I snapped this photo on a walk tonite... Guess where? Answer? It's a bit cooler in Springfield than Southern California, but I'm looking forward to a great conference this weekend.
I snapped this photo on a walk tonite... Guess where? Answer? It's a bit cooler in Springfield than Southern California, but I'm looking forward to a great conference this weekend.
Doors will be unlocked this Saturday, and visitors will be given a rare glimpse into some of the very special places at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, California as part of the church's 125th Anniversary Year Celebration special event Art and Architecture Tour series.
The 140-foot bell tower of St. Andrew is a soaring landmark situated at the gateway to Old Pasadena. The Pasadena church completed in 1927 was modeled after two Roman basilicas built in the 5th and 6th centuries, Saint Mary in Cosmedin and Saint Sabina at the Aventine. Even today, the street-side approach to the church lends an Italian setting to the building.
The exterior borrowed inspiration from the Basilica di Santa Maria, and features a colonade entrance and ornate wrought-iron gates. The warm terra-cotta hued finish of the outer walls was achieved by applying baking soda in the finish stucco.
The docent-led tours will include two stops typically not open to the general public -- a visit to the choir loft for a birds-eye view of the church's interior, as well as a look into the church Baptisty. Considered the most important area in the church after the main altar, the baptistry features a native marble fountain and ornate symbolic murals under a golden dome.
Tours will be held Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 3pm. St. Andrew Catholic Church is located at 311 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena 91103.
Lately I have been learning photo restoration from expert Janine Smith, owner artist at Landailyn CPR. Online learning is great; I work through a section or two of the course, and then spend time practicing and getting a little better with each round.
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos is available at Lynda.com, online website offering video training on all kinds of computer software and computer tasks. I've enjoyed Janine's regular feature articles and how-tos in Shades of the Departed Magazine, and am learning even more in the self-paced course.
Original color print, faded and yellowed.
The Brown Family (from left) Arline, Suzanne, Frank, date unknown.
I've been blessed with hundreds of old family photos in all conditions, but most of the images I want to share and reprint for the family need some touch-up work. Since I can't afford to have all the photos professionally repaired and restored, I wanted to learn a few techniques that might help me fix some of the less badly damaged pictures. Janine has obviously worked with more photos than I have in my collection because she knows exactly how to hone in on the major problems with many old photos.
Ta-da! My first attempts at restoring the color to the photo. Much improved.
It's easy to get started at Lynda.com. After registering at the website, I was free to begin viewing any of the online courses. At $25 per month, membership is a bit like an all-you-can-learn buffet. I bookmarked Janine's course so I could get back to it easily, and started with the first section. The course outline describes each segment and lists the video length so you can plan ahead how much time you want to spend on a session. I liked working through at least three or four episodes at a sitting so I could see how they worked together.
I did not opt to purchase the practice files for the course, but had no trouble using my own photos. I found I learned the material best by watching the video through completely, then importing a photo similar to the sample into Elements and working alongside as I played the video again. Online learning used as a working tutorial is a real advantage to old-fashioned classroom instruction.
Janine’s skill as a trainer really shines as she demonstrates how to fix common problems with old family photos. She carefully explains each step, demonstrating with the video as she works to restore the photo. The course outline is clear and well-organized with skills building from easiest to more difficult. Janine has a pleasant speaking voice, and her instructions are direct and clear. I found it helpful to use the pause, and replay buttons when I wanted to make sure I understood all steps of a technique. I also turned on the Closed Captioning feature, and made use of the Transcript feature to check back at the instructions.
The course opens with a section on how to get photos into PSE9. I have used various versions of PS Elements since it’s first days as PS Album, so getting the photos into the progam wasn’t particularly difficult. I did have trouble, however, trying to save my photos and the various edited versions. Fortunately, my month-long membership to Lynda.com gave me access to the PSE9 Essentials course, where I picked up a few file management techniques for the program.
While one major lesson I learned is that photo restoration is a fine craft requiring patience and experience, I also learned that it's a lot of fun and can greatly improved old damaged photographs.
The course covers six essential photo restoration techniques
In addition, Janine also demonstrates the Sharing features of PSE9
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos with Janine Smith is an excellent introduction to the art and craft of photo restoration. Anyone interested in learning or brushing up on photo restoration techniques with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 could benefit from this online learning experience.
Available through lynda.com. Membership $25/month.
Disclosure. I purchased my own membership to lynda.com for this course and did not receive any form of compensation for this review.
Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs has named The Family Curator as "tops" in the Research Advice category, along with The Armchair Genealogist, Genealogy Tip of the Day, NARAations, and Shades of the Departed. It's an honor to be recognized in such good company, especially since the nominations are made by avid genealogy blog readers, and a panel of my favorite bloggers. Thank you, readers!
Family Tree's Sunny Morton writes,
Denise Levenick, aka Penelope Dreadful in the Shades of the Departed online magazine (this category's Panel Pick), writes as herself in this informative but personal blog. She favors how-to family archiving topics such as duplicating documents and photos. As one fan puts it, "She knows her curating." Levenick also easily segues into personal research and travel, offering lessons and motivation for any genealogist.
So, what began as an online journal to keep track of a project for my high school students has truly evolved into much more. It has been quite a journey and I can't wait to see what's next.
While 40 blogs are named to this final list, genealogy bloggers know that the blogosphere holds many more than 40 very fine and very active genealogy blogs. When we open our blog reader today, we may skim 50, 60, or 100 new posts, we may enjoy reading a score of brand-new bloggers, and we may carefully study the rhetoric of a few articles, but all we read becomes part of what we will write tomorrow. Bloggers, and geneabloggers in particular, are a community where the interaction of the whole is truly what makes the significance of the part.
For me, it's all about the community. You inspire, teach, and encourage. Thank you, YOU are the BEST.
Lately I've been trying to find a workaround to get my SquareSpace hosted blog into a print book. I haven't been completely successful, yet, but I think I am getting closer to a solution. If you use WordPress or Blogger, you will be so happy that you don't have this problem.
Blog2Print and Blurb BookSmart both offer easy solutions to move a blog into a book -- as long as you are using Blogger, WordPress or TypePad. Blurb also accepts LiveJournal blogs. My blog platform, oh-why-did-I-have-to-be-different SquareSpace, is an odd duck out of the game.
SquareSpace Support seems to think this is a no-brainer project. They advise using the the Export facility (on the Journal congifuration page) to produce a full export of all blog posts; however the resulting MoveableType .txt file is not accepted by Blog2Print or Blurb. You have to go through some hoops, but it is do-able. Here's how I moved my SS Blog to a Blurb BookSmart book.
1. In SquareSpace, access your Journal Page Configuration (following these instructions). You can only export your blog posts, the Journal, not the overall blog structure with multiple pages. Scroll down the configuration page to "export blog data" button and click the button. This copies all your blog posts to a Movable Type .txt file. Save it to your desktop.
2. Go to the MovableType to Blogger conversion page here. Skip the Steps 1-3 since you already have your .txt file. Follow the directions on Step 4: Choose your .txt file and click the Convert button. Step 5: Save this file to your desktop. Continue with Steps 6-9 to create a new blog on Blogger. You can also use a test blog; just turn off Permissions so it isn't viewable by everyone. It can get messy. You will import the converted file into Blogger, populating it with your SquareSpace posts.
3. You will have an option to Publish on Import. If you select this option, all posts will be published and available. If you deselect the option, you will need to go into the Edit Post window and manually select posts to publish. Only Published posts will be moved into your blog book, but you will have another opportunity to select posts for your book when you are in the Blurb BookSmart application.
4. You should now have your blog posts in Blogger. Check View Blog to see that all posts transferred by comparing your monthly archive numbers with your SquareSpace archive count.
5. Now it's time to move your blog to Blurb! Download the BookSmart desktop application, view the Blurb video, and follow the directions. It's that easy.
A Few Tips I Learned Along the Way --
Decide how you want to break up your book. My blog begins July 2007, so I decided to do annual editions. My first blog book included posts from July 2007 through June 2010, the first three years.
Do you want to include photos? Blurb can "slurp" images from your blog but they may not print well due to the difference in web and print resolution. You can substitute the high-res images, but it will take more time.
Do you want to print your entire book, or just selected posts? My first book came out to be 388 pages -- one blog post per page using the auto-populate feature. I haven't decided if I will try to reformat to condense the length to a less costly book or go back just select my favorite posts to print. Another option is to print at home, or print to PDF; however the Blurb book will not include the cover and each page will have a Blurb watermark.
All the fancy formatting and page design of your blog does not carry over to a book. The export is strictly text and images.
If you know of a better way to accomplish this task, I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment.
When we decided to set up a memorial grant as a tribute to my mother, Suzanne Freeman, I had no idea it would be so hard to give away money.
It sounds easy enough, but it’s tough to select between so many well-deserving applicants representing the future of genealogy. From academically trained researchers to local society volunteers to tech-savvy innovators, applicants to the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund represented the best of young genealogists today.
What I Learned
It was truly a privilege to learn more about what matters to young researchers and to see that a common theme runs strong from coast to coast – it’s all about family. Without exception, each applicant was moved to pursue their family history because one person in their family had taken the time to tell a family story that struck home.
The lesson for the rest of us, of course, is to take time to BE that one person to the young people in our families. We have to step back from our books, papers, and computers to just tell stories in a way that engages our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
In the same way that we labor over developing a well-honed research plan to ferret out elusive ancestors, we have to listen hard and work to craft stories that may catch some young person’s interest. Tell the young athlete about an uncle who played ball, give a pre-teen her grandmother’s party gloves with a story about her first dance, or help a new bride with an old family recipe.
All of this leaves me feeling that we, as a Genealogy Community, could do more
We need to “Walk Your Talk,” as my mom often said. We hear a lot of talk about “the future of genealogy”. . . but what are we doing to help the young genealogist learn enough about the field to want to make it a serious avocation or even a career?
Students who applied for the Memorial Grant are all attending school, working jobs, and living on a tight budget with little room for genealogy expenses. Yet, it’s hard to find a genealogy conference, event, or seminar offering a discounted student rate. Students are expected to pay full price, or apply for one of the very few genealogy grants available.
If there was an obvious youthful presence at RootsTech in Salt Lake City last month, it may be partly due to the discounted student registration fee of $35. Sponsored by Family Search, this sends a clear message to any student interested in genealogy today: We Want You!
SCGS is one of the few genealogical organizations offering a substantial membership discount for students. When combined with Early Bird Registration for Jamboree, this can offer a real savings for student attendees. And, kudos to SCGS for donating a free three-day registration to the grant recipient, only hours after hearing the grant announcement.
Reading applications for the Student Genealogy Grant left me with three wishes –
Maybe then we would see a real burst of new leaves in our great genealogy family.
I am pleased to announce that Anthony Ray of Palmdale, California has been named as the recipient of the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant. Anthony will receive a $500 cash award and free three-day registration to the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree conference in Burbank June 10-12.
The 2011 Grant is the first awarded by the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Fund to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education. In recognition of Suzanne Freeman’s interest in Jamboree, this year’s award was directed to help a student attend the 2011 SCGS Jamboree genealogy conference.
The family grant committee is grateful to the SCGS Jamboree for their support of the grant by providing a free three-day registration to the grant recipient. Any genealogist 18-25 years of age, attending school within the last year, and attending the SCGS Jamboree was eligible to apply for the 2011 Grant. The Grant Committee received applications from young genealogists across the nation interested in attending the SCGS 2011 Jamboree.
Anthony Ray heads the cemetery indexing project of the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society and is a volunteer researcher assisting with Hispanic research at the Palmdale Family History Center. He has participated in four AVGS Kin-Dig events; this will be his first time attending the SCGS Jamboree. His particular genealogical interests include international heritage research, oral history, cemetery transcriptions, photo restoration, video and audio. Anthony is sophomore at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California where he majors in Music Studies.
Readers of The Family Curator will know that the Grant was established in 2010 in tribute to my mother, Suzanne Freeman, who was an enthusiastic Jamboree attendee and GeneaBlogger supporter. For the past two years, Mom helped pack GeneaBlogger Welcome Bags and greet bloggers at the conference. I know she would enjoy meeting the young genealogists who will be attending Jamboree this year.
Have you heard today's exciting announcement from the Southern California Genealogical Society? Free web-based seminars featuring great speakers on timely topics will be available starting March 5 through the Jamboree Extension Series . According to the SCGS press release, each webinar can accommodate up to 1000 attendees and will also be available for viewing in the SCGS member-only area of the SCGS website.
Upcoming webinars in March and April include
Thomas MacEntee, Social Networking - New Horizons for Genealogists
The full listing is available at the SCGS website Jamboree Extension page.
Online learning has stolen the headlines lately following the success of virtual participation at RootsTech earlier this month. Thank you, SCGS for your commitment to extending genealogy learning beyond the conference classroom.
The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree has just posted an assortment of great Jamboree badges you can include on your blog or website. It looks like Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers has been VERY busy!
In a new twist to conference badges, the Jamboree badges come in several styles to promote different kinds of participation --
You can choose your favorite badge at the SCGS Jamboree blog.
Have you considered sending your photos, films, or slides to a digitizing service, but held back because of that nagging worry that "something bad" might happen to your treasures? Fire, flood, tornadoes, earthquakes, loss of heirlooms are all equal in the eyes of the family historian.
I'm not going to try to convince you to "let go," but I'm planning an article to review a local digitizing service that I have used with good success. I toured ScanDigital's facility in El Segundo, California in October, 2009 and was pleased with services and security systems in place. You can read the full review here.
Not long ago, ScanDigital relocated in the same little beach community. I've seen the new building and it looks even larger than the old space. It helps that my son lives in El Segundo and passes on these Breaking News tidbits.
Also not long ago, a reader commented on my article with her own worrisome experience at ScanDigital. I contacted the company and Pamela Weiss posted a helpful response. She also invited me to come to El Segundo to tour the new facility, and I've already said "Yes." I'm waiting for my own digitizing order to be completed, and will schedule to tour and pick up my items at the same time.
Do you have questions about using a digitizing service? Maybe you would like to know about the tracking system or see photos of the techs at work? Leave your questions in the Comments to this post and I will do my best to get them answered.
Denise Barrett Olson, blogger, writer, scrapbooker, and editor of The Moultrie Creek Gazette, recently released The Future of Memories: A digital publishing primer for the family historian. Anyone who has sung the "I'll publish the family history some day" blues should read this book; it makes some day feel a lot like today.
Denise has established a solid reputation as a tech-savvy writer at her several Moultrie Creek blogs, and I always learn something new from her software reviews, technique tutorials, and Research Notes. But what I enjoy most about Denise's blogs is seeing how she puts her tech know-how to work with her own family history projects. The Future of Memories is such a project.
From scrapbook-style photo layouts to video slideshows to Blurb Books, Denise offers her own digital publishing projects as examples for the services and techniques showcased in The Future of Memories. This is a unique feature of digital publishing unheard of in the world of print books. Read the Barrett family's story of a toy boat regatta, learn how Denise organized and assembled photos to build a photo slideshow and create a movie, and finally, click a link to watch the 4-minute "Caroline Cup Regatta". That's something you just can't do with paper and ink.
Denise is a big fan of Flickr, the photo-sharing website. I admit, I just can't find my way around it; every time I try to set up a group or photo share I end up creating a photostream of the wrong pictures with a really wrong name. I wish I had read Denise's step-by-step instructions first. I like her idea of using a Flickr group for events, like a wedding, as a way to collect photos from several people to build a photo book later.
Cemetery researchers will also be delighted to read "The LIving Book of the Dead," detailing how digital publishing tools are being used to develop a guide for the Huguenot Cemetery in St. Augustine, Florida. Digital publication allows a "living document," one that can grow and expand as new research comes to light.
Many eBooks are a horrible visual experience because the author/publisher fails to consider the vast difference between reading print pages and onscreen images. Happily, Denise Olson knows what she is doing and The Future of Memories is a pleasure to read onscreen. She has taken great care selecting appropriate fonts and designing a clean, crisp layout, and then presents the same design tips for the reader to follow.
The attractive layout is designed in a horizontal page well-suited for the computer monitor and iPad. Each page can be easily read without scrolling. The type is a simple sans serif font well-suited for screen viewing. Use of color and graphics is attractive without being distracting. Generous white space makes each page comfortable to read.
Denise's writing style is clear, concise, and friendly; she is a gifted technical teacher who must like her readers! The hyperlinks work as expected, page navigation is intuitive and unobtrusive.
Overall organization is logical and easy-to-follow. I appreciated the Table of Contents, and didn't miss an Index (Spotlight Search is even better and easier), but I would have liked to use a link roundup at the end of the book. The author gives so many useful site recommendations that I had a little difficulty remembering names to search for them later. I would also like to see a few recommendations for useful photo editing tools, although this may be a topic for another book.
Anyone who has ever thought of publishing a family history, making a slideshow or movie of family photos, or reproducing a treasured family album will enjoy the ideas and expertise shared by Denise Barrett Olson in The Future of Memories. Highly recommended.
The Future of Memories: A digital publishing primer for the family historian 84-pages Available at The Moultrie Creek Gazette, delivered in PDF format from Scribd; $2.99.
Disclosure. I purchased my own copy of The Future of Memories and did not receive any form of compensation for this review.
I viewed the presentation and slides on digitization by Eric Saund from the Palo Alto Research Center. Saund explored the demands of academic and business demands for document processing, but what I found most intriguing was Saund's revelation that he calls himself a "hobbyist" with his own personal family archive, and his conclusion that "the hobby stage brings together kindred spirits" and can drive innovation.
Over twenty videos are available for viewing on topics including Projects, Tools, Movies, Narratives, and many more.
The 2011 Personal Digital Archiving Conference will be held at The Internet Archive in San Francisco February 24 and 25. Thanks Bernard Kahle for mentioning this conference during your presentation this morning at RootsTech.
FootnoteMaven has tossed the ball back into the game and WE'RE TALKING PROPER CITATIONS ON THE BLOGS AGAIN! Thank you, fM, for the heavenly angel badge. (Yes, do see Amy's Genealogy, Etc. Blog for I Don't Care Where You Put the Comma).
Ouch! I LOVE commas. ADORE periods. AM TANTALIZED by semi-colons. My background is journalism and literature, and I've taught both subjects. My favorite books are dictionaries, style guides, and thesauri.
I've probably read (and graded) more English papers than I have names in my family tree. Only a few students truly grasped the concept of correct MLA citation style; many more submitted creative alternatives ranging from 4th grade Bibliography style to APA to very personal renditions of a Works Cited page.
I have a litte theory about this, and it may even have some bearing on citations in genealogy --
Genealogists aren't all that different from high school English students.To be honest, most of us would rather hunt for ancestors than craft citations.
There's not much FUN in fundamental citations.
Citation standards can become "counterproductive" to actual research, I agree. It's hard to keep the train moving when we keep stopping to analyze source citation format as well as source information. But, what would happen if we stopped thinking about our genealogy databases as citation machines a la EasyBib and just considered our databases as a kind of Working Notebook.
I never required students to write a proper MLA citation on their research notecards or notes; it would slow down their research. All they had to do was get enough information to put together a correct MLA citation at a later time. If the student knew enough about MLA to get the author, title, publishing information, etc. they could usually construct the Works Cited page. Some students, however, got a little lazy and only included the journal name, not the article title, or missed the journal volume and number. They were up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
Any genealogy database that helps us obtain all the information needed for a correct citation -- whatever format that might be -- can only help the genealogy researcher. IF I choose to use Evidence Explained style citations, I will need a full data trail for the census I am viewing on Ancestry.com. I appreciate programs like Legacy7 and RootsMagic4 that offer source templates to remind me to include this full source trail. When I use software that only prompts me for Title, Author, Publishing Information, I may forget to include the source of Ancestry's database. Later, when I go to write a correctly formatted citation for my about-to-be-published article, I find I am missing a crucial piece of the citation puzzle and have to retrace my work. Much better to have all the pieces ready for me to assemble into the full picture.
So, sorry Amy, I do care where you put the comma -- in your final paper. But you are so right, genealogy can be a whole lot funner!
Go ahead, cite me!
Family Search earns an A+ for opening RootsTech 2011 to virtual attendance by those of us unable be in Salt Lake City this week for the live event. I have already enjoyed the opening sessions from HP's Shane Robinson and the visionary introduction from Jay Verkler, along with accompanying Tweets from those attending in person, and online.
As Verkler remarked, things are possible today "in the cloud" that we could only have imagined a few years ago, and the future looks limitless.
I especially like the opportunities for innovation and collaboration that will be available at the conference -- internet cafe, un-conference meet-ups, playground -- and I think a lot of us will be watching to see what comes out of these opportunities. Genealogists are looking for developers to listen and respond to their requests, especially regarding data transportability, citation standards, and mobile access.
I hope FamilySearch and other technology companies will let us know what products and features are a direct result from fires sparked at RootsTech 2011.
Last week I posted a question on Facebook that generated a lot of interest, and I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the discussion here, and invite even more input.
My question was prompted by a move from PC to Mac platforms; now that I have new software options,
I want to know what Mac users use for a genealogy database. Do you stick with Mac: Reunion, MacFamilyTree, Fam Tree Maker Mac or run something through Parallels/VM Fusion?
A tally of results shows that of the 12 Mac users who responded
Source templates, note-taking, and research logs all seem to be the major features of concern. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn a new program and then accurately transfer data via GEDCOM, so there needs to be a pretty compelling reason to switch.
Randy Seaver has done a great job at Genea-Musings evaluating GEDCOM transport in and out of various PC programs. Has anyone done a similar work-up that includes Mac programs like Reunion, iFamily, FamilyTreeMaker Mac, or MacFamilyTree?
I have used or sampled Legacy 7, RootsMagic, Reunion, and MacFamily Tree and had varying degrees of success with GEDCOM imports and exports, but for me there's more to a great genealogy database than GEDCOM.
I am looking for a few specific features in my ideal program. In addition to the expectation that it will reliably handle "standard" genealogy event and fact data, my ideal program has to:
be fairly intuitive to learn and use
have a crisp, attractive interface that is uncluttered and easy to use
offer extensive source options (preferably ESM-style)
offer easy navigation and keyboard shortcuts
offer several customizable report formats and charts
be well-supported by company teams and user forums
I won't be a RootsTech this week, but I look forward to hearing about new developments in technology that will make our tasks even easier. What software do you use on your Mac or PC, and what features are on your software Wish List?