Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    SEARCH

    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.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    Thursday
    Feb192015

    Are You Doing the Genealogy Do-Over with GeneaBloggers Thomas MacEntee?

    Scan 2 images w guide

    Are you looking for a little help Digitizing Photos and Documents with the GeneaBloggers Genealogy Do-Over?. This week, GeneaBloggers Thomas MacEntee gives tips for eight best practices, including scanner settings, file formats, and duplicate copies for editing.

    You might be wondering why 300 or 600 dpi? Why TIFF? and Why create an archival TIFF copy? Good questions!

    Why Use a Standard Scanning Resolution?

    In researching standard best practices for archiving family history materials, I looked at the common practices of museums, libraries and archives nationwide where staff members and interns routinely digitize thousands and thousands of items. I learned that higher resolutions are used for film and for photo restoration projects, but for most items that will be viewed digitally or printed at the same size as the original, a standard scanning resolution is adequate and recommended.

    For institutions where volunteers and interns may be performing much of the digitizing and for family historians interested mostly in sharing and archiving photos and documents, standard scanner settings are efficient and easily understood. 

    Archives typically recommend scanning documents at 200 to 300 dpi and scanning photographs at 600 dpi. Images scanned at 300 dpi or more should print fine at the original size.

    Why TIFF?

    You may have heard recommendations to use the archival TIFF format when scanning your heirloom document and photos and been reluctant to devote computer storage to such large digital files. What could be so much better about a TIFF file?

    Thomas is right -- whenever possible, TIFF is the preferred file format for digitizing keepsake photos and documents. If you're going to the trouble to scan and save these items, scan only once with the optimal file format and resolution. Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is a non-lossy archival format. The plain English translation: TIFF files aren't compressed when saved, so your file retains all of the digital information. In contrast, JPG files are lossy files; the file is compressed each time a file is saved and some information is lost.

    Why Create a JPG Copy of a Digital Image?

    Yes, TIFF files are large, but TIFF is the best choice for archiving. Create a duplicate file in JPG format to use for editing, email, and photo projects. Archive the TIFF version as Digital Insurance to help you recreate a lost or damaged original in case of disaster. If your original is a JPG format image, create a copy in TIFF or JPG and designate it as your Digital Master.

    More Questions?

    Learn more best practices for working with digital images in my paperback or ebook edition of How to Archive Family Keepsakes including

    • easy scanning workflows
    • file naming
    • folder organization
    • recommended digitizing resolutions
    • backup strategies
    • scanner suggestions
    Tuesday
    Feb172015

    RootsTech 2015 Photo Album

    I hear some interesting and unusual questions when I talk about about preserving heirlooms and old photos, but the questions at RootsTech top them all. The best was a request from a lady who would like to have a swatch of her grandmother's hair fashioned into a period hair ornament. . . she's looking for a  Victorian hair artist. That's a new one~ I'm making inquiries (as Sherlock would say), but please leave a comment if you have a referral for this project!

    I loved the chance to introduce my new book How to Archive Family Photos, forthcoming this spring from Family Tree Books, and to share tips and ideas about organizing digital photos, scanning heritage prints, and sharing pictures with all kinds of projects. I also joined Family Tree Magazine publisher Allison Dolan, editor Diane Haddad, and online community editor Tyler Moss in the exhibit hall booth to answer questions and sign books, with the Out of the Box Sessions at the Family Tree booth.

    On Friday afternoon, Diane and I slipped into the Media Hub recording booth to chat about my new book and almost managed to complete the recording before the bagpipers paraded by for the evening music event. If you watch the video, see if you can catch the pipers toward the conclusion.

    Diane Haddad with Denise Levenick

    Diane Haddad, Editor FamilyTree Magazine and Denise Levenick
    talk about Denise's books at RootsTech 2015.

    Denise Randy

    Showing off my "Got Roots?" scarf to Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings blogger in the Media Hub. Fabric printing is one of the projects in my new book, How to Archive Family Photos. 

    It's hard to imagine the energy and noise generated by over 20,000 genealogists gathered for two national events under one roof. If it sounds like it might be LOUD, exciting, colorful, LOUD, and inspiring, you'd be right.

    Salt Palace Convention Center

    Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City 

    FGS Booth

    FGS Booth well staffed by Tonia Kendrick, Caroline Pointer
    and Paula Stuart Warren. . .

    IMG 0354

    . . . and Linda McCauley.

    BallroomStage

    Audience

    With Janet Horvaka (ChartChick), Lisa Alzo, AC Ivory (back) and
    mom Monica Ivory waiting for Laura Bush keynote.

    LauraBush

    Keynote presentation by former First Lady Laura Bush.

    Between sessions I enjoyed getting outside and meeting up with new and old genealogy friends for a meal. My grandmother Arline Kinsel lived in Salt Lake City for a time about 1918, so it was fun to look at the old buildings and imagine how they might have looked to her nearly one hundred years ago. I imagine that today's neon lights would have been quite the sensation then!

    RioGrande

    Lood all the way down the street to the Rio Grande railroad station, now home of the Utah State Archives

    Peery

    The Peery Hotel looks like it just stepped out of another time.

    Thursday
    Feb052015

    Got Stuff? Heirloom Roadshow Comes Outside the Box at RootsTech 2015

    Outside the Box FlyerHeirloom Roadshow title slide

    Looking for something new at RootsTech? Mark your schedule for Outside the Box free mini-sessions Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Vendor Hall Booth #1240. Each 30-minute presentation will feature tips and tricks to help you solve your genealogy puzzles, and I will be sharing favorite family heirlooms for the

    Heirloom Roadshow - Friday, Feb 13, 3:30 pm

     

    Genealogy Gems' Lisa Louise Cooke, Family ChartMasters' Janet Horvaka, and Maureen Taylor the Photo Detective debuted Outside the Box sessions at the 2014 National Genealogy Society conference, and it immediately become a favorite conference event. I'm excited to be representing FamilyTree Magazine for the RootsTech 2015 Edition of Outside the Box and hope you'll stop by to say "Hello" and join the fun for great prizes and mini-presentations.

    Outside the Box schedule

    Thursday
    Jan292015

    Let It Go? Save or Toss Those Old Family Escrow Papers?

    Photo of paper falling from tall office buildings.

    Yesterday I went into my basement family archive looking for my aunt's wedding album (yes, the basement is temperature controlled). The album wasn't upstairs in the house carefully stored in an archival box. . . it had to be downstairs, somewhere in the Holding Zone. That's what I call the precarious tower of banker's boxes and bins containing all the stuff a genealogist can't throw away when clearing out a relative's estate.

    Our basement storage closets are full of outgrown toys, my yarn stash, seven years worth of tax records and other household leftovers. A bank of metal file cabinets holds haphazard bundles of family letters, photos, and other papers inherited along with the file cabinets. But that's where the storage ends. The middle of the room is filled with boxes of personal items yet to be "processed" -- evaluated, organized, and stored in real archival storage containers.

    Someone dies and the house or apartment needs to cleaned out FAST! You open a drawer and find an assortment of rubber bands, bank receipts, and old letters. There's no time to stop, read the letters, wonder why your destitute uncle has a receipt for a $25,000 bank deposit. So, you shove everything into a box and take it home to sort later. And five years later, you are still looking at that box.

    Too many estates in too few years!

    As I looked through boxes for Auntie's album I discovered an entire box filled with financial papers, which got me thinking: 

    Why am I saving this stuff?

    Truly, what would you do if someone mailed you the 20th century escrow papers for your grandparent's home? It would include pages and pages of legal boilerplate and multiple copies of the same. The actual Title Deed would probably be absent.

    What would a genealogist glean from all that paper:

    • the fact that your grandparents were able to own their home
    • address and location of property
    • your grandparents full legal names and signatures, with addresses
    • purchase price and terms of sale for the property
    • property seller
    • potential notes on property improvements, non-compliance
    • possibly tax rate, insurance costs, hazard liability

    If your family member bought and sold several homes or property parcels, you'll be able to build a picture of their movements, their relative financial situation, and maybe social status as well.

    Working with property records found in a relative's home after they pass away is no different than working with property records on microfilm in the Family History Library. You still have to pull out the useful information, analyze what you find, and use the data to build a profile of your ancestor. All this takes time, which begs another question. Why do it at all? Unlike early land records, these papers are unlikely to shed light on murky kinships. And as for understanding the community: I'll learn more about the area from local histories and maps than poring over modern escrow papers.

    On the other hand, this is just the kind of information that will add color and detail to a biography or sketch. My grandparents never owned a home and moved from house to house exchanging my grandfather's labor as a housepainter for rent. Auntie remembered living in more than two dozen different houses and apartments as a child, so it's not surprising that she bought a home with her teacher's salary as soon as possible. 

    Let It Go?

    But, I'm thinking it might be time to let some of this stuff go. To the shredder. I'll go through the box and extract dates, addresses, sale prices. I might save the cover sheet of sales, or at least scan the paper for a digital file. But I don't need to save all the paper to save the story. Instead, I'll use the space for an archival storage box to hold Auntie's wedding album and diary, there's not much boilerplate in those pages.

    P.S. -- This is not an easy decision. What do you think? Have you been there, done that? Regrets? Is there something I'm missing, a reason I should hang on to every scrap? 

    Photo: Paper Party by Jason Sussberg, Flickr CC 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4hQAqK

    Monday
    Jan262015

    Setting Genealogy Goals With Blogging Buddy Amy Coffin

    Amy denise 2014

    Almost every holiday season since 2009 blogging buddy Amy Coffin of the WeTree Blog and I have met up in the real world for a genealogy break. We set aside the gift returns, Christmas cleanup, and dirty dishes to review the last year and set out a few objectives for the months ahead. One year we even managed to sneak in a few memorable hours researching city directories at the Los Angeles Public Library. It's great fun to look back at 2010 and see what we accomplished.

    This year, we picked a rendezvous spot midway between Amy's family in Riverside and my home in Pasadena. We pretty much decided that we had done a fair job meeting our goals for the previous years, and should try it again in 2015. Amy came prepared with paper and pen, but I had to make do with the Notes app on my smartphone. Once again we each set goals in three areas. The only rule is that is has to be something actually doable, which eliminates "finishing" our genealogy by December. 

    My goals are:

    Organizational -- To move my blog to WordPress and create a reference archive of articles that is easy for readers to access. [Right now I'm a bit stuck on the tech part of this goal, but I'm working on it.]

    Research -- To finish my D.A.R. application at last! And, then, to work more on my Brown line.

    Writing -- To write a short e-book. I just finished a new print book due out in April, How to Archive Family Photos, and I'm looking for a shorter project that will let me learn the whole ebook process. Since Amy's Big Genealogy Blog Book grew out of our 2011 Genealogy Goals, I know I have a mentor when I run into a snag and need help. 

    Amy will be sharing her 2015 goals over at the WeTree Blog. I can hardly believe that we've been doing this for over five years, but if our progress is any indication, setting goals with a friend really works! I'm fortunate indeed to have met Amy a few years ago at the SCGS Jamboree, and have to echo her question:

    So genealogy friends, are you up to the challenge in 2015?

    Page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 ... 149 Next 5 Entries »
    Find us on Google+