Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador Thomas MacEntee will present a free webinar, Pinning Your Family History, so you can learn how to share your family photos and stories on sites like Pinterest and What Was There. Click here to register for this free webinar on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. Central Time (8:30 p.m. Eastern Time).
The “Pinning” Craze and Family History
So what is “pinning” and how does it work? For about the past year, Pinterest and other sites have come up with ways for their users to create online bulletin boards complete with posting of items you like or things you find on the Internet. There are boards for all types of professionals and hobbyists including scrapbookers, knitters, shoppers, cemetery enthusiasts, librarians and yes, even family historians!
Not only has social media taken notice of the pinning craze (and they say that someone who is addicted to pinning needs a “pintervention”), but businesses have noticed as well. Search Pinterest and other sites, and you can find boards and pins for recipes, coupons, special offers and more.
This webinar is the second in a series of upcoming educational initiatives from Flip-Pal on preserving and protecting those items that are important to your family history. The Flip-Pal mobile scanner provides an easy way to collect a digital copy of the many artifacts from the life of your ancestor. This lecture will cover tips to help you use digital images created with the Flip-Pal and share them with friends and family at popular pinning sites including Pinterest.
Pinning Your Family History will be presented by one of the leading presenters of genealogy and family history webinars: Thomas MacEntee. Thomas is the founder of GeneaBloggers.com, a community of over 3,000 family history bloggers around the world, and a nationally-known genealogy professional, author, speaker and educator. He specializes in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community.
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/288120382
[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, discusses this year’s RootsTech conference and Flip-Pal’s new Toolbox software.]
I am excited about this year’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, March 21-23, 2013 where I will be a speaker, an Official Blogger and an attendee. While the description on the RootsTech website gives you a clue as to the focus of the event, RootsTech is more than just a technology and genealogy conference. I like to think of it as a “genealogy happening.”
When I attended the first such event in 2011, there really hadn’t been anything like it before and I was certain I was experiencing a one-time phenomenon. I was able to connect with over 60 genealogy and family history bloggers from around the world, and I also met genealogy product vendors like the Flip-Pal mobile scanner team.
Ask anyone who has attended the past two RootsTech events and you’ll understand that there is a certain “vibe” which can’t easily be described. Perhaps as someone who follows the genealogy industry both from a personal and professional perspective, I have a different sense for what RootsTech is and what it isn’t.
I do know that it isn’t your typical genealogy conference, mainly due to its focus on technology. I also know that there is a serious commitment to finding solutions via technology—solutions that can expand the typical genealogy experience. As I’ve said before, the basic fundamentals of genealogical research remain unchanged but the tools we use to conduct that research are constantly changing before our eyes. At RootsTech, attendees will learn about the latest tools and also what the future will bring for family historians.
Visit the Flip-Pal Team at Booth #328
This year, Flip-Pal will once again be attending RootsTech at the Salt Palace Convention Center and helping attendees understand why preserving family photos and documents is an important part of genealogy.
RootsTech brings “technologists together with genealogists to find solutions to the challenges of genealogy research,” and in that manner a presence by Flip-Pal is a perfect fit. During the three-day conference, members of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner team will demonstrate the benefits of using the new Flip-Pal Software and Flip-Pal Toolbox in booth # 328.
New Flip-Pal Software
You read that right: there is a new Flip-Pal Software 2, which comes with a new, intuitive interface featuring web-like navigation. When using the Flip-Pal EasyStitch software to “stitch” scans of large originals, users now find images that are larger and easier to view. In addition, the new software makes scans easy to share and upload to the web, while the new “Community” page allows users to connect with other Flip-Pal mobile scanner owners, partners, videos and more. And with the Flip-Pal Software 2, users can easily get the latest changes in Flip-Pal tools and software with a single button.
Flip-Pal Events at RootsTech
You won’t want to miss these Flip-Pal events if you are attending RootsTech:
- Diane Miller, Flip-Pal mobile scanner genealogy expert, will demonstrate the new Flip-Pal Software 2 and Flip-Pal Toolbox 2 design at the Demo Theater in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday at 4:20 p.m.
- At 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, will present “Collecting the Fabric of Life – Scanning in 3D,” in Room 255B.
See You at RootsTech!
RootsTech has become a “once a year” industry event for me and I look forward to each occurrence with anticipation. I know I will always discover new ideas and be able to share them with other technology users who also happen to be genealogists and family historians.
Don’t forget to stop by booth #328 and talk with the Flip-Pal team. If you can’t attend this year’s RootsTech, please visit http://flip-pal.com/customer-care and click on the “Downloads” tab for more information about the new Flip-Pal Software 2 and how Flip-Pal customers can update their Toolbox software.
[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, discusses the history and importance of funeral cards for genealogy research and shows ways to share the digitized images with family members and the public.]
One of the more precious discoveries that I’ve come across when cleaning out a loved one’s home after they’ve passed away is an envelope of interesting “cards” which were given out by a funeral home or mortuary.
Measuring about 2.5 inches wide and up to 4.5 inches long, one side would have a colorful, yet peaceful image of a religious symbol or figure or even a landscape. The other side of the card would contain details about the deceased and sometimes even a photo.
Known as “memorial cards” or “funeral cards,” many of us are sitting on just such a collection—and often wondering how we can incorporate these mementos into our family history research.
A Brief History of Funeral Cards
Color lithography became popular starting in the 1890s and this process allowed printed materials with vibrant graphics to be produced inexpensively and in mass quantities. A variety of advertisers began producing cards with different images on small pieces of card stock.
Funeral home directors discovered that creating memorial cards to be given away to family and friends of the deceased was a tasteful way of advertising their services. It also gave the mourners a way to remember the person who had passed on.
The cards were much more popular with Roman Catholics than Protestants, mainly due to the tradition of incorporating images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and a panoply of saints into daily worship. Non-Catholic funeral cards often had an image of the deceased or a landscape scene in place of religious iconography.
On the reverse would be printed the name of the decedent, birth and death dates and sometimes even more information, such as birth and death locations. In addition, a Bible verse, a prayer or a poem would also appear on the reserve as well.
How were these mementos used? I remember seeing them all over my great-grandmothers house—some were tucked in the corner of a dresser mirror, others had been laminated and were used as book marks and still others were mounted in a scrap book or photo album with black corners so they could be removed and cherished.
Scanning Funeral Cards
Funeral cards are a perfect item to scan using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner—and the process goes pretty quickly! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve discovered when scanning funeral cards:
- Use the highest possible resolution when scanning. This means 600dpi on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. My thinking is that if I scan at a lower resolution, I might later need to “rescan” at the higher resolution if I don’t like the results.
- Scan more than one card if possible. In the example above, I was able to fit two cards on the Flip-Pal scanning glass. Once I’m finished scanning, I can use photo-editing software to split the single scan into two separate images. This saves time and makes the scanning process much quicker!
- Save a master digital image. This means making a digital copy of the scanned image and adding the word “master” to the file name. This file is never edited in any way that could change the resolution or quality of the image. I always work with the copy to make edits. This way if I make a mistake, I can always go back to the master image and start over.
Ways You Can Use Scanned Funeral Cards
Once you’ve scanned the funeral cards using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, there are many uses for the digitized images:
- Create an online album. Use a program such as Google Photos, Picasa or even Facebook to upload the images and share them with family members. Or perhaps you just want a place to secure the digitized images as a backup. Use can use these same programs or a cloud storage site such as Dropbox.
There are even Pinterest boards dedicated to collections and types of funeral cards.
- Add them to your genealogy database. Many genealogy database programs such as Family Tree Maker or online sites such as WikiTree, allow you to upload digital images and associate them with someone in your research data.
- Build an online memorial. One way to remember a loved one is to incorporate the funeral card into an online memorial. Some funeral homes offer a virtual guest book as an option and may have already uploaded the image of the card. You can also write a blog post and add the image of the funeral card.
- Let them bring back memories. Use funeral cards the way our family members did: tuck them into mirror corners, place them in a small frame or a photo collage frame, or mount them in a scrapbook.
If you are wondering how you would “cite” a funeral card as a source as part of your research, read my article How to Cite a Funeral Card.
* * *
Although funeral cards are a sad remembrance of someone’s passing, they are an important part of family history and should be preserved for future generations. Make sure they are stored using standard archival practices in a safe place, but also scan those funeral cards so you will always have a digital image as well.
[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.
[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!
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.
[Editor’s note: Thomas MacEntee, Flip-Pal mobile scanner ambassador, attempts to put into words why he does genealogy and what tracing his roots has meant to him.]
As I’ve become more involved in the genealogy community and I’ve built up my own genealogy-related business, I find I am often asked to give interviews. I like being interviewed and I will reply to almost any request for an interview as long as the questions are genealogy-related and it helps bring more people into the family history community.
In addition, after moderating many panels for genealogy conferences and events, plus hosting my own radio show, it is fun to be on the other end of the microphone, as it were, providing my thoughts on genealogy.
The Question: Why Do You Do Genealogy?
Invariably, one question is almost always on the list provided by the interviewer: “Why do you do genealogy?”
My usual response “Well, why not do genealogy?” gets a few laughs, but really doesn’t stress the importance of why I and millions of others are obsessed with tracing their ancestry and heritage. Do you ever get so wrapped up in the “hunt” that you sometimes lose focus as to why you want to know more about your ancestors? Is “doing genealogy” such a large part of your life that the motivational factors sometimes defy description? Do you have trouble putting into words what researching your roots means to you?
I’m Not Crazy, Really. I’m Just Genealogy-Obsessed
Many of my friends not only call me “genealogy obsessed,” but whenever I mention my latest find or how I recently visited a cemetery, they think it is just one more mile post on the road to “Crazy Town.”
They fear that I’ve become the equivalent of an ancestor “hoarder” and that they’ll have to tunnel through 20 years’ worth of genealogical records to find my body one day. When I use terms like “citing sources” or “ahnentafels” to them I may as well be speaking in tongues. The fact that I can draw a four generation tree of my family from memory does not mesmerize them. It only gives them hard evidence in the form of a written document to be used when and if I should be committed.
I don’t think it is really that bad. However, when I attempt to explain the things I do (which seem normal as a genealogist), I get frustrated. It is like trying to explain to someone why you follow a certain spiritual path or a specific faith.
Genealogy Is a Journey of Faith
Could the passion for genealogy actually be similar to one’s own faith, one’s own spiritual compass? In my eyes, faith is something that evolves over time, just as one’s passion/obsession for genealogy also evolves. Both represent a journey often to a destination unknown. Let’s look at the similarities…
- If we’re lucky, we discover genealogy when we are young, either through an older family relative or at school.
- Our family members may have stressed the importance of knowing our heritage, of telling family stories and sharing old photos.
- We may have dabbled with different hobbies in college, but we always came back to genealogy.
- We attend weekly or monthly gatherings where we meet with other genealogists and discuss what genealogy means to us.
- Our community has leaders and those who preach about various aspects of genealogy. Some are so popular that we pack classrooms and worship them as idols.
- We keep the family traditions and place them in context by explaining to others in the family the origins of certain customs and practices.
- Old documents and records not only feed our obsession, but we often hunger for more and are willing to volunteer our time indexing them and advocating for their unfettered access.
- You know another genealogist either when you see them or the minute you start talking to them. There is a certain kinship, a certain bonding as you swap surnames and discuss your brick walls.
See, it really isn’t such a far-fetched an idea after all. Genealogy brings meaning to our lives in so many ways that, again, we can’t often explain it, even to our close loved ones. It is a path, a journey and has its own strange practices and routines.
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So how do you put all this in words when attempting to answer that “why” question? It might just be easier to “show” rather than tell. I’ve learned that once I can show a person photos, stories and how my ancestors fit into history, I get to see that arched eyebrow, or that glimmer in the eye. Then I know I’ve started to make sense.