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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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    Thursday
    Feb142013

    Join Me for a Chat with The Armchair Genealogist About Writing and Publishing 

     

    This week I'm honored to join Lynn Palermo during the Family History Writing Challenge for an interview at The Armchair Chair Genealogist about writing my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes. I think Lynn must have been looking over my shoulder because she was on target with some great questions, from motivational tricks to working with a publisher.

    It isn't always easy to maintain focus and enthusiasm during a long writing project -- or even a month-long writing challenge! -- but you can do it! I hope you will join join us today at The Armchair Genealogist for another chat about the writing life, and peek inside my office in yesterday's post (the tidiness may not last long!)

     

    Wednesday
    Feb132013

    Peek Inside My Office and Chat at The Armchair Genealogist

    It's nearly the midway point in the Family History Writing Challenge, and if you're like me, it can be hard to maintain focus on a writing project about halfway through. I get excited about starting and ending a project, but many times, the middle can be a bit of slog and I have to pull all kinds of tricks to keep working. 

    Last month, during the blog book tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes, Lynn and I talked about the book's focus on organization as a first-step toward becoming a more effective researcher and family history writer in A Coffee, A Comfy Chair, and a Q&A with the Author. On Thursday, 14 February, we continue the conversation at The Armchair Genealogist to talk about the writing, publishing, and marketing aspect of authorship. In these days of e-books, blogs, and self-publishing, it's not enough to simply write a book; authors have to be ready to take on many roles to get the word out about their work.

    Lynn's questions made me feel so "professional" that I was motivated to clean up my desk and snap a few pictures. My office doesn't always look this tidy, but I sure do feel more in control when it's like this.

    DML office

     

    DML desk

    Sometimes, a mid-project "tidy up" is all it takes to help me get over the slump and back to work. Other times I have to employ other tricks, like playing games with word counts or promising myself a special coffee treat. Whatever it takes, it's worth it if it can keep me moving and avoid the dreaded "writer's block."

    You might notice in the photos that my desk faces a wall in my office. I've thought about hanging a gallery of photos around the bulletin board, but I know it would probably tempt me to drift off into who-knows-where so I keep putting off that little decorating project. There is a wall of windows at my back, which isn't great for glare, but the trees outside the window and sheer curtains and blinds keep it pleasant. I don't work with music or tv, in fact I work best when it's pretty quiet and find that neighborhood noise is an unwelcome distraction. My office is quite small, about 9 x 12, but just right as a cozy niche for a day with words.

    I hope you'll join us this week at The Armchair Genealogist as we talk about writing, publishing, and marketing a family history book. I've got an extra chair in my office too!

    Friday
    Feb082013

    Ready to Get Started Organizing Your Family Keepsakes?

    Did the blog book tour leave you motivated to organize and digitize your family photos, documents, and letters? When I inherited my grandmother's treasures in 2000, I didn't know where to begin. I spent a lot of time just looking at stuff, reading letters, examining old photos, and trying to make sense of what I had. 

    If you're reading my book How to Archive Family Keepsakes, I suggest you use the book as a workbook to guide you step-by-step from taking stock to sorting and preserving. The 10 Checkpoints in chapters 1 through 5 are designed a worksheets to help you gain control of the project without being overwhelmed. 

    Just "looking at things" isn't a bad way to start a family archive project. You need to know what you have before you can do much of anything. The trick is, you want to MAINTAIN ORDER at all times (yes, that's a firm directive). By keeping "like with like" you help retain context that can provide clues to identification and meaning.

    Always work with clean hands on a sturdy clean surface. White cotton gloves are sometimes recommended, but they can be clumsy and actually cause damage too. It may be easier, and less risky to carefully handle paper and photos by the edges with clean hands. 

    Order in the Archive

    The original owner is the first level of organization important to maintain. For many years, I was only concerned with my maternal grandmother Arline's collection. Then, my father started sending over things from his parents, bit by bit. They didn't arrive in boxes, but as individual items, and were easily misplaced or mixed in with Arline's albums and boxes.

    Keep each collection separated by original owner or family.

    Keep items that arrive in groups or packets together, even if they are all different kinds of things such as photos, ticket stubs, or letters. Ask yourself why they were kept at all, and why they might be in this particular group?

    Maybe the assorted items are souvenirs of a weekend getaway, or mementoes from a relationship. The answer might not even be obvious for a long time. You can move things into archival envelopes and boxes when the time comes, but when you are just beginning to work with a collection, resist the urge to reorganize. 

    Get to know your family history treasures, but keep order in the archive.

    Tuesday
    Feb052013

    Student Genealogy Grant Announced

     

    A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger,
    Recipients of the 2012 Suzanne Freeman Student Genealogy Grant
    SCGS Jamboree Gala, Burbank CA

    Do you know a young genealogist who could use $500 toward their family history education and free registration to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in June 2013?

    The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant Committee is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant, and that the SCGS Jamboree will once again provide the recipient with free three-day registration.

    Any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has attended school in the last 12 months is eligible to apply. The recipient must attend the 2013 SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, California to receive the award.

    The $500 cash award was established in 2010 in memory of Suzanne Winsor Freeman, family historian and life-long volunteer, and an enthusiastic annual attendee at the SCGS Jamboree.

    Denise Levenick and her mother, Suzanne Freeman
    2010 SCGS Jamboree, Delivering Geneabloggers Welcome Bags
     

    “The Freeman Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by awarding the annual cash grant to a young genealogist attending the SCGS Jamboree, Southern California’s premiere regional genealogy conference,” notes Denise Levenick, committee chair and Freeman’s daughter.

    “We are especially grateful to Jamboree for providing a three-day conference registration to the grant recipient,” she adds. “SCGS is truly a leader in conference organizations by encouraging youth involvement in genealogy through the popular Kids Camp program and now through the student grant project.”

    Past recipients of the award include Elyse Doerflinger (Lomita, California), A.C. Ivory (Salt Lake City, Utah), and Anthony Ray (Palmdale, California).

    Funding for the cash award is provided by the family grant program; Jamboree registration is provided by the conference.

    Complete details and application materials are available at The Family Curator, Suzanne Freeman Student Grant. Application deadline is Monday, 18 March 2013.

    Follow Grant News at TheFamilyCurator.com

    For More Information Contact: Denise Levenick, swfgrant@gmail.com.

    Suzanne Winsor Freeman Obituary: TheFamilyCurator.com

    Monday
    Feb042013

    Learn More About Metadata

    I've been a fan of adding value to files with metadata for a long time. If you've ever used your computer search engine to find a specific file and the only identifier is a name like "lastsatfun.doc" or "IMG_0124.JPG," you know how difficult the task can be.

    Metadata, or "data about data," adds simple tags to files making them easier to find and giving you a chance to group, organize, and understand the relationships between files with the same tags. It's a bit like using a index to your files; your job is to provide the key words that make the index valuable.

    If you are unfamiliar with the term "metadata" you might wonder why I'm throwing out other words like "tags" and "keywords." Many software programs use these terms interchangeably. Sometimes they function in slightly different ways, but essentially metadata tags, and keywords all do a similar task by classifying your files for better access.

    Want to learn more? You are in luck because on 7 February 2013 DearMYRTLE will be hosting "Metadata is your Friend" a DearMYRTLE Workshop Webinar with Denise Barrett Olson and Thomas MacEntee.

    Way back in the early days of my adventures in archiving, I read Denise Olson's posts about metadata and knew I had found a kindred soul. With three tech-gurus meeting to talk about using metadata in your family history work, Thursday's webinar workshop promises to be an outstanding event.

    Sign up at DearMYRTLE to attend Thursday, February at 6pm. And, while you are waiting for the event, do a little advance homework so you are ready to get as much as you can from the evening --

    Photo Metadata, at the Moultrie Creek Gazette

    Using Adobe Lightroom to Manage Genealogy Images, at The Family Curator

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