Your Quick Tips, 15 December 2008

Scanning Multiple Photos
Scanning photos can take a lot of time. I learned to lay as many photos on the scanner glass as I can fit. I make one scan of them. Once it’s in my computer, I make one copy of the scan for each photo on the sheet. Once the copies are made, I crop each sheet to include just one photo. This does save oodles of scanning time.
Kate Sprague
California City, California

“Pieces of Your Past” Project
My research has led me to find a great-grandfather who was murdered; one who drowned in a wash basin; a grandfather who never used his birth name; a Revolutionary War soldier; a great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War, and many other interesting items. There was so much info that my nieces and nephews really couldn’t figure out who I was talking about at times. So, I came up with a simple project that I called “Pieces of Your Past.”

In Sept. 2007, I attended a welcome home party for my nephew who had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. I was talking to him about his great-great grandfather’s murder by a man who fell in love with his wife. I realized when talking to my nephew it is difficult for others to follow the big picture. Because of this, I decided to simplify things for them. For Christmas 2007, I prepared small booklets of each family member’s direct ancestors.

I selected the most distant relative in each line and used Family Tree Maker to print Relationship Charts from the most distant relative to the person I was preparing the booklet for. This gave a clear list, with photos, and identified the relationships. Then, I chose interesting tidbits about each of the direct ancestors from my Family Tree Maker notes and created a Word document with this brief information. I put the printed pages in protective sheets, put them in a small binder, added a personal note at the beginning, and made a cover. This is the project I call “Pieces of Your Past.”

The cover had jigsaw puzzle pieces from clip art on which I had added the surname of the branches of the family covered in the booklet. The recipient of the booklet had his/her name in larger type on one of the puzzle pieces. The result was a tailor-made book for each relative. It was a hit. I was told that many sat around and read their booklets on Christmas morning.

This year, I have made the pages for a branch of the family that I was unable to include last year because I lacked information. This way, each person can share in my recent discoveries of this part of the family and add a little bit more to the pieces of their past.

Carol Clemens

Record GPS Coordinates
Regarding locations of cemeteries, previous homes, etc. the best way, in my opinion, is to use a GPS and get the exact coordinates. With that information anyone today or in future generations will be able to locate and go directly to those places. GPS coordinates will save many people many hours of searching. Even when looking at maps online a researcher can get very close to the coordinates of an object.

Sherman N. Shell
Springfield, Missouri

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6 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 15 December 2008

  1. GPS Coordinates.

    Be careful with GPS Coordinates. It’s a new techonology that is not necessarily accurate – especially in the Appalachian Mountains.

  2. Carol, what a wonderful present to your family!

    When I travel the country meeting cousins for my book, I take my scrapbooks with me (the baggage handlers love me…), along with my scanner and laptop.

    While I am busy scanning as many old family photographs of theirs that I can, the family can see the family relationships and flip through interesting stories through the scrapbooks. I find Karen Foster’s Family Group Sheet papers work wonderfully for this:

  3. Even if GPS is accurate, you have to be able to afford it. I’m recording road names, exact milage and local landmarks to cemeteries from an interstate highway or large town. It doesn’t hurt to have two ways to find a cemetery.

  4. About scanning multiple photos: some scanners (like my Canon MP600) have a “multiple documents” feature that can detect several photos on the platen. After the scan, it automatically brings these up as separate files. You have to leave a little space between photos for this to work. It saves a lot of time in cropping and copying, so check and see if your scanner can do this.

  5. I think Carol’s idea of personalized, simplified projects is wonderful. Most people have a limited interest in our passion, but they like to know the names and the “juicy” stories that enflesh those names. Photos really grab their interest.

    I am planning to provide word documents on CDs of the four family lines of my children for them along with four printed booklets. I will send a CD to relatives who share a line. They can augment the documents, adding photos and additional information on their nearest relatives; then print what they want if they care to do so. The benefit to me is that I don’t have to try to solicit orders for books.

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