Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge

Lynn Palermo of the Armchair Genealogist invites you to take the Family History Writing Challenge: 28 Days of Motivation, Education and Tools. It's a 28-day commitment to writing your family history and you can read all the details, including how to sign up, here!

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January 2013 Scanfest

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

6 Tips for Scanning Success: Guest Post on the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour

In February 2013, AnceStories’ Scanfest will be Six Years Old! Miriam Robbins organizes and hosts this popular monthly event that welcomes anyone with a stack of scanning and a few hours to spend chatting with other family historians. Scanning can be a boring task, but Scanfest actually makes it fun!
Make the most of your scanning time with these tips to help you get the most from your scanning equipment and make the best use of your scanning hours.

Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012).

The #1 Secret to Scanning Success

Are you getting the best possible results when you digitize family photos and documents? Check your scanning savvy with these 6 Tips for Scanning Success.
Clean the Scanner Glass
Yep, sounds pretty basic but it’s easy to forget. Old photos and documents are often dirty and may even lose bits of paper when handled. Use a microfiber cloth (used for eyeglasses or computer screens) to clean smudges and dirt from the glass of your flat bed scanner. For tough jobs, lightly wet the cloth – not the glass – then wipe the glass firmly with the damp cloth.
Use the Right Equipment For the Job
Equipment does make a difference in the end result.  Your keepsake originals should only be digitized with a flat-bed scanner or digital camera. DO NOT run heirlooms through a sheet-fed scanner where they could be mangled and torn. Wand scanners are fine for books and pristine documents, but less direct handling is safer for old paper.
Oversize documents can be difficult to manipulate for on an 11 x 14-inch flat bed scanner; minimize the potential for damage by using a digital camera mounted on a copy stand or tripod.
Set Up A “Scan Station”
Make use of every minute by keeping your equipment ready to go. If you have space, set up a Scan Station near your computer on a file cabinet or table. Keep your scanner connected to your computer with an external hard drive ready for file storage. Use two trays or boxes to organize your work: To Be Scanned, Scanned. Don’t file away the originals until you have added filenames and tags in your photo organizing software.
Break Your Work Into Scanning Sessions
Save time and be more efficient by breaking your scanning into two work sessions: In session one, complete the actual scans; in session two, finish the computer work: add file names; write metadata -- captions from the back of photos, tags with people, places, events, copyright info; and place originals in archival storage.
Attend a Virtual Scanning Party
Scanning hundreds of old photos, letters and documents can be a time-consuming task. Join an online scanning party and watch your To Be Scanned pile dwindle down to nothing.
Check AnceStories for Scanfest, hosted by Miriam Robbins at the AnceStories website, and 4YourFamilyStory for Sunday ScanDay on FaceBook hosted by Caroline Pointer.
And My All-Time Favorite #1 Secret to Scanning Success –
Use Professional Mode
Most scanners come pre-configured for easy scanning. You don’t have to do anything after hitting the Scan button. But if you want access to some of the best features of your flat-bed scanner, you’ll need to unlock the Professional Menu. Look around on your scanner for a drop-down with more options, or check out the manual. You may have Auto, Home, and Professional modes (on Epson), or some other configuration.
When you get to the Pro Menu, you will be able to set the best resolution for your project, choose mode, target size, and unlock color correction and descreening features. If you aren’t sure what all those options can do, refer to the manual or the handy Scanning Guide in my book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes (chapter 9).
For most purposes, you only need to work with resolution (or DPI) and select Photo or Document. If you wish, you can check Color Restoration to automatically restore faded 1970’s color prints, or Descreening to get better images of newspaper articles.
Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick (Family Tree Books, 2012). Copyright, 2012, Denise May Levenick. All Rights Reserved.
How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012) ISBN 1440322236
Paperback / eBook Family Tree Books,, Scribd, iBooks, Barnes& 10% Savings Coupon ShopFamilyTree.
Join the Blog Tour
Join the Blog Book Tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes January 10-26, 2013 for author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more. Visit the Blog Book Tour Page at The Family Curator website for the complete schedule.
Proceeds from the sale of How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Book Tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Denise’s mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman.
Blog Book Tour Giveaways
Comment on daily Book Blog Tour Post
Tweet the Tour Twitter @FamilyCurator #keepsakebooktour
Share the Tour on FaceBook, Google+, Goodreads
It’s easy to enter to win a free copy of Denise’s new book or one of the weekly giveaway prizes. All you have to do is leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. Random winners will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+.
Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post per day, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky names will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.
About the Author
In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” Denise May Levenick is a writer, researcher, and speaker with a passion for preserving and sharing family treasures of all kinds. She is the creator of the award-winning family history blog, The Family Curator and author of the new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records, (Family Tree Books, 2012).

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scanfest is Coming!

The January 2013 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, January 27th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard 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 Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. 
On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve 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.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Seventh Blogiversary

Today is my seventh blogiversary. It's hard to believe it's been seven years since I started blogging. As always, I appreciate my readers, especially the ones who have hung in there the past three years when my posting has decreased significantly. I enjoy the group of Scanfesters that come back month after month (or even every other month, when I have to postpone one!). Blogging takes time, because composing, researching, and checking my facts takes time. The physical act of writing also takes time, as well as the editing and revising process. Time has been one commodity that has especially been short in my life the past three years. This year, I've already been busy with ProGen, and I hope to post a bit about it, to keep you updated with my progress.

Thank you, once again, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting and encouraging me, and for taking the time to read and comment. It means so very much to me!

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