamed up with The Practical Archivist, Sally Jacobs, to offer two great archival kits and copies of my book to the lucky winners. One name will be drawn on Saturday, 19 January 2013 and a second name selected on Saturday, 26 January 2013 to win the archival kits. Runners up can win free print or digital PDF copies of my book.

    These kits are a perfect start to organizing and preserving your genealogy heirlooms. The Week 1 Giveaway Photo Kit includes an archival photo storage box and paper envelopes and sleeves to protect your precious photographs. A different kit will be offered as the Week 2 Giveaway; stay tuned for more details.

    Week 1 Giveaway

    Family Photo Kit with How to Archive Family Keepsakes print edition

    2012FASK LPK

    Archival Photo Kit

    Perfect for loose photos you've been storing in a shoebox, random drawer or bag. It's also a great place for all those single photos sent to you in letters that you have no idea what to do with. Also a perfect storage space for photos you rescued from The Chemical Sandwich of Doom. The envelopes include plenty of space to write notes, which is a great idea because seeing photos from the past always sparks memories. The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.

    This kit includes an attractive tan box (PAT passed) that can hold prints up to 5x7" upright. You also get 25 paper envelopes that can store multiple prints AND 25 paper sleeves that hold a single photograph each. Storage for up to 1,000 photos 5x7" and smaller. Prints must be 4x6" or smaller to fit in envelopes, sleeves hold up to 5x7-inches.

    2012FASK LPKenv

    Dimensions: Box is 5.5 x 7.5 x 12" Envelopes are 4.81 x 7.25" and sleeves are 5.5 x 7.38" Colors: Box is tan, metal edges are black, envelopes are eggshell and white. Qty: 1 box + 50 envelopes.

    Week 1 Giveaway Runners-Up

    • How to Archive Family Keepsakes print edition
    • How to Archive Family Keepsakes ebook PDF edition

    It's Easy to Enter the Giveaway

    To register your name in the drawing, simply leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs during the week. Comments posted to Host Blogs on January 10-18 will be eligible to win the Week 1 Photo Kit. Comments posted to Host Blogs on January 20-25, 2013 will be eligible to win the Week 2 Kit. Names will be collected each week from the Tour Blogs.

    Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky winners will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.


    We're Off. . . on the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour

    Get ready for a virtual book tour January 10-26, 2013 featuring author posts, interviews, excerpts and giveaways for my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records

    The tour kicks off Friday, Janaury 11 with Meet & Greet the Author at, hosted by blogger Thomas MacEntee, and continues each day for the next two weeks with stops at fourteen different genealogy blogs. 

    You will be able to sample tips from the book with book excerpts and downloads, learn more about preserving heirlooms and digitizing your records from guest posts, and hear and read exclusive interviews with the author (me!). In addition, proceeds from book sales during the tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Suzanne Winsor Freeman.

    WIN a Free Book or Archive Kit

    Weekly Giveaways will feature copies of How to Archive Family Keepsakes in paperback and ebook editions, and an ARCHIVE KIT and BOOK package that includes a copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes and archival storage products from The Practical Archivist. 

    It’s easy to enter the weekly giveaway: Simply leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. 

    Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky names will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.

    Random winners will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter #keepsakebooktour, FaceBook, and Google+.

    The complete tour schedule will be updated daily with permalinks on the Archive Keepsakes Tour Book Page. My special thanks goes to each of the Blog Tour Hosts for their hospitality and enthusiasm for this new project:

    Archive Keepsakes Blog Tour Hosts
    (a virtual round of applause...)

    Thomas MacEntee, Geneabloggers

    Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems Podcast Blog

    Denise Olson, Moultrie Creek

    Caroline Pointer, 4 Your Family Story

    Lorine McGinnis Schultze, Olive Tree Genealogy

    Lynn Palermo, The Armchair Genealogist

    footnoteMaven, Shades of the Departed

    Dr. Bill Smith, Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

    Sally Jacobs, Practical Archivist

    Terri Connell , The In-Depth Genealogist

    Gena Philibert-Ortega, Food. Family. Ephemera.

    Pat Richley-Erickson, Dear Myrtle

    Miriam J. Robbins, AnceStories

    Dan Hiestand, The Houstory Hearth

    And, on the subject of "Thanks". . .  I loved every minute of writing this book, especially because of the cheering section --  genealogy friends whose support is the back-story to How to Archive Family Keepsakes. It was tough to tackle the project on the eve of family heartbreak, but your encouragement made it all worthwhile. In case you missed the book's acknowlegement page, please know that you have my heartfelt appreciation:

    Special Thanks to Special Friends

    Amy Coffin
, We Tree

    Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems Podcast Blog

    Elyse Doerflinger, Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

    Allison Dolan, Publisher, Family Tree Magazine

    Sheri Fenley, The Educated Genealogist

    Midge Frazel, Granite in My Blood

    Diane Haddad, Family Tree Magazine Genealogy Insider

    Nancy Hendrickson, Writer, Coach

     A.C. Ivory, Genealogist

    Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist

    Judy Lucey
, NEHGS Archivist

    Thomas MacEntee
, Hi-Def Genealogy

    Craig Manson, GeneaBlogie

    Jackie Musser, Family Tree Editor

    Denise Olson, Moultrie Creek Books

    Kerry Scott, Clue Wagon

    Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings

    Maureen Taylor, Maureen Taylor, Photo Expert

    footnoteMaven, footnoteMaven


    Join the fun

    Tweet the Tour with hashtag #keepsakebooktour

    Share comments and links on FaceBook, Google+ and Goodreads


    Genetic Genealogist Barbara (Joan) Miller Mourned

    The genealogy community is mourning the loss of a talented and generous colleague, Joan Miller, after learning of death Friday, 4 January 2013 in Calgary, Canada.

    Joan was keenly interested in applications for DNA in genealogical research, and as used her experience as a  medical research technician at the University of Calgary to further her genealogy projects. She was also an accomplished speaker and active in several genealogical societies, as well as creator and blogger of the popular Luxegen Genealogy and Family History Blog.


    2010 GeneaBloggers Welcome Bag assembly night
    (from left) Denise, George, Thomas, Joan, Reg, Amy, Suzanne.

    I had the pleasure of working with Joan for the 2010 Geneabloggers Welcome Bag project at the SCGS Jamboree. With Amy Coffin and Thomas MacEntee, we solicited and coordinated contributions to the bloggers' swag bags and met up at my home in Pasadena to pack bags for the conference. Joan's husband Reg joined in with Thomas' friend George, my mom Suzanne, and the "committee" to make quick work of the task so we could move on to a more relaxing patio dinner. Joan joined Amy for an encore of the project in 2011 with Reg's assistance once more.

    Joan's huge grin and ready Canadian wit made her a friend to all who met her. I was in awe of her skill in deftly encouraging her husband, Reg, to become a genealogist in his own right. Whether attending Jamboree, or Roots Tech where I met up with them in 2011, Joan and Reg were a team. And with their recent retirements, they were looking forward to conference-hopping in their new caravan motor home and family history searches throughout the continent.

    Reg and Joan Miller, 2011 SCGS Jamboree

    When she spoke of her home and family, Joan's voice grew warm and proud. She was especially happy to see her adult son and daughter happy with family and careers, and she enjoyed a lighter side of home life with the family cat.

    Joan will be greatly missed by all who knew her. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends.

    The Obituary for Barbara (Joan) Miller is available at the Leader-Post 


    Top Posts and Search Terms for 2012


    Organizing and scanning seem to be at the top of the list for popular content in 2012. Does this mean we want to get organized or we are just looking to refine our current system? And what about scanning documents and photos? Have we figured it out yet? I hope these posts helped!

    Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research

    Whether To Scan or Photograph Old Documents

    Streamlined Scanning With a Genealogy Photo Workflow

    I enjoy Amy Coffin's monthly Fun with Search Terms. Reading her posts always moves me to check out my own. Here are some that come up over and over at The Family Curator:

    usha, usha holkar, usha devi holkar -- Presumably these result from the series of posts I wrote about my mother's friendship with Princess Usha Holkar, The Maharani of Indore India.

    Princess Diaries: Looking for Answers in the 1940 US Census

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County Palace

    organizing genealogy files -- see popular posts above

    fish eye salad -- It must be difficult to find a good recipe for this delectable dish. Be sure to bookmark

    Feeling Adventurous? Mom's Recipe for Fish Eye Salad

    Thanks, Jenna, for the inspiration from your Review of Blog Stats for 2012 to pause and look back at the year. We'll be looking ahead soon enough!


    Making "Order Out of Chaos" on Treasure Chest Thursday


    Are you trying to manage family keepsakes scattered througout your home? How can you make sure your family treasures aren't thrown out with the trash?

    Beth asks in the Family Curator Forum, "I have collected things over the years from various people and generally it was an item at a time. In addition, I have become the keeper of the stuff for both my family and my husband's family, and I love the stuff, but it's taking over my life and home!... Do you have any ideas on how to roundup the treasures and contain them?"

    She's right! These heirlooms tend to become mixed in with our own belongings, and their significance can easily become lost.

    Long before I inherited the contents of my Grandmother Arline's trunk, I received individual items that she enjoyed and treasured -- a bone china salt and pepper set, a handpainted dish, the head and shoulders of a porcelain doll. Over the years, they were mixed in with my own stuff, and more recently were joined by things from my mom's and aunt's homes. Is it better to keep things together by owner, or mix them in with your own things? 

    How do you organize, preserve, and document individual keepsakes stored or displayed throughout your house?

    Read more and join the discussion here.