[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.