Are you as excited as we are about the upcoming FGS 2012 Conference, Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the "Old Southwest" in Birmingham, Alabama from August 29 to September 1, 2012? This conference is sure to be one of the major events of 2012 for the genealogy community and Flip-Pal mobile scanner is proud to be a part of the experience.
Visit Us in Booth 415 in the Exhibit Hall
Lisa Milner, Director of Marketing, and Diane Miller, Genealogy Program Manager, will be located in booth 415 in the Exhibit Hall at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex to demonstrate how the Flip-Pal mobile scanner can help you capture and preserve your family history. In addition to answering questions, you’ll be able to learn more about the different ways you can use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories.
The Exhibit Hall opens at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 30 and we hope to see you there! We encourage all FGS 2012 attendees to stop by, say hello and learn about the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Visit http://www.fgs.org/2012conference/exhibits/ for complete Exhibit Hall hours or better yet…download the FGS 2012 Conference App on Guidebook here.
Affiliate Marketing for Genealogy Societies
At 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 31, Diane Miller and Flip-Pal Ambassador Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers will be present Affiliate Marketing for Genealogy Societies in the Demonstration Area of the Exhibit Hall. Thomas and Diane will discuss how genealogy societies can leverage the Flip-Pal affiliate program to help others use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner as part of their genealogy research.
Findmypast Day on Saturday, September 1
Flip-Pal mobile scanner is proud to be working with findmypast.com to present the first-ever Findmypast Day at an FGS conference, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. This special event for beginning genealogists includes a series of four classes to help you explore your roots with findmypast.com. Registration is $10 for the entire day and members of the Flip-Pal team will be available to demo the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Visit https://www.fgs.org/findmypastDay/ to learn more and to register.
Win a Flip-Pal mobile scanner!
There are two chances for you to win a Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories during the FGS 2012 conference:
- A Flip-Pal mobile scanner package will be given away by FamilySearch during the door prize segment on Friday evening, August 31 in the Exhibit Hall.
- Findmypast Day attendees will qualify for a door prize donated by Flip-Pal with the winner receiving a Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
- Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter will once again be hosting his always popular EOGN Dinner on Saturday evening. Attendees can experience a great meal, network with other genealogists and also qualify to win Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Click here to learn more.
Flip-Pal mobile scanners Will Be Available for Purchase at FGS 2012
Family Roots Publishing Company, a Flip-Pal mobile scanner reseller, will be offering a special deal for customers at booths 213/215 and 312/314 in the Exhibit Hall. The FGS Conference Special includes 1) a copy of the Dating Old Photographs CD-ROM (value $12.95) and 2) a copy of the More Dating Old Photographs book (value $15.95) with each purchase of a Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
Can’t Attend FGS 2012? Purchase the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Online!
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is not just for genealogists and family historians—it is ideal for anyone who wants to conveniently and reliably scan photos, documents and artwork to be stored digitally and then shared with family and friends. Orders of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Flip-Pal mobile scanner accessories can also be placed online at flip-pal.com, familyrootspublishing.com and other official Flip-Pal mobile scanner e-tailer and reseller sites.
[Editor’s Note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner team member Diane Miller discusses her innovative and creative concept that she now uses to label all of her family history scans.]
I like immediate results. That is why I use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit!
A Plague of Sticky Notes
The story starts a long time ago, while my mother and I were looking at her old childhood photo album. Ever curious, I asked a variety of questions including, “Who’s that?,” “How are they related?” and “How do you spell their last name?”
As I was asking all those questions, I was recording as much information as I could about the pictures using little yellow sticky notes. I placed them in the album on the pictures and in the margins—wherever I could get enough space to stick them. Not a good idea since the adhesive could damage the photos! The finished result looked a lot like the album above. I was writing as fast as I could, but still not keeping up with the flow of the stories.
Over time those notes have fallen off, my mother is no longer here to help me label the photos and I am left to try and figure out which photo goes with what note.
The Goal: Label Photos Without Damaging Them
I am in the process of digitizing my life bit-by-bit. I really wanted an immediate way to label my scans until I could get them put on the computer and then into a proper family, folder, or name organization. I could do what I’ve done in the past—scan the photo with the sticky note attached and then do a proper scan without the note. However I really don’t want the adhesive from the notes near my photos since they are rapidly deteriorating.
With my thinking cap on, I developed a solution: the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit! It is an immediate and fast way to label your photos as you scan them. The kit contains a thin, high quality acrylic sheet and three erasable fine tip markers.
How the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit Works
Scan the original photo to keep as your “master” copy. Then, gently lay the Sketch sheet over the original and draw on the Sketch using the supplied erasable markers. You can add names, dates, arrows, circles and details about the original. Next, scan the original with the Sketch between the scanner and original. The result: a digital label that will always stay with the picture.
When finished, wipe off the ink on the Sketch with a soft damp cloth, then dry thoroughly. Now you are ready to start the process all over again. The photo album below shows the Sketch sheet being placed over the photo with markings on it, ready to be scanned.
I use the “master” scan in digital scrapbooks and slide shows for my family. The annotated scan is kept as my permanent record of who, what, when and where as it relates to the photo.
Tips for Using the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit
Here are a couple of tips when using your Sketch:
- Remember to only mark on the Sketch sheet with the enclosed erasable pens. Permanent fine tip pen ink won’t wipe off.
- Use only one side of the Sketch, away from the original, as the drawing surface so the ink does not come in contact with your photo or document.
- Protect the acrylic sheet when it is not being used since it can scratch easily. I store mine in the padded envelope it came in, with the pens stored in the pocket of the Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket.
- Occasionally clean and polish the Sketch with a nonabrasive glass cleaner and a soft cloth.
For me, the creative process is a continuous one, inspired by my search for my ancestors and, in fact, the search for myself. Let us know how you would use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Sketch Kit! We want to know what inspires you and we’d love to share your ideas with the genealogy community.
[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal mobile scanner Ambassador Thomas MacEntee shares his thoughts on the various ways to help others with their genealogy research while giving yourself a gift at the same time.]
Think back to when you first became interested in researching your family history…what was the “catalyst” involved? Most likely there was a specific event or a special person in your family that triggered that moment where you realized, “I want to know who my ancestors were and I want to know who I am.”
As your genealogical journey progressed—what other events, people, places and organizations influenced your research and your discoveries? Have you ever considered where you would be with your family history without those contributors and influencers?
Why should I help others with their genealogy? What’s in it for me?
A very good question. Here’s my reason why I volunteer my time with genealogy organizations and help mentor other genealogists: if I can help someone and make it easier for them and not have them repeat some of my mistakes, then for me I’ve returned the favor that was once given me.
And what do I get out of it? Every contact and every collaboration continues to be a revelation for me. I may have been “doing genealogy” for over 20 years now, but each time I work with someone new I think of resources I haven’t used in a while or I fine tune my approach and skills on a certain type of research problem. It is my way of being in a state of constant learning and constant curiosity.
Ways you can make a contribution to the genealogy community
Just as we all research our ancestors differently, there are different opportunities for you to give back to the genealogy community. Here are a few:
- Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has been a mainstay of volunteerism and genealogical assistance for years. Despite the recent death of its creator Bridgette Schneider, the spirit of giving lives on in a new site set up in a wiki format. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness Wiki takes requests for lookups, photos, record requests etc. and allows others to pitch in and provide help.
- Create a blog. Blogs are not just personal diaries or soap boxes anymore. Many genealogists have started to share their own genealogy research experiences online and in public through the use of blogs. Check out Blogger to get started and you could have a blog set up in less than five minutes. For examples of genealogy blogs, visit the GeneaBloggers site which lists over 2,800 different genealogy and family history blogs from around the world.
- Contribute to message boards and forums. Many sites including Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have forums or message boards where newcomers often ask questions. Look for topics related to your own research or your area of expertise and contribute information that will help others.
- Facebook groups. The hottest thing in collaboration and knowledge sharing right now are the various genealogy groups created on Facebook. Use the search field at the top of the Facebook screen and search for a topic and add the word “genealogy.” There are groups focused on technology and specific locations that are not only fun to contribute to, but who knows, you might also learn a thing or two?
- Volunteer. Many genealogical and historical societies need volunteers and don’t’ forget that with the ever-expanding Internet technologies and apps, you can often volunteer “virtually” instead of showing up in person. Visit the Federation of Genealogical Societies to locate genealogy societies near and far.
How to use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner to give back
Believe it or not, you can actually use the Flip Pal mobile scanner with many of the suggested methods of giving back listed above. Here are some ideas:
- Offer to scan documents as part of an indexing project. Many genealogy societies are sitting on holdings such as obituaries, photos, diaries and more that can be shared online with other researchers if only they were scanned and placed in digital form. The Flip-Pal is mobile and allows you to bring the scanner to the items so they don’t need to leave the repository.
- Share your Flip-Pal success story! Every genealogist loves to hear how another researcher was able to successfully make a break through, either with their research or in sharing their finds with family and friends. If you’ve been able to use the Flip-Pal in a creative way, why not post your story on your blog or on Facebook? You might just inspire another genealogist!
- Scan and share resources for other researchers. If you’ve found items such as old maps or books that might be of interest to other genealogists and you know they don’t exist online, scan them with your Flip-Pal mobile scanner and then share them online. (Of course, make sure that you check if the item still has copyright protection before undertaking this type of project.)
Who knows? The seeds you plant through your contributions to the genealogy community might inspire the next generation of genealogists to do the same.
[Editor’s note: Cina Johnson of Ohana Software shares her thoughts on why the Flip-Pal mobile scanner is the perfect scanning tool for family historians.]
Have you seen the movie, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids? If so, then imagine using that invention to shrink your flat-bed scanner down to 10¼″ x 6½″. Then throw away your power cord, add a small viewing screen and a memory card—so you don’t need a computer—and you will have a new found freedom in the form of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
Flip-Pal Means Scanning Freedom
Not only will you be able to scan items without the need for a plug and computer, but this miracle machine goes even further by making it possible to scan very large, flat objects. This is accomplished by removing the scanning cover so you can see straight through the scanning bed and out the bottom of the scanner and see the object you are scanning.
I mentioned freedom as a result of shrinking a flat-bed scanner. Here are two examples of what I am talking about. While sitting in the family room in my recliner, I scanned a small photo album. How sweet is that after sitting at a desk all day! And while sitting on the bedroom floor looking through a box of memorabilia I found a small folder with a picture of my Dad along with his pilot’s certification and some other papers from WWII. I hopped on the bed, grabbed my Flip-Pal and began scanning the contents of the folder. In a couple of minutes I had scanned all these forgotten treasures and put them back where they belonged.
Scanning Is No Longer a Chore with the Flip-Pal
Had it not been for the Flip-Pal, I probably would not have bothered scanning them since it would have meant going into the office, booting up the computer, warming up the flatbed scanner and then scanning. Maybe I would have put them into a pile to “scan someday”…but you know what that really means! The freedom to act on the spur of the moment (find, scan and return) is remarkable.
Flip-Pal Easy Stitch Software—Free and Easy
I also mentioned that you can scan large flat objects. The process is different from using a scanning wand. With the Flip-Pal you take a series of scans so that the entire document, picture or design is in essence scanned. After you finish scanning the object in overlapping segments, go to your computer and use the Flip-Pal Easy Stitch software (included with your purchase) and with no effort on your part, your scans are PERFECTLY stitched together to form one complete photograph. To say that the software is remarkable is an understatement…it’s jaw dropping!
I recently made 32 scans of my grandfather's large diploma and used the Flip-Pal Easy Stitch software to stitch them together and the final result was FLAWLESS. I've stitched photographs of buildings and of faces and the results have always been seamless. I've never seen such good results when stitching photos and the process is EASY.
I also ran across a colored picture that was taken in 1974 and the colors had all turned orange. I used the Flip-Pal mobile scanner to scan the picture then used the Color Restoration Software (also included with the purchase) to restore the color. There are options to adjust the colors but after playing around I decided the software did a better job than I could do on my own.
The software alone is worth the price of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Its convenience makes it an incredible value. The simplicity of using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and the included software attests to the care that the developers have put into making it user friendly.
No Tech Knowledge Needed
I checked the Flip-Pal mobile scanner website and found that it is user friendly and enlightening. Their FAQ page answered the questions I had about batteries and about scanning framed objects. I checked out their website pages under the About Flip-Pal tab and learned a lot. This page contains customer comments and by reading this and their blog I have even more ideas of how and where to use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. I’m going to be taking it with me the next time I visit my family out of state—and my list of scanning projects is growing.
My Review of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner
Is the Flip-Pal perfect? No, but I only have two wishes and that says a lot. First, I wish they offered a plug-in cord so I COULD use it without batteries when I’m working at home. I love the fact that the Flip-Pal is battery operated so it can be used anywhere but a plug-in option would be nice. Second, I wish there was a bit more depth-of-field in the focus so that matted pictures and slight indentations from a book’s binding would stay in focus. Neither of these is so great that it would prevent me from purchasing the product.
With all that the Flip-Pal mobile scanner does, I will use it much more than I thought I would. It’s so handy and compact that it will stay by my side while I complete my picture preservation project. I just wish I’d had it sooner because it is so FAST. A full sized flatbed scanner takes a lot longer to scan a 4”x 6” photograph than the Flip-Pal, so by staying at my table with all my pictures I can scan a LOT in a remarkably short time.
To be perfectly honest, I was given a Flip-Pal mobile scanner evaluation unit so I could review the device and write this article. However, I’ve had the Flip-Pal mobile scanner on my wish list for some time and now that I have it, I’m not disappointed. In fact, the more I’ve used it, the more I’m enjoying it!
[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal Ambassador Thomas MacEntee discusses why you should ensure that your family history research is preserved for generations to come.]
How much thought have you given to making sure that all your hard work researching your family history doesn’t go down the drain? Have you taken steps to ensure that your family photographs and documents don’t get lost or tossed out by accident? What about finding someone within your family to continue the genealogy research once you’ve passed on?
These are questions that we as genealogists don’t take time to answer perhaps because it means we have to contemplate our own mortality and time in the future when we are not here on this planet. Just like estate planning or specifying your last wishes, consider a plan to ensure that your family’s legacy endures.
Make a Legacy To-Do List
It’s easy to tackle the problem of preserving the family’s legacy with a simple list of tasks. Here are some you should consider:
- Create an Inventory. Some call this a “master list” or “road map.” It is a document that lists everything you consider to be included in your research. List items, box numbers if used, and location. Keep this list with your other important legal papers.
- Start archiving materials. You’ve probably put this off like many of us have, but make sure you are using archival quality folders and files to preserve hard copies of photographs, documents and other paper items.
- Digitize photos and documents. Yes, you’re going to archive these items (you are, aren’t you?) but you should have a digital copy for safekeeping. This is where the Flip-Pal mobile scanner can be used to scan items, even 3-dimensional ones like medals. Many Flip-Pal owners say this is the easiest part of legacy preservation—just keep a box of items to scan and scan while you’re watching television at night!
- Don’t forget online items! This means places where you’ve uploaded your research data or a GEDCOM file. Also include any site where you’re storing photos such as Picasa. Write down the website URLs along with your login and password and make it part of your inventory.
Do It Like There’s No Tomorrow!
It is easy to put these tasks off for another day especially when discussing something related to the end of your life. Not only could something happen to you tomorrow, but a natural disaster could strike and damage your materials as well.
Preserving your documents and photos digitally using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner allows you to create digital copies in a snap. In addition, the Picture Keeper flash drive makes it easy to place those digital copies in a safe place along with your other estate planning papers such as a firebox or a safe deposit box.
Nominate a Legacy Keeper
It is likely that you’ve already discussed your research with either immediate or extended family members. You might even have one or two cousins who help you with the research. Take time to discuss this issue of “legacy continuity” with them and select one or two persons to carry the torch after you’re gone.
Also make sure they know where your materials are stored, including those online! You may want to prepare a document listing the inventory of research as well as a list of websites along with logins and passwords so they can access the online materials. You don’t need to share this now, but make sure the document is placed with your other estate planning documents.
Explore Non-Family Options
For whatever reason, you may be in a situation where there just isn’t anyone in your family to whom you can entrust your research and materials. One option is to contact your local genealogy or historical society and discuss donating your collection to their library. Most organizations would be happy to receive a well-document record set that they can use as part of their holdings.
Don’t assume that you can just specify the organization in your estate planning papers and you’re done! Just because you designate a group to inherit your research, doesn’t mean they’ll accept it. It is recommended that you contact the society now and discuss various options on passing along your work to them. In addition, make sure that your family members understand your arrangements so there isn’t anyone interrupting your well laid plans for the society.
Your Love of Family History Will Go On
Taking steps now to preserve your family legacy with useful tools like the Flip-Pal mobile scanner will ensure that your family’s history is not lost and will be passed along from generation to generation.
Photo: Two Boys [unidentified], 1892. Digital image in possession of author.