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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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    Federation of Genealogical Societies Hits a Home Run with Fort Wayne FGS 2013 Conference

    ACPLTrick photo? Is that a steeple on the Allen County Public Library?

    It’s not every genealogy conference that offers nightly fireworks, ballroom dancing and after-hours access to one of the best genealogy libraries in the United States, but FGS 2013 did it all. I’ve just returned home from the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies conference held this year in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I’m already looking forward to returning to Fort Wayne and to FGS 2014.

    Grand Wayne Center

    The conference committee and host societies rolled out the red-carpet with a stellar program beginning Tuesday with Librarian’s Day and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and the Internet Archive Scanning Unit. Lucky librarians!

    Wednesday’s schedule offered over two dozen sessions on society-building and special programs, and concluded with a special reception at the Botanical Conservatory. I spent the day mostly at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) getting acquainted with the enormous variety of material available in OPEN STACKS to researchers. Botanical Gardens Social

    Meeting new and old friends at the opening social event at the
    Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. 
    From left, Laura Lorenzana, Diana Ritchie, Shelly Bishop, and Susan Clark. 

    Thursday, Friday, and Saturday featured full days of top-notch presentations, hosted luncheons, and special evening events. Friday Night at the Library included music, ballroom dancing, and late-night research topped off by fireworks from the local ballpark. And, we do mean “Local.” The Fort Wayne Tincaps, farm team for the San Diego Padres, plays at Parkview Stadium directly across the street from the Grand Wayne Convention Center and a block away from the ACPL. 

    Inside the Grand Wayne

    Inside the conference center. 

    Parkview Field

    Buy tickets early! Sold out this year! 

    Fortunately, FGS will return to Fort Wayne and the Allen County Public Library in a few years. Start planning now; it’s a conference you won’t want to miss.



    The Past is Present Once Again on World Photography Day 2013 


    Dear Photograph Anniversary Edition

    August 19, 2013 marks the fifth year of World Photography Day, a online global event celebrating photography by anyone with a camera -- amateurs and professionals. The Family Curator participated in 2011 by hosting the Past is Present Photo Challenge and publishing a gallery of great family history photos submitted by bloggers and genealogists. You can read the original challenge here, or visit the participating bloggers below.

    My contribution was a Dear Photograph style image created with Mr. Curator when we visited the church where we were married to snap Dear Photograph: 35th Wedding Anniversary Edition, above.

    Check out these inspiring and creative contributions to the Past is Present Photo Challenge and start planning now for your entry in 2014! Check The Family Curator for more details in future months.

    Past is Present World Photography Day Challenge
    2011 Participants 

    Geni Webb responded to the challenge "It's not an easy thing to do but it sure was fun" and presents a back-to-school image that combines student and teacher for The "Past is Present" Photo Challenge on Ginisology. Thanks, Geni for kick-off the challenge and getting out the word.

    Randy Seaver's post for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Pick Your Past Photos for the Present Photo Challengehelped to spread the news about the Past is Present Photo Project. Randy's selected three photos... and it will be fun to see what he comes up with... one of these Saturnday nights!

    Dorene participated in GeneaMusings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, August 6, 2011 to showcase photos of her great grandmother standing in front of her apartment building in Sandusky, Ohio. It was a tough shot to capture, and Dorene posts her photos at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay.

    Chris Staats at Staats Place was determined to participate in the project, even if he had to get creative with Photoshop. His post SNGF: Staats Not Gonna Follow [the rules again] pulls together a collage that includes the image of a hand holding one of the photos. Very ingenious.

    Karen Seeman at Ancestor Soup brought the past to the present by placing an image of herself with her grandmother and great-grandmother in a present day photo of their old house to make Memories Past... Then and Now.

    Jean of Bluegrass and Buckeye Roots featured a past family home tour for her post SGF - a little late, but looking at family houses. Although the images aren't "superimposed," she says, the pages "capture the times together" and isn't that what it's all about?

    Valerie enlisted her sister's help for a Dear Photograph style image that she calls "Looking Into the Past" for her post SNGF: Present Photo Challenge at Begin with 'Craft'. Valerie has also used the technique on an earlier postfeaturing photos taken in cemeteries, and shares her technique tips as well.

    Jasia took a trip to a Detroit cemetery to visit the grave of her great grandmother Ludwika. Her Dear Photograph image at Creative Gene is a poignant letter to one day in 1912, remembered "with Love from her great Granddaughter Jasia" at Genealogy Photo Challenge for World Photography Day.

    Julie Goucher at Angler's Rest features the graves of her great grandparents in Surrey in Genealogy Photo Challenge - The Past is Present, and shares an interesting note about her grandmother's death and lead-lined coffin.

    Kim Adams hadn't heard of Dear Photograph when the Photo Challenge was announced, but soon realized that she had already taken "THE perfect 'Dear Photograph' photo!" featured in One hundred seventeen years later... My answer to the Genealogy Photo Challenge at GeneaMania.

    Vickie Everhart is certainly the MacGyver of the Past is Present Challenge. After viewing her beautiful photograph at Sentimental Sunday::Meadows of Heaven be sure to see how she set up the shot at Then and Now on Be Not Forgot.

    Kristin combined photos from Google Images with pictures of her family from 1946-1950 to bring her family into 2011 for Past is Present - Springfield Massachusetts 1948 - 1950 at My Cleages and Reeds.

    Kay Bauman showcases her grandparents home in Then and Now on Relative Storyboards, and recounts her memories of a a very special place.

    Cynthia Shenette showcases two photographs of the Chopin Statue on Heritage Zen in a poignant post entitled Chopin Rising, writing about loss and hope for the future.


    Wayback Wednesday: Remembering the Pony Photographer

    In the days when California suburbs welcomed the Helms' Bread truck and the Ice Cream van cruising the neighborhood to the tune of their company jingle, it was not uncommon to see a pony being led along the streets by an traveling photographer similarily looking for a little business from the housebound housewives.

    My mother and aunt remember the photographer and his pony who had a regular route through their Anaheim neighborhood. For a small fee, he would hoist excited children to the back of his patient pony and snap their photograph. Mothers could order prints to be delivered at a later time, and no doubt many were tempted to buy the deluxe versions hand-colored and enlarged in the photographer's studio.

    Frances and Susie Brown, Anaheim, about 1938

    On Wednesdays I am featuring favorite posts from the The Family Curator archives. Enjoy!


    Learn at Home: Family Tree University Fall Virtual Conference


    Can't make it to FGS this month? Set aside the weekend of September 13-15, 2013 for the Family Tree University Fall Virtual Genealogy Conference and learn at home in your fluffy pink slippers.

    I'm excited to be one of the presenters with Digital Filing for Your Genealogy, one of 15 half-hour video classes available on-demand to conference attendees throughout the weekend. Learn to control your computer clutter with super-strategies for file-naming, folder structure, and digital filing.

    A virtual conference let's you choose when you want to watch the sessions, and the best part is that you can even download presentations and handouts to watch again later or view topics you missed.

    Right now, you can save $50 with Early Bird Discount Registration.  The offer expires Friday, 9 August 2013. Enter discount code FALLVCEARLY HERE

    Chats and Message Boards

    Attendees will have a chance to ask questions and join in discussions at the weekend chats and message boards moderated by former Family Tree Firsts Blogger and Family Tree Magazine contributor Shannon Bennett. Check out her great blog for more about Shannon.

    See the complete line-up for the Family Tree Fall 2013 Virtual Genealogy Conference HERE.

    1 - 2 - 3 Tracks

    Virtual presentations will include tracks in Genealogy Technology, Research Strategies, and Ethnic Research from presenters --

    • Lisa A. Alzo
    • Lisa Louise Cooke
    • Rick Crume
    • Nancy Hendrickson
    • Denise May Levenick
    • Sunny Jane Morton
    • Donna Moughty
    • Gena Philibert-Ortega
    • Diana Smith
    • D. Joshua Taylor
    • Judy G. Russell

    Join us for a weekend of great genealogy education September 13-15, 2013. Register now to save 25%. Use Code FALLVCEARLY HERE for Early Bird discount through Friday, 9 August 2013.


    Note: I am a contributing author and affiliate at Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University.


    Archiving JPG Scans and Photos from Your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, Digital Camera, and Mobile Phone

    Nebraska summer

    Nebraska Summer
    JPG 614 KB vs. TIFF 9.2 MB

    It's no coincidence that compact mobile scanning devices produce only JPG files. Whether you are using a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, a cell phone camera, smartphone app, wand scanner, or point-and-shoot digital , the resulting digital file is a JPG image file. 

    JPG files use compression to keep the overall file size small so that more images can fit on a storage card or hard drive. Small portable devices like the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and digital cameras need this kind of high-capacity storage. The Flip-Pal is completely battery-powered and saves scanned images to a small SD card, probably like the one in your digital camera. The included 2 MB SD card will hold about 900 scans at 600 dpi resolution. That's a lot of photos in a very small space.

    JPG vs. TIFF

    In the world of digital imaging, JPG is a hero because the file format can compress an image to save space. This compression makes it possible to email a photo, send a file for printing, or post pictures to Pinterest or Facebook. But every time a JPG file is Saved, a bit of the information within the file is lost. Hence, JPG files are known as lossy files. For the average photo that is opened a saved a few times, the image loss is probably undetectable to the average eye. But when a photo is opened, edited, and saved repeatedly, the image can become almost unusable.

    It doesn't matter if the JPG image originated in your digital camera, your wand scanner, or on your smartphone, the JPG file will degrade with repeated Saves. How many? I tried to correct a poor quality digital photo over several sessions with my photo editing software; after more than a dozen attempts the image became blotchy and filled with pixellated artifacts. 

    Professional archivists and photographers have always had more demanding goals than consumers. They want to preserve original materials, and recommend using TIFF loss-less file format for archiving images. Unfortunately, TIFF files can be huge, and even with the current low price of terabyte storage, TIFF files are impractical for sharing and storing on portable devices. 

    In the world of digital photography, the equivalent of TIFF format files is RAW, another very-large file that requires some amount of post-photograph developing. Most family photographers don't need or want to learn to "shoot RAW."

    What Genealogists Want

    Family historians want it all. We want digital files we can

    • share with friends and family
    • post on websites, social media and sharing sites
    • print at our local big box store
    • edit and use in digital photo albums and scrapbooks
    • include in video slideshows and presentations

    AND, We want to create these digital files

    • without power cables
    • without computer cables
    • without a lot of fuss
    • wherever we happen to be at the moment

    My experience with that damaged photo taught me to use a simple workaround so I will never lose a JPG file again. Here's what I learned:

    Three Solutions

    The best advice we have today offers three easy solutions to preserving digital images for the future. The one you choose should depend on your time, funds, and personal goals. 

    TIFF is the archival gold-standard. Try to scan heirloom photos and documents in TIFF.

    When you don't have the option of TIFF, don't despair, remember C-A-N:

    C - Convert your JPG to TIFF and save all TIFF files in an Archive Folder.

    Tip: Use the same filename for both JPG and TIFF files. The .tif extension will remind you that this large, loss-less file is your Digital Master Image. If you need to open it for editing, the TIFF version will not degrade when saved.

    When you need a JPG version for email, editing, or another project, you will need to Export or Save As JPG.

    A - Archive a JPG copy of the original file and save this new JPG in an Archive Folder.

    Make it a Rule never to open the Archive JPG unless the original file is damaged or lost.

    Tip: Use a common root filename for both files --

    smith-john_1916_marriage.jpg (for the original file)

    smith-john_1916_marriageDM.jpg (for the Digital Master copy in your Archive Folder)

    N - Use a Nondestructive photo editor.

    Some photo editing programs never modify the original file. You can ALWAYS revert back to the original, even after repeated cropping, touch-ups, and enhancing. Look for this feature in your current program; not all photo editors are non-destructive.

    Popular nondestructive photo editing software includes Google PicasaApple iPhoto, Apple Aperture, and Adobe Lightroom. These programs handle files differently, but the original image is preserved.

    Go Ahead - Create JPG Images

    All this means that you CAN have the convenience of mobile scanning and photography and the security of a digital archive. In fact, mobile devices can help you easily build your own family history digital archive.

    When capturing images on your camera, scanner, or mobile phone, always use the highest quality and move the images to your computer hard drive for file renaming before backing up files to the Cloud and/or an external hard drive. 

    Flip-Pal Summer Sale

    The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is the only fully-portable scanner that features a unique, gentle flat-bed operation for digitizing fragile family photos, documents and heirlooms. It's really two scanners in one: a traditional glass flat-bed scanner with flip-down cover and a unique see-thru scanner for digitizing oversize and awkward items.

    The see-thru feature is especially helpful for capturing images from photo albums and bound books. Remove the scanner cover, flip the scanner, and position the device to scan your item.

    Use the C-A-N method to add your image to your family history digital archive.

    Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner bundles are on sale this summer. Get ready for your family reunion and the upcoming holiday season. Save $30 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Picture Keeper Bundle! Coupon code: SAS725


    P.S.: I bought my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner over three years ago and have used it for all kinds of digitizing projects. It's not my only scanner, but it's certainly the most fun to use! Yes, I am an Affiliate; I like it that much!

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