Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 2011 Scanfest

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scanfest is Coming!

The August 2011 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, August 28th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time. 
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant, except AOL. Those who normally access the Internet with AOL may wish to download Firefox or Explorer ahead of time to be able to participate on CoverItLive.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, August 27th at 4 PM, PDT and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


PROVO, UTAH (August 17, 2011) -, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that both the images and indexes to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made free to search, browse, and explore in the United States when this important collection commences streaming onto the website in mid-April 2012.

When complete, more than 3.8 million original document images containing 130 million plus records will be available to search by more than 45 fields, including name, gender, race, street address, county and state, and parents’ places of birth. It will be’s most comprehensively indexed set of historical records to date. is committing to make the 1940 Census free from release through to the end of 2013, and by doing so hopes to help more people get started exploring their family history. As this census will be the most recent to be made publicly available, it represents the best chance for those new to family history to make that all-important first discovery.

“The release of the 1940 U.S. Census will be an exciting event for any American interested in learning more about their family history,” said CEO Tim Sullivan. “By making this hugely important collection free to the public for an extended period, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of Americans to start researching their family history.”

“ is working to make the 1940 Census a truly unique interactive search well as the starting point to help new users easily get started on the world’s leading online family history resource. After finding that first family connection in the 1940 Census, we believe new users will be able to make amazing discoveries by searching our 7 billion digitized historical records, exploring the 26 million family trees created on Ancestry, and collaborating with our nearly 1.7 million subscribing members. We think that 2012 is going to be a great year of discovery for all family historians.”

About ( Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with nearly 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 7 billion records have been added to the site in the past 14 years. Ancestry users have created more than 26 million family trees containing over 2.6 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm a Guest on GeneaBloggers Talk Radio!

I'm honored to be one of two guests being interviewed on Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers Talk Radio tonight, Friday the 12th, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, PDT. The topic will be "Read All About It! Newspapers as Genealogy Resources." The other guest will be Thomas J. Kemp, of GenealogyBank and ObitsArchive. I'll be highlighting my Online Historical Newspapers website. You can listen online, call in (number is listed in the link below), and/or chat with other listeners on the site. If you can't make it, you can come back and listen later. The link to the show is here. Come join us!