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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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    Are You Ready for the Big One? 

    Fire, flood, mudslide, wildfires — Southern California has got them all. Oh, and earthquakes too. But your genealogy research and family history heirlooms will be at less risk if you’re prepared with a Genealogy Disaster Plan. Join me Friday, June 5, 2015 at 1pm at the Southern California Genealogical Society 2015 Jamboree for:

    SCGS Disaster Plan

    The conference begins Thursday, 4 June 2015 with the Genetic Genealogy: DNA Day Plus, and is followed by three days of lectures, workshops and activities presented by national genealogy experts June 5-7, 2015. 

    If you can't attend Jamboree in person, you can still view this session (and many more) as part of the FREE Jamboree Live Streamed sessions. View the full schedule and register at the SCGS Jamboree Website.

    Visit the SCGS Jamboree webpage and blog for more information about this outstanding event.

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    Make a Quick Memorial Day Facebook Collage



    Do you have Civil War soldier ancestors in your family tree? Or veterans from any branch of military service? You don’t need heirloom photographs or Photoshop to make an easy tribute to your family veterans. With a few photos and an online photo editor like PicMonkey, you can easily create a custom Facebook cover collage to celebrate Memorial Day or any special occasion. My Facebook cover collage recalls the origins of Memorial Day in "Decoration Day," a time to "decorate" the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers.

    Choose Your Images

    You’ll need three to six digital images for your collage. I like to use an odd number, usually three or five. A mix of horizontal and vertical works well; you’ll be able to move the image and crop out any areas you don’t want to use.

    Select images and place them in a folder on your desktop for easy access. If you don’t have enough photos in your own collection, try searching public domain images in the Library of Congress Photo Collection, Wikimedia Commons, or The Commons on Flickr.

    Create a Photo Collage With PicMonkey

    PicMonkey online photo editor is one of my favorite photo tools. I discovered PicMonkey while looking for a free and easy photo editor to tweak images for the family history photo projects in my new book, and now it’s my first choice for simple tasks like adding text or creating a simple collage.

    I’ve found it easiest to select my photos first, then open PicMonkey for editing. Here are the basic steps I used to make a Memorial Day custom cover for my Facebook Timeline.

    STEP 1: Go to and select the Collage option. 

    PicMonkey Website

    STEP 2: Choose the Facebook Collage and the template you’d like to use.

    PicMonkey Collage

    STEP 3: Select and import your photos. Drag and drop the photos into the template. Grab the edge of the photo placeholders on the dotted line and drag to change the photo size. Click the “X” to delete unwanted photo placeholders. 

    Go to the Background tab (the icon looks like an artist's palatte) to change the background color and adjust the width of the photo borders.


    When you’re happy with the photo placement, click the EDIT button at the top of the PicMonkey Window. You’ll get a warning screen that your image will sent to the Editor and photos can no longer be adjusted. That’s okay.

    PicMonkey Edit

    STEP 4: In the Editor, click on the Text tab and add your text. Select the font, size, color, and adjust placement.


    STEP 5: In this last step, you can SAVE your creation to your hard drive and upload it yourself to Facebook, or you can SHARE from PicMonkey directly to Facebook (Twitter, Pinterest or other locations). Make your selection by clicking on the SAVE or SHARE button at the top of the window. 


    I saved my collage as "Pierce," the middle quality option to my hard drive, and then uploaded it to Facebook. If you want to save an editable copy of your creation, you'll need to register for a PicMonkey account.

    Enjoy! You’ll find more easy project ideas for sharing your family history in my new book How to Archive Family Photos, now available from ShopFamilyTree and Step-by-step instructions with dozens of photos and screenshots guide you how to make 25 Easy Keepsake Projects, including photo calendars, books, collages, fabric, and home decor.

    Read more about Decoration Day and Memorial Day:


    DAM Workflows That Really Work

    Does your photo workflow work? Or is it stuck somewhere in the “kinda, maybe, could be better” world?

    Like any routine task, managing your digital image files is easier and more efficient if you figure out a streamlined process and fine-tune each step to make it your own. I use Adobe Lightroom to manage my image files, but it doesn’t matter if you manage your files with Windows or Mac digital folders or with another photo software program, all basic photo management workflows should include several basic steps.

    Pin This list
    to help you remember the steps
    in your DAM Photo Workflow

    When I first started working with my family photo collection, I struggled to find a routine that was simple to master yet accomplished all the necessary steps to digitize, backup, archive and preserve my photos. In those early days, I focused on digitizing and scanned images at an unnecessarily high resolution which made the overall process take hours instead of minutes. Today, with more photos captured on my smartphone and digital camera, I’ve added a step to my workflow that includes rounding up images from different devices so that I’m working with everything in one central location.

    Step 1: Capture, Step 2: Import

    Whether you’re working with scanned images or new photos of your friends and family captured on your smartphone or digital camera, it’s a good idea to collect ALL your images in one place. You might do this manually by dragging and dropping files to a folder, or you might set up an automated system with Dropbox, ThisLife by Shutterfly, or iDrive. 

    Gathering your photos in one location will

    • make it easier to backup and to archive your images
    • lessen the chance that a photo is “lost” or accidentally deleted
    • give you a visual overview of your image files
    • help you spot inconsistent filenames
    • make it easier for other computer users to understand and access your photo filing system

    You might think the last point is odd: why would you want anyone else to access your photos system? But, what if you’re traveling, ill, or unavailable? If you want your photo legacy to survive, your system needs to be understandable and accessible by others.

    Clip and save this infographic to remind you of each step in the overall photo workflow. Read more about DAM Workflows, including options for importing photos and setting up your own DAM system in my new book How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally.

    Available from ShopFamilyTree and

    P.S. You still have time to enter the Geneablogger's Giveaway for a free copy of my book, How to Archive Family Photos. Enter and Share for even more chances to win. Giveaway ends Wednesday May 13, 2015. ENTER TODAY!


    Win a Free Copy of My New Book: How to Archive Family Photos

    With Mother’s Day fast approaching, are you looking for a little something for that special mom in your life? If your mother loves sharing family photos and memories, and would like some help working with digital images, she’ll enjoy the step-by-step approach of my new book How to Archive Family Photos

    Beginning with the photos in your camera or smartphone, we work through the steps to 

    • move images from device to computer
    • select adequate storage 
    • add simple filenames
    • back up
    • add tags, captions, and keywords
    • archive
    • edit, export, and share

    But because most family historians have heritage family photos too, How to Archive Family Photos includes a section on scanning and digitizing old pictures. You’ll read how to choose the best scanner (or camera) for the job, how to set up your equipment, and then how to preserve those original photographs after digitizing.

    And finally, you’ll be inspired to share your family photos in a variety of projects, including collages, family history books, calendars, gifts, and more. Step-by-step instructions show you what to expect from different online photo services, and an entire section on Core Project Skills with Project Board worksheet will help you plan your next — and best — family photo project.

    WIN - WIN One for Mom, One for You

    Geneablogger founder Thomas MacEntee is hosting a Giveaway for a copy of my new book, with extra entries each time you Share the Giveaway information on social media. (You’ll see the “Share” options after you Enter the Giveaway). Read Thomas' review of my book HERE.

    Order Mom a Mother’s Day gift copy of How to Archive Family Photos with fast shipping from your favorite online bookseller, and enter to win a copy for your own library at the Geneabloggers Giveaway.

    Order from or ShopFamilyTree

    Enter the Geneabloggers Giveaway


    Disclosure Statement: Affiliate links are included in this post. Please see the Disclosure Page for more more information.


    The 5-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Every Mom Will Love

    Mosaic PhotoBook Cover

    Looking for a fast, easy, personal gift for someone special? All you need is

    • five minutes
    • a smartphone or tablet with the Mosaic App for iOS or Android
    • 20 photos
    • four days lead time for gift delivery

    Last summer, I wanted to send a small photo book as a thank you for a weekend visit to our nephew in Pennsylvania. My iPhone held snapshots from our tour of Hershey Park, fun blue-berry picking and next-morning pancake extravaganza with the kids, and a burger and sundae outing at the local diner.I selected my favorite photos, applied a little cropping and tweaked the color. Mosaic did the rest.

    1. Download and Install
      Download the Mosaic App for iPhone and Android from the app store for your device.
    2. Start Creating
      Click the Create a New Mosaic button and your camera roll will appear.
    3. Select Photos
      Choose the photos you want to use, or import photos from Facebook. Exactly twenty photos must be selected. Click NEXT when you’re finished selecting photos.
    4. Preview and order
      Tap the book to view the pages. Your photos will automatically fill the twenty-page book. Shuffle the cover photos displayed in the unique mosaic cutout. When you like the results, place your order.
    5. Enjoy!
      Sit back and know that your book will arrive in FOUR DAYS, in a custom gift box, delivered directly to your special someone. Allow more time for international shipping.

    TIP: Personalize your book with a printed message by using the ADD NOTE feature after the photos are placed on the pages. The finished Mosaic Book is square 7x7-inches, hardbound in black linen. Photos are printed in full color on smooth white paper. 

    How to Archive Family Photos Cover web

    And, if you want to a help your mom conquer her digital photo chaos and find over two dozen creative photo projects like this one, order my new book How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally, featuring 25 Easy Keepsake Projects.

    Available from ShopFamilyTree,, and your favorite booksellers.

    Disclosure: Affiliate book links help fund this website. I am not a Mosaic affiliate — I just like the product and want to share it with you!

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