[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, provides his list of family history-related resolutions for 2013.]
Have you ever actually looked at those New Year’s resolutions you made last year or the year before—especially those related to your family history projects? I don’t recommend it unless you can be completely honest with yourself and are willing to take inventory and come up with a new list for the new year.
Many of us love the idea of New Year’s resolutions and we put lots of work into developing them and announcing them. Sticking with them…well, that’s another issue! As a former project manager who spent much of his corporate life in the world of projects, tasks and deadlines, I’m a big fan of resolutions, especially when it comes to my own family history projects.
Make No Small Plans – Your Ancestors Didn’t!
This concept of “thinking big” in terms of my own family history research and projects has become my mantra for 2013. Last year, the keyword was “abundance” and that focus really paid off for me.
Above is an advertisement placed by my 3rd great-grandfather Ira Austin, Jr. in the Lowville Journal-Republican in the 1870s. He started his own business producing saddles and other equipment for the townsfolk of Lowville and others in Lewis County, New York. Ira Austin made plans, set goals and established tasks to make sure that his business was successful and that he could provide for his family.
Remember that many of our ancestors who arrived here in America had to make their own plans. These plans including leaving their homeland, selling everything they had and leaving loved ones behind—not just to follow their dreams and to be successful. Did your ancestors just wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll hop in a boat, spend several weeks in harsh conditions, practically die, and see what this ‘America’ thing is all about. Sounds like fun and, besides, I’m not doing anything else.”
No they did not, at least mine didn’t! My ancestors made grand plans, and even if they were not ultimately successful in all their endeavors, they arrived here in America and served as an inspiration for their descendants.
Small Tasks Make for Big Plans
Yes big plans matter, but you know how big plans come about? Through small steps and tasks. Think small, string the small stuff together and boom—you’ve got a plan or a project. Need a jump start on which projects to undertake and where you should focus your efforts and attention? Here are some ideas:
- Organize: Your ancestors knew that any journey started by getting organized. The start of a new year is a great time to organize family history-related documents, photos and other research items. But remember that once organized, you have to stay organized in order to be successful and find what you need. Create a “tidy up” schedule and resolve to periodically perform a quick review of where your stuff is stored.
- Preserve: Preserving their own memories and family history was important to your ancestors. Set up projects to scan photos, maps, documents, vital records, even medals and other family mementos. Don’t put these tasks off! Remember that many items deteriorate and decay over time and if you don’t focus on preservation now, you may not have anything to preserve next year!
- Learn: Education was the key to success for your ancestors, especially in a society based on a person’s background, wealth and connections. And who doesn’t like to learn new things? With genealogy and family history there is an abundance of free or low-cost educational opportunities including webinars, conferences and more. Even reading genealogy and family history blogs is a form of education and one you can do from your home computer or on a smartphone or tablet.
- Network: Your ancestors had a network already in place when they arrived in a new location or they quickly found the need to build one in order to survive. You can build your own network—online or in-person—and connect with others who enjoy family history and have similar projects, tasks and goals. Join a local or national genealogy society and get involved with volunteer opportunities. Or hop on social networking and looks for others on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
- Enjoy: Finally, believe it or not, your ancestors knew how to enjoy life. I know that can be hard to believe when you look at the stern faces in some of those old photos. But they realized that hard work deserved a reward. Take a day off, treat yourself to “me time” (and something not family history related), and step away from your projects and tasks. You’ll find that you have a new perspective when you return and you bring new vision to being successful with your family history.
Success Formula: Periodic Check-Ins
Finally, once you’ve committed to one or more family history projects in 2013, besides having to complete the necessary tasks, your success depends on one important constant: checking in periodically on the status of your tasks and your project.
An easy way to accomplish this is to set aside one or two hours each month, on a regularly scheduled day of the month (the first Sunday, the 15th day, etc.) and review your work honestly. Just like hopping on a scale, you are only cheating yourself if you aren’t open and honest about your progress (or lack thereof!)
Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t finished as much work on a task as you’d like. Simply commit yourself to working on the task the next month. Remember that this is your family history and these are your projects. You set the rules, you set the commitment level. No one else.
As long as you are reviewing your progress periodically, you should be able to finish the important stuff by the end of the year. And what if you don’t? Well, you’ll need something for your 2014 resolutions, right?
[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador Thomas MacEntee gets ready for a Christmas visit with family members and shares his preparations to collect family history information.]
With Christmas fast approaching, I’m looking forward to spending time with family and talking about our relatives who have passed on. We’ll share stories, trade cherished recipes, and the best part: show off photos in albums and scrapbooks.
Do you have plans to take advantage of this exchange of information? Are you ready to be a collector – an active participant – rather than a witness?
Holidays and Family History: A Perfect Match
I’m not sure about you, but when my family gets together for any holiday, it serves as not only an instant “family reunion,” but it is my cue as the family historian to get busy. This means asking the questions about “who, what, and where” in reference to my ancestors.
And the process never feels forced nor have I ever had anyone say, “Oh here we go with the genealogy questions again!” I let the conversations flow naturally and go where they need to go. But my role is to try and guide it towards certain areas that others will find interesting.
The key word here is “seamlessly” and that is how it all works. Sort of like scanning a large photo in sections with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and “stitching” it together in a snap!
Bring Collecting Tools With You
I am never without my “kit” as family members call it:
- Blank family group sheets to be filled out either in paper format or a link to an online version I keep stored in Google Docs.
- My business card with my contact information. Someone will often remember facets of a story or details about a person when they return home so they need a way to contact me. Create a “family history” card listing your blog and website if you have one and on the reverse list the surnames you are researching.
- A copy of the family history that I’ve self-published. It can be a photo book, or even just a print out of a PDF document for my family to look at. You never know what’s going to serve as the spark of inspiration for the new genealogist in the family!
- Access to my research database at Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, WikiTree or any of the other services at my disposal. I use a Smartphone app if it is available or I have software such as Legacy Family Tree installed on my laptop which also travels with me.
- A scanner – the Flip-Pal mobile scanner – of course! The biggest benefit is the ability to scan photos at a family member’s house without having to remove them from the house or even the photo album!
One other tip: If you are currently a Flip-Pal affiliate, make sure you have either a flyer or a card with your affiliate link available. In many encounters with friends and family, someone will see me using the Flip-Pal and want to purchase their own or purchase one for someone else. Make it easy for them to order through your affiliate link!
Family Reunions Can Be Virtual Too!
What if you aren’t able to be with all your family members this holiday season? Don’t forget that reunions can now take place virtually and “on-line” with tools such as Facebook and Skype. See last week’s post A Virtual Family Photo Reunion Using Social Media here at the Flip-Pal genealogy blog to learn how you can connect with cousins and share information.
The photo of my great-grandmother, Frances Pressner at the top of this article is an example of what my cousins recently shared with me through one such reunion. I’m so fortunate that my family can take advantage of technology and bridge the miles between us as we all focus on our family history.
And If You Don’t Get a Flip-Pal for Christmas . . .
Hopefully you already have a Flip-Pal mobile scanner that you use for collecting family history-related photos and documents. Or perhaps you’ve asked for a Flip-Pal as a gift for Christmas?
If you don’t find a Flip-Pal mobile scanner under the tree this year, remember there’s a great After Christmas Sale coming up at the Flip-Pal website starting December 26th!
[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador Thomas MacEntee shares his recent experience posting family photos on Facebook and the reaction from cousins he’s never even met.]
Recently, I was searching for additional photos of my great-grandparents, Richard Henneberg (1888-1941) and Frances Pressner (1889-1960). After a thorough search of my own images, I knew what I had to do: reach out to my cousins and ask if they had anything they could scan and send to me via email or post on Facebook.
Now it might seem odd that I didn’t just wait until the next time I saw these cousins, but I have a confession: I have many cousins that I’ve never met in person. We have built a great relationship via social media, namely Facebook, and all because of a few family photos that were scanned and shared online.
What a Photo Can Do
The photo above was taken about 1931 and shows all seven sons of Elmer A. MacEntee, another great-grandfather, in birth order. John W. MacEntee (1901-1984), Harold MacEntee (1906-1979), Myron MacEntee (1907-1981), George MacEntee (1909-1965), William E. MacEntee (1925-1987), Elmer J. MacEntee (1911-1971) and Abraham MacEntee (1913-1977), who was my grandfather. I’ve never seen the original nor have I held it in my hand, but it was sent to me by a MacEntee cousin who I was able to find on Facebook several years ago. Again, we’ve never met face to face…yet.
While I could have simply printed out the photo or saved it with my other genealogy research, I took the extra step of posting it in a virtual family photo album. Why? Not only did I think that there would be other cousins who had never seen the picture, but I also believed that the image could serve as “cousin bait,” as well as start a conversation about those ancestors.
So I created a simple album entitled “Ancestors” and periodically I would upload an image or two. Lucky for me, I have cousins who are social media savvy and “connected,” which meant within minutes I was receiving feedback and questions in abundance. These included “Who’s in the photo?” and “Where was this taken?” and “How are these people related to me?” as well as others.
Being the keeper of the family history means I not only try to answer these questions, but I also benefit from the comments made by other family members. The information provided not only helps to clarify the “who, what, where and when” aspects of the photo, but eventually the family stories also come out—and they just don’t trickle out…we’re talking a downright flood.
Family Is The Story
Here’s an example, with a photo of Georgiana Simpson (1862-1938) and Jacob DeGroodt (1860-1933), my 2nd great grandparents. I received the photo, again from another cousin, and I did a quick upload to a Facebook album.
Just look at some of the comments in the sidebar. I still get choked up when I see “So these are my great grandparents…” or “First time I have ever seen my great grandparents.” Imagine if I had just left the image file on my computer and didn’t make the effort to share it with others.
For other photos, some comments tell long stories about these ancestors and their lives. To think that this information would never have been shared had it not been for the simple act of posting a photo.
Scan, Share, Inspire and Repeat
If you are sitting on a collection of family photos—whether they are in a box, the original envelope from the drug store or Fotomat (remember those?) or in an old scrapbook—you are sitting on a gold mine of family connectivity and storytelling.
Each image bound by its gummed black corners on that stiff scrapbook page is just waiting to spark a conversation or a connection if you’re willing to help it escape and let it “speak.” Scan a photo with the Flip-Pal® mobile scanner, save the image to your computer and then select the sharing option that best suits you and your family. It could be a Facebook posting or a photo album. It could be on Twitter or even Pinterest.
Whatever you do, don’t just let those digital images sit there on your computer! You’ll never know the full potential of a family photo until you share it with others. And you might be surprised by what you find out about the picture, the people, your family and even better, yourself.
Recently Flip-Pal Cares sprang into action in Union Beach, NJ to help recover family photos that had washed up on the beaches after Hurricane Sandy. Here is a report of last weekend’s efforts from Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, Inc., makers of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner:
Two different events were held in the Union Beach area this past weekend where people could either volunteer to scan and organize photos that had been recovered from local beaches or they could come in and claim their found photos. Once the photos had been cleaned and prepped, we had several groups of volunteers each day that scanned images with Flip-Pal mobile scanners.
Here is a video of me sorting through photos and getting them ready for the scanning process:
Why Photos Matter In the Midst of Disaster
It might seem odd that while surrounded by disaster relief services, which were helping to restore and rebuild residences and provide vital life services, that there would be a focus on recovering lost family photos. Mary Danielsen, one of the organizers of Restoring Union Beach Memories, summed it up this way:
“The residents of Union Beach, New Jersey are still in shock one month after Hurricane Sandy devastated their little bay-shore town. They want their normal life back, but they’ve been forced to accept the reality that their entire life is about to change. The Union Beach photo recovery project may not seem like a priority when the health, safety and infrastructure of an entire community have been decimated. However, when residents take a breath and look around at what remains of their homes and cars, the first thing they say is 'I wish I had my photos.'
As I have said before, our photos are our memory keepers. They act as placeholders in time and enrich our family histories with stories to be passed down to the next generation. Without them, details are easy to forget.”
Once scanned, the photos were bagged and organized in bins so that people could claim them. In addition, we wanted to make sure that people knew about the free photo restoration services being provided by various volunteers—both locally and on social media sites such as Facebook.
We discovered that organization is very important during the entire process—from discovering the photos, to cleaning and scanning them and then making sure that both the digital images and the actual photos could be easily found. You can’t imagine the joy people express when they get their photos back.
On Saturday the group scanned nearly 1,150 photos and processed many more which were too deteriorated to scan. On Sunday we scanned 1,240 photos and cleaned another 500 that are now waiting to be scanned.
Scout’s Honor: Be Prepared
We had many different volunteers assisting us with the recovery of these photos and reuniting them with families. We were very grateful for their hard work, especially the Boy Scouts who helped clean and scan photos. With the motto “Be Prepared” in mind, I could not help but think of a few ways that all of us can be prepared for any type of disaster that could cause family photos and other important items to disappear in an instant.
- Scan Your Photos NOW. Many of the residents who thought their possessions—including photos and documents—would be safe, were surprised at what was washed away. Put together a plan to scan and digitize all your precious photos and other documents (family history as well as legal documents) and get started on securing these items right away.
- Get Organized. Whether you are preparing to secure your photos now, or working to recover them after a disaster, make sure you have a method of storing your digital files. This could be using folders or creating a special file naming convention. Your goal should be to quickly find the item you need.
- Perform Multiple Backups. It makes no sense to store your files on a USB flash drive if you then store it next to your computer or with other items that could be lost or damaged in a disaster. Secure your backup files in another location, such as a fire-proof safe, a safety deposit box or with another family member.
- Take Advantage of the Cloud. An even easier method of storing your digitized files is to use cloud storage programs such as Dropbox or SugarSync. You’ll always have access to them as long as you have a computer or a mobile device and an Internet connection.
Mary Danielsen and Jeanette Van Houten plan to continue their photo recovery and restoration efforts over the next few months. They have access to Flip-Pal mobile scanners and other supplies to make sure that these photos are digitized as soon as possible and then organized so that they can be reunited with their owners.
Don’t forget that if you are in the area, you can volunteer your services. Visit the Union Beach Photos and Misplaced Items group on Facebook and ask about the next recovery event. Even if you do not live in the Union Beach are, you can still show your support by donating funds to help purchase supplies for Restoring Union Beach Memories via gofundme at http://www.gofundme.com/1k3w9c.
As the recovery progresses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents of Union Beach and the surrounding towns are working with first responders to provide the essentials of daily life including shelter, food and health care. In the midst of their own personal losses during this time, two amazing women are also on a mission to help others recover and preserve their family photos.
Family Photos: Memories Matter
During difficult times we look to our families for support, to the familiar for comfort and to our own memories of better times to get us through. But what if your memories, in the form of family photos, are missing along with all of your other worldly possessions?
Precious family photos, even entire wedding albums, scrapbooks and more, started washing up on the New Jersey shore almost immediately after Sandy had passed. While many pictures are damaged beyond repair due to the effects of sea water and the elements, a short window exists to capture a digital version of these images and preserve them before they are lost forever.
Mary Danielsen and Jeannette Van Houten have been working hard via the media, social networking and any available channel to not only scan and post these found images, but to also solicit help from the local community. With so many losses on the local level and a shortage of resources, Mary and Jeannette are now reaching out to the greater community for assistance.
Photo Scanning Drive: December 1-2, 2012 in Union Beach, New Jersey
Volunteers and members of the Flip-Pal Cares rescue response team and Boy Scout troops from nearby Monmouth County will be using donated Flip-Pal mobile scanners to digitally scan thousands of photos, wedding albums and scrapbooks collected from the shoreline, wetlands and other piles of debris. All scanned photographs will be posted on Facebook for their owners to claim. Residents who have found additional photos can bring them to the event or drop them off at the Union Beach Municipal Building.
“People have suffered a tremendous amount of loss due to Hurricane Sandy and if providing our scanners and supporting the photo recovery project helps people to get their photos back, then we are grateful to be helping in some small way,” commented Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, makers of Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
How You Can Help
Members of the public are invited to volunteer for the Union Beach Photo Scanning Drive this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. This Saturday the scanning drive will be from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Sports Authority, located at 3434 Highway 35 in Hazlet, NJ. On Sunday the scanning drive will be from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Home Depot, located at 3700 Highway 35 in Hazlet, NJ.
Those wishing to make a monetary donation to help defray supply costs can go to Restoring Union Beach Memories at http://www.gofundme.com/1k3w9c. This is a fundraising site set up by local Union Beach Photo Scanning coordinators, Jeanette Van Houten and personal historian Mary Danielsen.
“My name is Jeannette Van Houten. I have been a resident of Union Beach, NJ for the past 42 years. On October 29, 2012 Sandy the Superstorm devastated my small town. When we woke on October 30, 2012 our lives had changed forever. Many families lost their homes and possessions. I made it my mission to give my friends and family something extremely special to each and every one, I want to return their photos that have been found. I have been cleaning, drying and scanning the photos that I have found and I am now moving on to the photos that others turned in. I would like to do 3 things: 1) purchase battery operated scanners so I can have multiple people scanning photos at the same time; 2) purchase external storage to back up the scans so professional restorers can work on the damaged photos; and 3) purchase gift cards so families can reprint some of the precious photos.”
Stay Updated On The Recovery Effort
- Check back next week when we’ll have a report on Gordon’s visit to Union Beach and the efforts to help scan and preserve the precious family photos that have been recovered so far.
Also, you can read more about Jeannette and Mary’s efforts and the photos that are washing up on beaches in New Jersey each and every day:
[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador Thomas MacEntee shares his family’s own story of a World War II era veteran and a condolence certificate signed by President Harry Truman.]
Several years ago, I came upon a variety of family photos and documents when cleaning out my mother's house in New York. Many of these items belonged to my great-grandmother, Therese McGinnes, who passed away in 1988 and some to my great aunt, Ethel McCrickert, who passed in 2002. Among the items was a Certificate of Condolence signed by President Harry S. Truman.
For me, this item has always been a mystery and I knew it held an interesting story related to my family. But with my older relatives now gone, I had no one to ask about the item and its importance. My search was on…"
The certificate reads:
In grateful memory of Corporal Matthew T. McCrickert who died in the service of his country in the American Area, June 11, 1946. He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives—in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.
President of the United States of America
My first point of research was to determine “what I had” in terms of this item. What I’ve determined is that this document, measuring about 14 x 11,” was sent to the family of a United States military service member killed in action during World War II. The document was signed by President Truman and as far as I can tell, the signature is authentic and not from an auto pen. Although Truman was the first President to regularly use an autopen (which is an automated way of signing thousands of documents), such use was restricted to basic correspondence, not something as important as a condolence certificate.
Scanning the Condolence Card
Before I started my research I wanted to scan the condolence card, so I had a digital image to work with and I wouldn’t damage the original. I used my Flip-Pal mobile scanner and removed the top to scan the document in sections.
After scanning 15 different sections, I was ready to open the Toolbox folder and use the Flip-Pal EasyStitch™ program to stitch all sections together into one image. The entire process took about 10 minutes from start to finish.
The Search for U.S. Army Veteran Matthew McCrickert
In my search I also found a funeral card for Matthew McCrickert in the same box of possessions. It had basic birth and death information as well as a photo of a young man whose life held such promise but ended at a very early age.
My mother cared for Ethel McCrickert Macari Hannan for several years towards the end of her life and Matthew was her only brother, but she never talked much about him. My goal was to learn more about Matt and how he actually died and what the loss meant to his immediate family.
I explored all possible avenues based on the information I had:
1. A death date
2. Bits and pieces of a family story about a plane crash
However, I lacked important information, including where the crash took place.
News Stories: A Fatal Plane Crash in Freehold, New Jersey
My first research step was to search for "Matthew McCrickert" with the year 1946, the year he died. No results. Next, I moved on to a date range of June 1-15, 1946 and added terms such as plane crash.
A glance at a newspaper from upstate New York—the Kingston Daily Freeman—revealed the date and location of a crash in Freehold, New Jersey involving a military plane. While Matt was not listed as a victim of the crash, the story in the newspaper fit with what I had been told by family members.
Further research located another newspaper article, this time in the Middletown Times Herald. This article held an important clue: bad weather along the Eastern Seaboard due to a series of violent storms.
A Precious Document and A More Complete Story
While I don’t yet have all the pieces to this family mystery, my motivation to learn more about my cousin Matt motivated me to preserve the condolence card, which holds great value to my family.
Over time, as I find more information, I can use the images created using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and my research to fully tell the story of Corporal Matthew T. McCrickert and his service to his country.
Flip-Pal Veterans Day Sale through November 15, 2012
Don’t forget that you can get started on preserving your family’s military stories and memories with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and accessories during our Veterans Day / Remembrance Day Sale. Click here to learn more.
[Editor’s note: Wondering what to do with all those scanned family photos? Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador Thomas MacEntee shares his ideas to help spark your creativity this holiday season.]
I know what you’re saying…“It’s too early for Christmas!” or “I can’t believe the holidays are here already!” I often feel the same way around the end of October and I tend to get cranky when I see television commercials advertising the holiday gift-buying season or hear Christmas songs on the radio.
During the holiday season I also feel pressure to not only find unique gifts for family members, but to also share family photos and my genealogy research. So I’ve found a few solutions that take some of the pressure off and help me enjoy the season with my family and friends.
Holidays Are Closer Than They Appear!
Before getting busy with the “crafty” or creative part of the solutions, I have to scan those photos sitting in the boxes and albums. I can’t put it off, otherwise I won’t have the digital images I need to create great gifts. I’m also scanning at the highest possible resolution on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner—600dpi. This ensures that the images in my gifts will be clear and really stand out on the items I’ll be creating.
Over the past few nights I’ve been busy using my Flip-Pal mobile scanner to digitize my old family photos while I have watching television in my living room. I have been able to scan about 50 or so photos each night to create a library of content that I can then turn into a variety of gifts.
Don’t delay! The process of going from scanned photo to great gift will take at least a week before you can even receive the item you create—and that’s if you work at lightning speed. Most people will need more time, so scan those photos now!
A Variety of Gift Possibilities
Once you have your photos digitized, what can you create to give to family and friends for Christmas, Hanukah and other holidays (any time of the year, actually)? Here’s a list:
- 2013 Calendars: Create desktop or wall calendars with a different family photo for each month. Use your genealogy research to write a brief description about the people or places depicted in the photographs. Also, don’t forget to include those birthdates and anniversaries on each day!
- Christmas Tree Ornaments: What’s nice about photo ornaments is that they are brought out each year and bring back memories. As you can see from the photo above, I’ve scanned my family photos, mounted them on cardstock, and then, using a glue gun, I’ve decorated them with preserved cedar and dried rosebuds for a Victorian look.
- Wearables and Other Gifts: Online stores such as Café Press and Zazzle let you upload photos to create t-shirts, sweatshirts and more. Don’t forget that you can also create mouse pads, tote bags, buttons and even iPhone cases using those same photos. A nice aspect of using these online stores is that once the holidays are over, family members can go and order the items they want at any time!
- Printable Fabric: Local fabric and hobby stores carry cotton fabric that you can print with your ink jet printer, just like paper. It is colorfast and can make great wall hangings, throw pillows, or even a heritage quilt.
- Photobooks: The self-publishing concept has become so much easier by using sites like Lulu, My Canvas, Blurb and even superstore sites like Costco and Walmart. Upload your photos, select a template, a paper type and a binding format and you’re on your way to creating a memorable book.
These ideas are just the beginning of endless possibilities for gifts using your photos scanned with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
FREE Webinar: 10 Ideas for Great Gifts Using Your Family Photos*
Need more inspiration? On Friday, November 16, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time ⁄ 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, you can attend a live online presentation entitled 10 Ideas for Great Gifts Using Your Family Photos presented by Flip-Pal and Legacy Family Tree.
I’ll be co-hosting this 90-minute presentation along with Diane Miller, Technical Marketing and Genealogy Account Manager for Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Here is what the webinar will cover:
Once a precious family photo is scanned using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, you can do more than just send the image to friends and family or add it to your family tree. We will quickly cover how to scan an original and then print the scanned image for use in gift projects. A few of the ideas we will share using these prints include ornaments, sweat shirts, quilts, wall hangings and holiday decorations. This seminar will be packed with ideas and step-by-step instructions from these two creative individuals. We’ll also discuss how you can use various sites such as Zazzle, Café Press and even superstore sites such as Costco, Walmart and Walgreens to create calendars and photo books as gifts.
*You can see a recording of this webinar by clicking here.
You can learn more about Legacy Family Tree webinars by downloading their latest flyer here.
Are you using social networking—Facebook, Twitter, maybe even Pinterest—to connect with other genealogists and family historians? Many genealogists know that social networking is all the rage in the genealogy world right now and extol its abilities to not only connect and collaborate with others, but also to dangle the “cousin bait” to find new distant relations.
Social networking has always been a part of the genealogy community, it just hasn’t always happened online and from the comfort of one’s home or office. Genealogy societies and organizations are where family history passionistas meet and are the original social network for genealogists.
A Meeting of the Genealogy Minds
Genealogy societies have been around for decades, even centuries (the New England Historic Genealogical Society was founded in 1845!). Many of the current societies actually got their start back in the late 1970s and early 1980s due to the popularity of the television mini-series Roots.
So how does the “networking” part of genealogy societies work? One way is by attending meetings which are typically scheduled on a monthly basis. These events often include a speaker presenting a topic related to genealogy. Meetings are a great chance to meet other genealogists and to share ideas on research strategies and new found resources.
Another networking method is attending conferences and workshops, many sponsored by genealogy societies. These events can range from a one day workshop or lecture with a nationally-known genealogy speaker, to a multi-day conference complete with classes and an exhibit hall filled with vendors. Building the public’s interest in family history and providing education and tools to research one’s ancestors is a basic mission of many societies. Genealogy societies have been the best provider of conferences and educational events mainly due to the hard work of many volunteers.
For more information on genealogy societies and how to find one near you, visit the Federation of Genealogical Societies website at http://www.fgs.org.
Societies Embrace Online Networking Too!
Individual genealogists are not the only ones using online social networking tools these days. Genealogy societies have realized that embracing these new technologies not only can attract new members, but also help get the word out about various society activities and publications. Most societies have a Facebook page listing meeting dates and times, links to society resources and advice on how to research specific geographic locations and ethnicities. In addition, you’ll often find the latest news about a society if you click the Like button on their Facebook page.
Free Content for Genealogy Society Publications
Flip-Pal mobile scanner recognizes that resources at many genealogy societies are stretched thin. It can be difficult to create the necessary content for use in society publications that can attract the attention of both current and prospective members.
One way that Flip-Pal can help: providing free articles for use in genealogy society newsletters and other publications. There are no real restrictions involved; Flip-Pal simply wants to get the word out about some of the current and important topics involving the genealogy community. Society leaders and publication editors are encouraged to use the information as they see fit—in a society’s newsletter, quarterly/journal or even on a website or blog.
The latest free article is entitled The Why of Genealogy, which contains ideas on what motivates genealogists in their search for ancestors and how that passion is created and sustained. Click here for more information on how to download and use this article.
Sign Up To Receive Future Articles
We have more great articles about genealogy and family history in the pipeline and will be sharing them with genealogy societies. Sign up here to receive periodic e-newsletters from Flip-Pal specifically geared towards genealogy societies and organizations. If you are a member of a genealogy society, please pass this information on to your society’s leaders or publications editor!
[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, shares a personal story of loss involving his family’s legacy due to fire and how you can act now to preserve your own family history.]
This week is National Fire Prevention Week in the United States and October 9 was also the anniversary of The Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Each year at this time my thoughts turn to fire, genealogy and the loss of family history. For me, all these elements are wrapped up in a personal story involving my great-grandparents, John Ralph Austin and Therese Rose McGinnes.
As I’ve written many times in articles and on my personal genealogy blog, the home of my great-grandparents was located in the tiny, tiny town of Grahamsville, New York. The original structure dates back to the 1840s and with years of additions and changes, the house I remember had four large bedrooms on the second floor and some of the original beams and plank doors.
My great-grandparents purchased the house and the surrounding 30+ acres of farmland in 1945 and moved up from Manhattan soon thereafter. In the summer, my mother and her 11 siblings lived and played in this refuge from their life in The City. My grandfather took a job at the Rondout Reservoir which supplied water to New York City.
From the stories that have been handed down to me, life was simple, money was short but the memories created were priceless.
I remember the day as if it happened just last week. It was 1979 and my great-grandfather had passed two years earlier. Grandma, as we called her, would spend the winters either with her niece in Florida or her son in California and close up the house during that time. She’d come back to upstate New York in April and stay with my family for a few weeks, during which time the Grahamsville house was re-opened, aired out and any necessary repairs and work was done.
The phone rang one afternoon shortly after I came home from school (it was my junior year of high school in case you are trying to do the math…). One of the neighbors asked if I knew where my great-grandmother was and continued with a series of odd questions. Finally, I asked what was going on and the woman told me, “The house is on fire.”
At that point I knew enough to move from the kitchen, where Grandma could hear, and take the call into one of the bedrooms. Grandma was not in the best health at this point and was prone to anxiety in stressful situations. This was one of those situations.
Over the next few hours the phone rang off the hook and I did my best to field the calls and to give the appearance that nothing was wrong. I made sure the first responders knew the house was unoccupied, that Grandma was safe with me, etc. I also tried to get a sense of the extent of the damage.
Mom arrived home around 7:00 p.m., instead of her usual 5:30 p.m., and was with her father, which was unusual since they didn’t get along very well. So I knew it was bad and if I didn’t know it by the looks on their faces, then I could tell by the smell of smoke on their clothes. They tried to save whatever possessions that they could, but the house was a total loss.
I still remember the screams from Grandma as they broke the news to her. The house was more than just a structure—it was a place where generations were raised, where childhoods were enjoyed and experienced and where memories were made. It was a home.
So many things were lost that day including irreplaceable family mementos and artifacts as well as documents, photographs and more. Luckily, only months earlier, Grandma had stored two large suitcases filled with documents and photos at our house before her winter trip. Providence was with us and we were relatively lucky. This time.
Will Luck Be On Your Side?
The fire was over 30 years ago—before the time of personal computers and the ability to scan, digitize and preserve photos and other items so important to a family’s history and legacy. With today’s technology and tools such as the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, we have the ability to preserve these items, but only if we take action. Photos don’t scan themselves. Documents don’t get digitized automatically.
Why take a chance with your own family’s legacy? Put together an action plan today and make sure your family history doesn’t go up in smoke.
Photo: The Austin residence on Low Road, Grahamsville, New York, circa 1976. Digital image, property of Thomas MacEntee.
Medical Genealogy: Breast Cancer and Family History
[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, discusses the importance of knowing your family’s medical history during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.]
What Do You Know About Your Family’s Medical History?
One of the aspects of doing genealogy is that as researchers we are privy to a wide variety of information. This includes information on the health and wellness of our ancestors gathered through a variety of records including death certificates, family stories, obituaries and even draft registration cards.
When you discover that one of your ancestors or a relative was diagnosed with a certain disease or condition, does it make you pause and think about whether or not “it runs in the family?” Most of us do and this not only keeps us in that “curiosity” mode as researchers, but it could also save lives.
Is It Better to Know or Not Know?
Some of the information you find may include a story about a person in your family tree and how they suffered from a medical condition. You may also be able to see a hereditary condition as you progress with your research. And many of us will also find stories of how our ancestors overcame a disease or ailment and were listed in the “survivor” column.
My own family has been relatively lucky in the medical history area, except for a recent generational diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, with one type appearing to be hereditary. Whether it is Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease or breast cancer, the key to surviving is knowing more about the disease and getting an early diagnosis. The more you know, and the more you know about your family’s track record with certain diseases, the better you will be able to make an informed decision about detection methods and possible treatments.
Take Action During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Besides being National Family History Month, October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a time when we’re encouraged to not only get screened for breast cancer, but also talk about how breast cancer may have affected our families. As part of this effort, Couragent, Inc.—maker of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner—is proud to be a sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and its efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer as well as early diagnosis and treatment.
Here are ways that you can not only help your own family discuss its medical history, but also support the National Breast Cancer Foundation and its work:
- Review your family’s medical history in your own genealogy research. Look for patterns, common illnesses and diseases through various records.
- Make sure you include notes about specific diseases and afflictions in your genealogy database software. Then use the searching and reporting functions to find all those ancestors and relatives with a common illness.
- Share your findings with your family members in person or via social media (remember to keep an eye on your privacy settings on social media when discussing health issues about living relatives!).
- Start conversations with family members and friends about your family medical history. Get people to think about their own health issues and if a family pattern emerges, urge them to consider a visit to their doctor or neighborhood clinic.
You may actually save someone’s life just by discussing your own family’s medical history!
Purchase the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Pink Bundle and Support the National Breast Cancer Foundation
This month, as part of its role as an official sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Flip-Pal is offering a special “pink” bundle to support breast cancer awareness. This bundle includes the following:
- The Flip-Pal mobile scanner This comes with everything you need to scan right out of the box. It can be used anywhere by anyone who wants to conveniently and reliably scan photos, images in books and magazines, and works of art—so that they can be stored digitally and then shared with family and friends. The patented flip-and-scan technology allows you to scan larger originals and photos safely, while they are still in a photo album or picture frame.
- A Pink Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket This case protects your Flip-Pal mobile scanner and has an outer pocket for your batteries, charger and spare SD cards. This sleek case keeps you organized while you are on the move. The case has a flat front, 5.5 in deep, streamlined outside pocket; foam protective cushioning; removable and adjustable shoulder strap and is made of a durable lamination of polyester to a PVC backing with heavy-duty nylon zippers.
- A Pink Flip-Pal mobile scanner lid cover This is our first Flip-Pal mobile scanner lid cover which is designed to show our support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation with the pink ribbon. By applying the lid cover, you too are supporting this worthwhile cause. The lid cover is a vinyl sticker that is placed on the lid of your Flip-Pal mobile scanner to keep it from being scratched. The lid covers are custom made for your Flip-Pal mobile scanner of premium vinyl and are finished with a protective laminate top coat. They are backed with an advanced 3M adhesive designed to be removable—without leaving any sticky stuff behind. Easy to apply, they go on like a normal sticker, but because they are removable you can slowly remove your Flip-Pal mobile scanner lid cover and start again if you make a mistake. Stand out in the crowd with your personalized Flip-Pal mobile scanner!
You can learn more about Flip-Pal’s sponsorship of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and shop to support breast cancer awareness at http://flip-pal.com/breast-cancer-awareness/.
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Follow Flip-Pal’s sponsorship efforts over at Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/flippal/because-we-care/) and on the Flip-Pal Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FlipPal) and stay tuned for more news about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.