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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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    Wednesday
    Jul242013

    The GRIP Report Vol. 2 No. 1: Hit the Ground Running

    Angela Packer McGhie, evening presenter at GRIP

    Jet-lag just "doesn't work" here at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh. Attendees converged at La Roche College Sunday afternoon and were in the classrooms early Monday morning for the first sessions. I wasn't the only one who traveled across time zones to get here. The daily conference newsletter reported that genealogists came from 34 states and one foreign country:

    • Pennsylvania: 38
    • Ohio: 15
    • New Jersey: 10
    • Maryland: 9
    • Virginia, Indiana: 8 each
    • Colorado, Massachusetts, New York: 7 each
    • Washington: 7
    • Michigan: 5
    • Texas: 4
    • Delaware, Georgia, Ilinois, Minnesota, West Virginia: 3 each
    • Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina, Wisconsin: 2 each
    • Italy, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, NewHampshire, Tennessee, Vermont: 1 each

    The institute sessions this year include six courses taught by a roster of outstanding genealogy educators. I'm taking Dr. Tom Jones inagural course based on his new book, Mastering Genealogical Proof. 

    Genealogy Camp

    I've heard a few people refer to GRIP as Genealogy Camp, and it does have a bit of the Camp atmosphere because of the small group setting with 150 students. The classrooms, dorms, and cafeteria are all situated together at LaRoche -- convenient and congenial. But the atmosphere is more like graduate school, with "focus and discipline" (as Dr. Jones notes) as the goal.

    That is, except for MOVIE NIGHT! I remember those much-anticipated evenings at summer camp, and Tuesday evening, GRIP directors Elissa Scalise Powell and Deborah Lichtner Deal arranged a special showing of the season premier of Who Do You Think You Are? following the evening genealogy presentation by Angela Packer McGhie.

    It was great fun to follow Kelly Clarkson on her family history journey and watch her reaction to learning about her ancestors. But, the biggest round of applause was reserved for GRIP instructor and WDYTYA researcher Josh Taylor. You don't always get to go to camp with a movie star!

    Sunday
    Jul212013

    Orange County Summers ca. 1960

    What's Are You Doing for Summer Vacation?

    La habra library

    I remember when the big question during the final weeks of the school year was always the same, "So, whatareyoudoingforsummervacation?"

    "Nuthin'"

    My friends were carted off on exotic camping vacations to Yellowstone, or spent weeks visiting relatives in Omaha. Hardly anyone I knew went to summer school; it seemed mostly for kids who had to make up classes after they were out for weeks with mono, or for anyone who had the misfortune to flunk chemistry.

    Summer in Orange County, California was hot, smoggy, and wonderfully dull. My mom planned just enough activities to keep us out of trouble (so she thought), and the rest of our days were spent playing with friends, reading, and inventing stuff in the backyard. With four years between us, my sister may remembers those days differently, but I loved the gift of freedom and the challenge "Girls, go find something to do."

    B-O-R-E is a Four Letter Word

    Summers were never boring. We spent days building elaborate Barbie houses and then whined because we ran out of time to play with them. On hot afternoons, we kneeled in the dirt along the shady side of the house and collected iron filings. What do you do with iron filings? I don't know, but they're cool.

    As a pre-teen I babysat for neighbors, ironed hankies for pocket money, and was the driving force behind a variety of start-up businesses. We sold lemonade, lemons, and avocados. We printed out a newspaper using an office mimeograph master and a tray of Knox gelatin. We put on plays, talent shows, and musicals.

    The 60's were good years to keep teenagers busy. I have more memories of psychedelic sunsets at scout camp than I do of concerts and music. Our groovy skits provided campfire entertainment and the best camp crafts were candles and love-beads.

    The activities changed with the years, from iron filings to scout camp to camp counselor, but one annual event remained as popular when I was 15 as when I was 5 -- the public library summer reading program.

    Every June the public library promoted summer reading with a themed program filled with contests and activities. It was the best part of summer for a nerdy girl who loved to read. The only problem was the 10 book limit on how many titles you could check out. Ten books is hardly enough when you are whipping through the Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames, and Nancy Drew series.

    I haven't collected iron filings in a long time, but I still see summer as a time to try something new and to read my way through the heat. I mark the end of the school year with my own list of summertime goals, although goals is too business-like to suit the mood of summer. Dreams would be better. Summertime is dream-time. A time to master a new skill, discover a new talent, or read a new book.

    This summer I'm working my way through a stack of new books, learning to make my step-mom's Texas fried chicken, and working through Dr. Tom Jones' Mastering Genealogical Proof. Oh, and I'm going returning to the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), or Genealogy Camp as I've heard it called.

    "So, whatareyoudoingforsummervacation?"

    Thursday
    Jul182013

    Awkward Family Photos, Panorama Group Style

    Camp pano boys

    Don't squirm, Little Bro
    Remember the old banquet-style photographs I recently dehumidified and unrolled? I've had a lot of fun looking at the details through my Magnabrite globe and on my computer.

    I scanned the camp photo with my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and reassembled the 18 images using the included EasyStitch software. The stitching process was finished in only three minutes and gave me a complete digital image of the 8 x 26-inch photograph.

    And, look what I found --

    Camp pano sign

    Genealogically Interesting

    The photograph was snapped August 21-28, 1948 at Hume Lake [California] for the Inter-Church Bible Conference. That means that my mom and aunt (pictured below and outlined in blue) were there with people from their church group and other, probably local Orange County, churches. Anyone with ancestors in Orange County, California who attended a fundamental Christian church about 1948 might find their family members in this group photo. 

    Now, I need to pin down the name of Mom and Auntie's church at that time. Although this looks like a camp for church members of all ages, I don't see my grandparents. They were probably  home enjoying the break with their two girls away for the week! 

    Inter Church Camp, Hume Lake, California 1948

    Awkward Moments

    Looking closer at the photo, I found some intriguing drama, and some humorous actions captured on film. The image above is a thumbnail version; if you click on it, a full-size photo should open so you can follow along:

    First, check out where everyone is looking. The kids and teens are all dutifully staring directly at the photographer. But, look at Boss Lady on the far left (outlined in green). The lady with the "pocketbook" gripped tightly under her arm. Is she looking at that cute baby in the top row? Or, is she keeping an eye on the teenage boys further along the line?

    A few other people aren't looking at the camera -- the baby is watching something more interesting, Mom? And then, look at the folks on the right side of the photo, selected in the red boxes. What's going on over there? 

    The adults are all behaving pretty well in this photo, not surprisingly. Even the teenagers are keeping their hands under control. Note the protective hands placed on the women's and girls' shoulders by nearby males. The guy in the top row doesn't quite know where to place his hand so he settles for the girl's throat. Scary!

    It's the kids along the front who are having the most fun. Outlined in green, from left to right, check out:

    • the little girl trying to hide her nail biting
    • the boy blowing a championship bubble-gum bubble
    • the kid waving
    • the big brother throttling little brother and holding his chin up

    I've probably missed a few more graceless movements captured in time; leave a comment with your own additions. And watch what you're doing in your next group photo! 

    Tuesday
    Jul162013

    On the Road with Gena and Jean's Genealogy Tour

    Two ladies sitting in motor car museum of hartlepool flickr the commons

    Don't you love the theme photo at Gena and Jean's Genealogy Journey Blog?
    Museum of Hartlepool. Flickr the Commons

    Gena Philibert-Ortega and Jean Wilcox Hibben are on the road this month lecturing on genealogy and social history, and sharing their new books. This week Gena and Jean have appearances in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley before driving up the Pacific coast to stop off in Santa Barbara. Next week, the pair will be speaking in Sacramento. 

    The complete tour schedule is posted on their tour blog, Gena and Jean's Genealogy Journey. The concept of a genealogy book tour is a unique idea, and contributions from tour sponsors will  help to defray Gena and Jean's travel expenses.

    Gena is the author of From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes  and a popular speaker and prolific writer on women and social history topics. Gena blogs about cookbooks, recipes, and all kinds of cool stuff at her blogs Gena's Genealogy and Food. Family. Ephemera.

    Gena and Jean are long-time friends and are both active in the Association of Professional Genealogists and other national and local genealogy organizations

    Jean is a Board Certified genealogist with a special interest in folk music and a new historical novel chronicling the story of her great great grandmother, Elisabeth.  Jean writes about her projects and research at Circlemending.

    Jean is also the lead researcher for the upcoming PBS television program Genealogy Roadshow.Gena and Jean also plan to make a stop in San Francisco to be on-site for the Genealogy Roadshow filming in San Francisco.

    Everyone who attends their presentations is in for a treat. Check out the schedule and follow their adventures on their genealogy journey.

    Tuesday
    Jul162013

    Heir Apparent Learns How to Preserve Family Keepsakes

      

    Meet David. He's not quite two years old, but he knows it's important to take good care of your Blankie.

    When David has a question about preserving family keepsakes he turns to How to Archive Family Keepsakes for straightforward advice on storage methods and techniques. 

    Some folks want to throw Blankie under his stroller, other people want to stuff him in the diaper bag (phewwww!). David learned that Blankie, like all textiles, is happiest when he's put away nice and clean and stored in a cool place away from heat, light, and moisture. 

    Blankie isn't very big, so it will be easy to roll him in a clean white sheet and let him take a long nap on the closet shelf. One day. But right now, David has decided it's just fine to keep Blankie nearby. After all, Blankie IS a Family Keepsake.

    In Every Family, Somone Inherits "The Stuff."

    Order your copy How to Archive Family Keepsakes today, and learn how to care for and preserve textiles like Blankie, and all kinds of keepsakes --

    • antique and vintage photographs
    • slides and negatives
    • film and video
    • photo albums
    • scrapbooks
    • diaries and journals
    • Family Bibles
    • genealogy research materials
    • baby albums
    • yearbooks and bound books
    • art
    • furniture
    • china and glassware
    • collectibles
    • musical instruments
    • quilts and samplers
    • clothing
    • military insignia
    • uniforms
    • scouting memorabilia
    • watches and jewelry
    • metal tools
    • toys, dolls, games

    . . . including Hop Hop, David's toy stuffed frog.

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon.comShopFamilyTree, iBooksBarnes and Noble, and retail booksellers.

        10% Off 

     

     

     

    Saturday
    Jul132013

    Unlocking Inspiration in Arline's Heirloom Photograph

    Kayli owl

    My New-Fashioned Old-Fashioned Photo Locket

    My grandmother loved lockets and photo jewelry, and I do too. My niece, Kayli Craig, crafted this new keepsake for me with specialty items as an Origami Owl Custom Jewelry Designer. The locket features a snap open glass case that can hold three-dimensional objects, including this photo of my grandmother Arline and a gold-tone heart frame I found in a box of her old jewelry. I think the little metal frame may once have held another photo in it's own locket. I selected the family tree charm as my own contribution.

    We don't know much about Arline's beautiful photograph. Other similar photos are dated about 1908 and look very similar, giving a clue that this may have been created about the same time. Arline would have been 18 years old.

    Arline 1 web

    Arline Allen Kinsel, ca. 1908-1910

    This same photo was also the inspiration for a custom-made porcelain doll commissioned by Arline's eldest daughter sometime in the 1970s. The doll is dressed in white cotton with an eyelet jacket and black velvet ribbons at the wrist. A faded bouquet of flowers is tucked into her waistband. All that is missing is the wonderful hat with the organza butterflies ready to take flight.

    Doll 2

    Time has not been kind to the Arline doll. She was displayed in a glass-front case for many years where the light and air stained her gown and the painted porcelain. Poor dolly.

    I'm enjoying my own 21st century memento of Arline, especially knowing that the photo inside the glass locket was printed from a digital image and the keepsake original is tucked away safely in an archival box.

    If you are interested in keepsake lockets, please contact my niece to learn about the different options and styles available, including silver, gold, or bronze-tone. She can be reached through her website www.trinketsandcharms.origamiowl.com.

    Official Disclosure: Of course, I do have to advise you that I am not under any undue pressure to ooohhhhh and ahhhhh over this piece of jewelry. I picked it out and paid for it myself because I like it! (And I'm pretty crazy about my niece too).

    Tuesday
    Jul092013

    Where to Store Long Group Photos or Banquet Prints: Treasure Chest Thursday

     

    Inter-Church Family Bible Conference Hume Lake Aug. 21-28 1948

    Now that you've successfully dehumidified all those lovely old documents and long group photos that were held in tightly rolled little batons, you must be looking for a suitable archival-quality storage container. Right?

    You will want to store your photos and documents lying flat, and if you have multiple photos or documents it's a good idea to place a sheet of archival paper between each item. 

    The best storage choice is an acid-free, lignin-free archival box purchased from a reputable preservation supplier. These companies sell only archival quality products and their biggest customers are libraries, archives, and other institutions.

    You may find inexpensive boxes labeled "archival," but unless the tag also reads "Acid-free" and possibly "Lignin-free," it is not a true archival product. Confused? You are not alone.

    Why "Archival" Is Not Always Archival

    Unfortunately, the word "archival" is used freely by manufacturers to describe ANY container intended to store stuff. The word itself has no legal qualification. It's a bit like the word "organic." 

    Remember in the early days of the natural food movement when anyone and everyone called their produce "organic"? In 1990s, the government decided to lay down some ground rules; and today, when you see "certified organic" carrots you can be assured that those orange vegetables meet certain USDA standards. 

    It's much the same with archival products. Anyone can call a photo box "archival." After all, the box may be designed to "archive" or "store" photos. While there may come a time when the industry offers "certified archival" products that meet certain standards, for now, just know that the best storage containers for family keepsakes are labeled as acid-free, lignin-free (or low-lignin) containers.

    Where to Find True "Archival" Storage Boxes

    I'm often asked where to purchase archival storage boxes, and I have to confess that I'm a great believer in not re-inventing the wheel. When I want to purchase something new, I look for recommendations from people I trust. I feel very comfortable purchasing archival suppliers from the same manufacturer who supplies The Library of Congress and The National Archives. And, I'm not just playing favorites because this same company was kind enough to sponsor my Preserving Keepsakes Workshop at the recent Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. 

    For at least 15 years, my go-to archival supplier has been Hollinger Metal Edge, with locations in Virginia and Southern California. Hollinger offers museum-quality archival products in all shapes and sizes, from photo to document to keepsake storage.

    Those long rolled photos we've been working with are sometimes called "banquet photos," presumably because so many images were made of convention and conference banquet attendees. Look for long shallow boxes called "Banquet Photo Storage" or  "Group Photo Boxes." You may have to order in quantities of three or more, so find a friend or someone in your genealogical society who will share an order with you.

    Banquet Photo Boxes

    Banquetbox

    Hollinger banquet boxes measure  24 x 12 1/2 x 2-inches and cost under $20 per box. Mylar protective sleeves and archival folders sized to fit individual prints are also available. 

    Other archival suppliers may offer similar storage boxes; just be careful to purchase true archival-quality containers. Look for acid-free, lignin free boxes.

    DIY Options?

    You may not want to invest in archival boxes right now; maybe you'd like to find someone to split that order with you. Or, maybe you have only one or two prints and plan to have them framed in the near future.

    A DIY archival folder will also protect your newly-flattened print from dust and light. You will need a sheet of heavy-weight archival board, about the weight of good card stock. Simply fold the board in half, and place your print inside. Use scrapbook tape to close the ends and store the folder on a shelf or on top of archival boxes. Be careful not to put items on top of the folder that might cause abrasions on the image, and plan to move the prints to more secure storage as soon as possible.

    Archival board is often available at art supply and framing stores. Look for acid-free, lignin-free board.

    Where to Store Your Banquet Photo Boxes

    Family keepsakes benefit from kind storage. Place your boxes in a location where you live and the temperature is fairly constant -- not too hot, or too cold. An empty closet or cupboard in your home is a good spot. Avoid humidity, dust, light, pests, and smoke or fumes. 

    For more ideas on locating your home archive and preserving different kinds of family treasures, check out my book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records available in paperback, or the Kindle ebook excerpt How to Organize Inherited Items .

    See Also:

    Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidify Old Rolled Photographs

    Official Disclosure: At my request, Hollinger Metal Edge provided an assortment of archival products for display and demonstration in my workshop at the 2013 SCGS Jamboree. I was not required to promote or endorse their products. I receive a small commission from sales when customers indicate FAMILYCURATOR in the coupon code box. I also recieve a small commision through sales at Amazon and Family Tree Books.

    Tuesday
    Jul092013

    Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidify Old Rolled Photographs and Documents


     

    If you've ever tried to capture a family photo with everyone smiling at the same time, you know the exquisite torture of group photography. Some wise-guy pulls the rabbit-ears trick at the last minute, or crosses his eyes, or yanks someone's hair. That's why I love those long tightly-rolled panorama photos often found cast aside in family collections. You can usually spot a goofy grin, a secret wink or a wayward hand. It's a second of social history captured by lens and film.

    It's obvious that people don't quite know what to do with these old rolled photos. They resist exploration. When forced flat, the paper often cracks every few inches damaging the photograph. If you try to look at the photo a few inches at a time, carefully handling the paper as though you were reading an ancient scroll, it's hard to get the "big picture" of what's going on.

    This 1929 black-and-white panorama photo is a classic example of what can happen when a brittle rolled photograph is forcibly flattened without first reconditioning the paper; the print is cracked at regular intervals across the entire image.

    I inherited nearly a dozen long group photos from the 1920s through 1960s, most still rolled tight and in good condition. I really wanted to flatten the photos and examine them more closely for genealogical clues to my family history. If nothing else, I thought they would look great framed and hanging on the wall.

    Fortunately, it's not difficult or expensive to relax, or re-humidify, a rolled photo or document.  When I asked Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist, if there was a safe method to flatten those old photos, she directed me to the instructions and reassured m:

    "Yes, It's Safe to Try This At Home"

    So I did.

    And it worked!

    The cracked photo shown above was curled in a series of small waves looked like a photographic washboard. Because it was already damaged, I thought it would be a good item to use in my first experiment with the rehumidification process. 

    Since then, I have successfully rehumidified and flattened many panorama photos, and some curled and brittle snapshots. Sally says that the process is also safe with documents, not just photos. Museums and archives create a similar humidification chamber when working with old documents. You don't need any fancy equipment, just a few household items and a bit of common sense about working with your family keepsakes. Here's the recommended method I used with success:

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Relaxing a Rolled Photograph

    You Will Need:
    • rolled or curled photograph
    • plastic tub or container -- deep enough to hold your rack and leave space between the rack and tub lid
    • rubber coated wire rack -- I used an expandable plate rack (you need a rack that is large enough to accommodate your item
    • water -- room temperature
    • archival blotting paper
    • wax paper or parchment paper from your kitchen (optional)

     

    Relax photo fc 1Step 1. Select Your Photograph

    For your first project, select a photo or document that is NOT a priceless heirloom. If you just want to practice this technique, you may be able to find an old rolled photo selling cheap at a thrift store. Most people throw them away (ouch) because they think they're past saving.

    Tap the print with your fingernail. Does it sound hard, like dry pasta? It should feel and sound different when the paper is dehumidified.

    Relax photo fc 2 

    Step 2. The Humidification Chamber

    Place the tub on a towel or rug on your floor in an out-of-the-way spot where you can leave it for a few days. Make sure the rack will fit inside the container and extend long enough to support your photograph. The rolled photo will start needing only a few inches of space, but as it relaxes you may want to gently help it unroll.

    Add about 2 inches of room temperature water. Do NOT use warm or hot water. You don't want  condensation on the underside of the lid that might drip down on to your photo. Use room temperature water.

    Place the rack inside the tub and place your photo on the rack. It will look lonely. 

    Relax photo fc 3

    Step 3. Close the Chamber

    Place the lid on the box and let it sit.

    Relax photo fc 4

    Step 4. Wait.

    Let everything sit there for a few hours. Get on with your life. Read a new blog.

    Relax photo fc 5

    Step 5. Check for Condensation 

    After about an hour, open the container and check  your photo. Make sure there is no moisture dripping on the photo. Feel the paper. Does it feel softer? It will probably need more time to absorb the moisture in the chamber.

    What we are doing here is making moisture available to the paper, so that it can become limber and flexible once again. You don't want too much moisture, because that can damage the print. It could also encourage the growth of mold or mildew. If you notice beads of water on the inside of the cover that could drip down on your print, wipe them off and check your print. Notice the moisture aroung the side walls of the chamber in the next photo. That's okay.

    Relax photo fc 6

    Step 6. Check Again

    After 4 or 5 hours, or overnight, check the paper again. Can you unroll it at all? You may need to do this a few times. Keep checking every few hours until the paper feels relaxed. Look at the difference between this photo and the tightly curled batons in the first step. You can feel the difference in the paper. Tap the print again with your fingernail. It should sound different; softer, more like. . . well, like paper.

    Relax photo fc 8

    Step 7. Remove Your Photo from the Chamber

    When you think the photo feels softer and flexible remove it from the box supporting it with both hands and place it on the blotting paper. Gently ease open the rolled image. If it resists or starts to crack, it needs more moisture. Return it to the humidification chamber.

    At some point the photo will have absorbed enough moisture to relax and allow you to unroll it. If the paper is still extremely brittle and hard you should probably stop and seek professional assistance. I have not experienced this situation.

    Relax photo fc 7

    At this point, your photo is relaxed. Now you need to allow it to dry as a flat print. If you have a  sheet of kitchen wax paper or kitchen paper, you can place this over the surface of the photo before folding the blotting paper over the top. It's not absolutely necessary. 

    Relax photo fc 9

    Step 8. Add Weight and Dry.

    Finally, weight down the entire photo in the blotting paper so that it dries flat. I used a heavy wooden cutting board topped with both volumes of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary  (the heaviest books on my shelves).

    Stitch gurley crop

    Step 9. Allow the Print to Completely Dry

    It may take a few days for your photograph to dry out completely. Check it occasionally. Remove the parchment paper and let the blotting paper absorb more moisture. Give it enough time to become very very flat.

    The result will be an heirloom group photograph you can scan, restore, share, frame, or use for further family history research.

    In a forthcoming post I'll show you how I scan panorama group photos with the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and with the Epson Perfection V500 and use stitching software to recreate the original long image.

     

    Disclaimer: 

    This DIY project worked for me; but I can't guarantee you will have the same results. Please use caution and good judgement, and try it at your own risk.

    Monday
    Jul082013

    How Genealogy Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement Makes Everyone a Loser

    I hate being a “loser.” But I am, and so are you. And it makes me angry.

    Last week I spent two afternoons preparing a How To article for The Family Curator. The topic was suggested by questions on Facebook and Google+, and was something I’ve had in mind for some time, “How to Relax Old Rolled Photographs.” I wanted to offer a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to tackle this do-it-yourself project.

    To create the tutorial photos, I needed to stage my process at each step. It took a few hours to get out all the materials, set up the shots and take the pictures. Next, I had to move them to my computer, resize, tag, crop, and write the article. This one blog post took two full afternoons to prepare. 

    I was ready to publish the article on The Family Curator when I read about the court decision involving a longtime website and a relative newcomer, and the discussion that followed.

    Barry Ewell eMail #30 Remember the Power of One
    “Litigation Between Cyndi’s List and MyGenShare Dismissed”

    and Comments by:

    Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

    Dear Myrtle: Is there such as thing as ethical plagiarism?

    Michael Hait: Copyright, plagiarism, and citing your sources 

    I’m a writer, first, and a genealogist second. I sell words, not research. I like blogging because it gives me a place to write, and I enjoy the response from readers. Every comment, whether at my blog or through email or Facebook is a kind of paycheck, the reward that makes me want to keep writing.

    I don’t want to earn a living blogging because I don’t want to spend my time analyzing conversion rates, SEO, campaign strategy, etc. 

    I just want to write. I write for magazines, other websites, newsletters, and all kinds of outlets, and often I am paid for the products I provide.  It may take a full week working part-time hours for me to draft, edit, create images, and send off a magazine article. Weeks later, I receive a check for the article.

    Some blog posts require more time, too, like the “How to” I’ve been working on. I have to set up materials for the photos, take the pictures, tag, resize, post to blog, write the article, and finally publish, hoping that readers find it useful (and maybe even leave a comment).

    So here’s where we all lose.

    I Lose

    As a writer and genealogy blogger I lose the claim of protected intellectual property.

    When I read about cases of plagiarism and copyright infringement where it’s unclear if an author has been able to defend his or her rights, I begin to think twice about what I write and post as free content on my own blog. After all, there is little guarantee that the same won’t happen to my content. I might turn on my computer  tomorrow and find that my “How to” article is behind a pay wall on a subscription website, or offered for sale under someone else’s name. Yes, I can demand that the material be removed, file a complaint, and state my legal rights, and I’ve done so in the past. But, the cold reality is that it keeps happening.

    If Content is King in blogging, but content cannot be protected, where does this leave the genealogy writer?

    Do we self-edit – only publishing on our blog what we are willing to lose and see appear under another by-line?

    Do we hold back “best stuff” to sell and post only reprints or non-marketable material?

    Do we spend so much time defending our intellectual property that we have less time to create new original material?

    You Lose

    We have an active and responsive genealogy blogging community. We talk to each other (a lot). But there are many more genealogists and family historians who are not bloggers and come to us for information, news, research tips, and know-how. They look for FREE first. And, that’s okay.

    If genealogy writers begin to revise their editorial practices and choice of content, where does that leave the genealogy reader?

    Less free original content

    Less free quality content

    Less content overall

    We all lose.

    Unless, writers and readers can work together to help maintain and protect intellectual property of the creators.

    Refuse to lose.

     

    • If you notice a breach of copyright on a website, PLEASE take time to notify the original author. Give the author a heads-up so they can take action to protect their work.
    • Always give credit where credit is due. Link to other blogs, use quotes, use citations, and ask permission before reposting someone else’s work, whether it’s a photo, an article, or a research conclusion.
    • Let writers know that you like the information they provide. Take time to “pay” for that free content with a quick comment, a Facebook “Like,” or Twitter RT.

     

    I’m not giving in, yet. Come back tomorrow for How to Relax Old Rolled Photos.

    Thursday
    Jul042013

    A Blog Birthday to Celebrate! Now I Am Six!

    May denise 1959 bday

    Put another candle on the birthday cake. . .

    It's hard to believe that The Family Curator is SIX this year! Was it only six years ago that I began reading Arlne's mail and fussing with old photographs? It feels like they've been part of my life forever, but have to remind myself that I didn't inherit her keepsakes until the turn of the century (this century!). 

    It was about 2000 when Arline's steamer trunk of keepsakes passed from my Aunt's care to my Mom. Auntie wanted the trunk, so Mom got the contents in cardboard boxes, and that's how the letters, photos, and all the other stuff came to me.

    The rest, as they say, is history. Which nudges me to make a few notes on the

    The History of The Family Curator Blog

    4 July 2007 -- Inspired by Thoreau selecting Independence Day as the jumping-off point for his time at Walden Pond,  I launch The Family Curator blog on 4 July 2007. Create Reading Women's Lives, high school English unit for my upper-division students using letters, documents, and photos from the Arline Allen Kinsel Papers. Begin an online journal (web-log) on Blogger to record my efforts. I discover I like blogging.

    4 July 2008 -- footnoteMaven features my classroom experience "Reading Women's Lives" at Shades of the Departed online photo magazine. My mom joins me in the search for Arline's story. I start to explore the world of FaceBook.

    2009 -- I enjoy meeting genealogy bloggers in real-time at conferences and seminars throughout the year. My new status as "retired teacher" gives me more time to blog and work with Arline's archive. The Family Curator changes blogging platforms and design moving to SquareSpace.

    2010 -- An exciting year when The Family Curator is named one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Blogs. Arline's letters and photos are scanned, filed, and researched. The bottom falls off the world when my mom becomes ill, and passes away in August; my genealogy buddy is gone. 

    2011 -- Blogging is slow, but geneablogging friends are a great support this year. The Family Curator is honored to be included in the Top 40 Blogs, and a new project is in the works, a book about working with family archives. Twilter explodes; The Family Curator is there.

    2012 -- Writing, writing, writing. How to Archive Family Keepsakes, F+W Media is published. Blog redesign and update; still on SquareSpace. Now we have to track Pinterest, Facebook, Google + and Twitter. Whew!

    2013 -- So far this year, Blog Book Tour for my new book. Speaking, writing, and having a great time doing what I love -- writing about family history and family keepsakes. Stay tuned for more new projects!

    Wednesday
    Jul032013

    Lady Liberty is "At Home" July 4, 2013

    Liberty Island Reopens to Visitors

    Lady liberty

    The National Park Service has announced that the Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors on 4 July 2013 after being closed for repairs following damage from Hurricane Sandy last fall. The grounds have been refurbished, docks rebuilt, and new exhibits mounted just in time for the summer vacation center.

    The NPS notes that due to expected high demand, visitors must make reservations and reserve tickets ahead of time. For more information, visit the National Park Service website.

    Image Credit: Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty - the illumination of New York Harbor [Bird's-eye view of the statue, harbor and fireworks], 1886, Wood Engraving after a drawing by Charles Graham, Library of Congress Library of Congress, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b32167.

    Monday
    Jul012013

    Countdown to GRIPitt Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    I can hardly wait to go back to school! In three weeks I will be sitting in a classroom at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh for a week-long intensive genealogy course. You could be there too!

    As of June 26, a few seats were still available in three outstanding courses:

    Intermediate Research, coordinator Paula Stuart-Warren

    Military Records, coordinator Craig R. Scott

    Writing a Quality Narrative, coordinator John Colletta

    I was a student in Paula Stuart-Warren's Intermediate Research course last summer along with over two dozen researchers with all levels of expertise. Some students were experienced in working with clients, others focused on their own family research, and many were somewhere in between. The pace was steady, absorbing, and challenging.

    2012 July 26 Intermediate class cropped

    Paula taught most of the Intermediate Research sessions, and coordinated lectures presented by Josh Taylor on several subjects. The inaugural 2012 program offered four courses; this year there will be six.

    One of the things I liked about the institute setting is the opportunity to interact with faculty and students outside of class. The collegial atmosphere in the common spaces and dining hall encourage conversation and exchange. GRIP Directors Elissa Scalise Powell and Debbie Deal were ever present and always smiling; everything ran so smoothly that it seemed like they had been running GRIP for years. 

    If you have been thinking about attending GRIP and can fit one week of outstanding genealogy education into your schedule July 21 - 26, 2013, act now and register to attend the 2013 program. Read more last year's program from attending student bloggers here; and in my posts about the week:

    Off to GRIP for Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    GRIP Pittsburgh Day One Recap

    GRIP Day Two: Getting Into the Groove

    Getting a GRIP on the 2012 Inaugural Session of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

    Book Review: My Genealogy Book Purchases at GRIP

    In keeping with my goal to Learn One New Thing This Summer, I'm focusing on Mastering Genealogical Proof. I will attending Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard, coordinator Dr. Thomas W. Jones.  Training is already underway: less sleep, more stamina!

    Please stop me and say "hello" if you will be at GRIP! See you in soon!

    Wednesday
    Jun192013

    Remembering Summer and Making Time to Learn "One New Thing"

    The First Day of Summer is Almost Here: What New Thing Are You Ready to Learn?

    One golden summer I conquered the Lord of the Rings; another I learned to turn a heel in hand knit socks. In our house, summer has always been a season of opportunity.

    My sister and I never went to summer school; instead we passed the hot, smoggy Southern California months of July and August painting rocks and weaving pine-needle baskets at scout camp, solving mysteries with Nancy Drew at the public library, and molding clay at the city Parks and Recreation Department kids' program.

    If we had a gap between programs, Mom made sure we were learning about salesmanship by marketing lemons and avocados from our backyard trees, or becoming skilled craftsmen by  weaving loopy potholders or sewing doll clothes. 

    Girl Scout Day Camp, Orange County, California, about 1963.
    That's me in the back with the bucket hat next to my mom, Suzanne May. 

    I tried to continue the family summer tradition with my own two sons, with mixed results. One summer, when he was about eight years old, the older son was stuck on stamp collecting. I drove him to a weekly Kids and Stamps Club directed by a local postmaster, and we started ordering First Day Covers and soaking old stamps off envelopes. 

    The next year, it was baseball cards and player's autographs.

    The younger son was infatuated with model-making. He painted tiny model soldiers, and then graduated to building and flying model airplanes.

    The "no summer school" policy worked until high school when they wanted to spend the extra weeks with their friends in school programs.  We compromised. I insisted that they learn something different, something new, something fun. The first summer they learned to grill a steak. Extremely useful! Next, they became adept at omelets. With dinner and breakfast mastered, they have gone on to be pretty useful in the kitchen.

    Summer was always my time to learn something new, as well. As a high school English teacher, I usually needed to read several novels and develop new curriculum materials. It was a great  excuse to visit New England when I taught Early American Lit. But, summer wasn't always about school.

    I used the break to learn One New Thing Each Summer --

    • create tables, outlines, and Tables of Contents in Microsoft Word (useful)
    • basic photo editing in Photoshop Elements (fun)
    • how to can tomatoes (hot, but rewarding!)
    • how to make a reproduction civil war quilt
    • how to scan my grandmother's letters

    If it looks like each of these "skills" is a project, you'd be right. It seems like there is always some new project waiting for just the time, focus, or extra bit of knowledge needed to make it happen. I was a frustrated daily MS Word user until I bought a guide and worked through enough exercises to learn what I needed to know. Ditto, photo editing with PS Elements.

    Of course, some new skills just happen -- the tomato explosion that led to learning how to preserve salsa, tomatoes, and blended tomato sauce. I even won a few blue ribbons at the county fair for those projects!

    The last several years I've been working on organizing, sorting, and digitizing different family collections and learned -- 

    • the best scanning resolution for my papers and photos
    • how to put together a DIY copy stand
    • easy file naming and folder organization for my new digital images
    • how to file the original papers so I can find them again

    But, my own genealogy research has been set aside long enough. This summer, I have already decided on on One New Thing to Learn This Summer, (plus One Other New Thing just for fun).

    I have a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof in hand; I am enrolled in Dr. Tom Jones course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh; and I am ready to become immersed in the Genealogical Proof Standard.

    All of this is probably enough for one summer learning experience, but I can't resist adding one more thing I really really want to learn this summer -- I am determined to master my step-mother's southern fried chicken. Hot, crispy, juicy. I don't think anyone will complain.

    So, what One New Thing are YOU Learning This Summer?

    Sunday
    Jun162013

    Fieldstone Common Interviews The Family Curator: BlogTalkRadio Staff Pick

    Listen anytime to the latest episode of Fieldstone Common Blog Talk Radio where Marian Pierre-Louis and I talk about the "backstory" to my book How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Although Marian and I have never met in person, we share a common passion for old houses and family treasures.

    I had a great time as the guest on Fieldstone Common and enjoyed answering listener questions on preserving keepsakes. If you have questions or comments after listening to the program, please feel free to leave a comment to this post for my response.

    The 60-minute program is now available for listening via web or iTunes podcast at the Fieldstone Common website, and was named a Staff Pick for this weekend.

     

     

    Friday
    Jun142013

    YOU Helped! Michael Savoca Receives 2013 Suzanne Freeman Student Genealogy Grant at SCGS 2013 Jamboree

    Michael Savoca, a college student from Toms River, New Jersey was awarded the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant Award at the Scholarship Breakfast on 9 June 2013 at the annual Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California.

    Funding for this year's grant was partially assisted by the proceeds from sales of Denise Levenick's new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Blog Book Tour in January 2013. Thank you!

    Savoca Levenick

    Denise May Levenick with Michael Savoca,
    recipient of the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant

    The Freeman Student Grant was established by family and friends in 2010 in memory of Suzanne Winsor Freeman, family historian and life-long volunteer, and an enthusiastic annual attendee at the SCGS Jamboree. Each year, Jamboree has included a complimentary full-registration package for the recipient.

    Denise Levenick, Grant Chair, and Paula Hinkel, Jamboree Co-Chair introduced Michael to the breakfast attendees where he received a warm and enthusiastic welcome to the conference. Mike's father, Vinny Savoca, traveled with him to the conference and they were able to reconnect with California cousins while in Burbank.

    Mike has been researching his family history for over a decade, and participating in online genealogy forums and message boards for nearly as many years. His expertise in Italian and Croatian research have made him a popular volunteer online and at his local Family History Center. He has been able to travel with family to their ancestral village in Croatia and complete research in original records provided by the parish. He has also worked extensively with Italian records and assisted with the records of the Gente di Mare genealogy website. 

    "Mike is a wonderful representative for genealogists of his generation," noted Denise Levenick. "He brings enthusiasm, expertise, and a willingness to 'give back' to the genealogy community. It's obvious that Mike has a great future in genealogy, and we are delighted to encourage his research and genealogical education with this award."

    In addition to researching his Italian, Croatian, Irish, German, and Hungarian roots, Michael is interested in learning more about using DNA for genealogical research and about professional archival management. He is a history major at Kean University and would like to become a Certified Genealogist.

    You can contribute to the 2014 Grant Fund by donating HERE

     

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