Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 2012 Scanfest

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scanfest is Coming!

The April 2012 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, April 29th, 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, PST, 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, April 28th at 4 PM, PST 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!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Finding Your Family in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census

In order to find your family in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census when it is first released to the public on April 2, 2012, you will need to know where your ancestors at that time, as the census will not be indexed immediately. A team of volunteers is amassed, ready to start indexing, but it still will take some time! If you would like to help, please sign up here. City, county, rural and other directories will be helpful in figuring out where your ancestors lived in 1940, especially if you believe they moved after the 1930 census was taken. Using my Online Historical Directories site can assist you in this process; however, please remember that I do NOT have links to all the 1939 - 1941 city directories available online on my site YET. The rate at which directories are scanned and uploaded to the Internet is much greater than one person like myself can keep up with; even if I had a team, it would be impossible to stay ahead of the game! Here are some tips to help you find those directories and thus find your people on the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

1. First, see if there are links to directories listed for the place in which your people lived and the time period of the late 1930s to the early 1940s on my Online Historical Directories site.

2. If you can't find links on my Online Historical Directories site for those directories, don't despair! Please read the list of online resources available. Chances are the directories are online somewhere and I just haven't been able to list the links on this site yet.

3. Check out Frequently Asked Questions number 4 and 5 on my FAQs page for help with offline directories and access to subscription sites that you may not have subscriptions to at the moment.

4. Don't forget to check out Steve Morse's Tutorial to help you find those Enumeration District numbers. Tip: Don't use the Back button on your browser, or you'll end up on his Home page. Use the Go Back to the Previous Page button that is at the BOTTOM of each step of the tutorial.

Best of luck in finding your ancestors and family member in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census!