Monday, March 26, 2012

Get organized for the 1940 Census - 21COFH Week 13

Can you believe it? The 1940 US Census will be released in 1 week! Who are you going to search for first? Or are you going to wait for the index to come out and contribute to it's creation in the meantime?

This week get prepared for the big day on April 2nd by:
  1. Completing 1940 U.S. Census simulation batch. Did you know you can win prizes? Good stuff like VISA gift cards. Just go to the 1940 indexing practice contest post for all of the instructions.  If you haven't signed up to index yet, go to the 1940 Census Project website. Signing up is easy.
  2. Locating your ancestor's Enumeration District in the 1930 census or use city directories, draft registrations, old letters or address books to figure out where they were living in 1940. Steve Morse has the Unified 1940 Census ED Finder to assist you. If you are ready with your ancestor's 1940 ED, locating them will go faster.
Remember, if we all do a little indexing, nobody has to do a lot!

Disclaimer: As part of ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing some prizes.
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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Tribute to Man's Best Friend

When someone special touches your life, it is incredibly difficult when they go. Such was the case with our beloved Lou. Please travel with me on a brief look at our journey together as a family.

We got Lou when our children were young. He was our third child so to speak.
Giving Lou an old sock to play with was one of the biggest mistakes we ever made. He made a career out of stealing shoes and socks that lasted a lifetime.

We quickly realized he was more active (and mischevious) than your average Labrador Retriever, so obedience classes were soon in order. We practiced on regular walks around the neighborhood in the hope teaching Lou the importance of minding his manners (and wearing him out). Then it was decided the sport of dog agility might be a good activity for him. After all, he loved to run and jump.

We took agility classes and practiced and practiced. Finally, I thought it would be fun to compete in an agility trial. Does our four legged friend look like he is having fun or what?
Thank you to Kathleen Schaffer of Pup Art for permission to post the above 3  pictures of Lou taken at an event in Tempe, Arizona.
She is also on Facebook with examples of her beautiful collages.

Agility helped Lou to keep his mind engaged in activities other than stealing the kids toys, food off the counter, and generally teasing and terrorizing our family. At least we would like to think it did!

In the summers he travelled with us to Whidbey Island in Washington State where he loved to run, play fetch on the beach, and make friends with whoever came along.

Oldest Daughter regularly played Hide and Seek with Lou. It's hard to believe but she really was able to hide from him! She and her dad also loved to play Catch (or Keep Away) in the family room.

Youngest Daughter had a unique bond with Lou as well. He took particular pleasure in sneaking into her room to steal things or get into her trash. If Youngest Daughter left a bagel unattended on the kitchen counter in the morning while getting ready for school, even for just a few seconds, it was gone in a flash. It was common to hear screams of "Get Out!" and "Moooommmmm, call the dog, he took my _____[fill in the blank with anything you can think of]!"
As the years went on, Lou did settle down (somewhat) and all of us enjoyed his company, his positive outlook on life, walks together, games, and belly rubs. When the girls had their teenage friends over, there was Lou right in the middle of them watching TV, hanging out and getting more than his fair share of belly rubs.

Lou's outlook on life was so good that when, unbeknownst to any of us, cancer began to invade his lungs, he plowed on with his happy, exhuberant energy going on our daily walks and even attending Youngest Daughter's college softball game. A couple of short days later, we realized something was wrong.
Lou on his last walk.
After he was diagnosed with lung cancer, we brought Oldest Daughter home to say her goodbyes as the two of them had a particularly special bond. He perked up immensely on her arrival and they had a wonderful weekend together.

Then as soon as she left, it was as if Lou knew his time had come and he closed his eyes for the last time that same evening. It was just over two weeks from the time we realized things were not quite right with Lou. Blindingly fast.

We miss Lou terribly and are thankful for our time together and the wonderful memories we are left with. A piece of advice, if I may. If you haven't hugged your loved ones today, please do so. Our time together is way too short. And if your loved one includes a canine friend, give him an extra belly rub from me. The therapeutic value of a good belly rub can never be underestimated - either for the receiver or the giver.

Thank you to my Wonderful Readers for your kind comments and words of support.

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Thank you again to Kathleen Schaffer of Pup Art for permission to post the agility pictures she took of Lou.

© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting the Family Trained - Treasure Chest Thursday

A very exciting thing happened recently. I think I am getting my family truly trained. Out of the blue, my mother-in-law sent me copies of a page in a family Bible her mother received from a relative! Most of the information I have seen before but I do believe I see a clue in there. Oooh, something to look into. But that's not the best part.

Husband was going to see his mom so I asked him to take a picture of the cover of the Bible and the publishing and copyright information inside. They did better than that. Mom gave Husband the Bible!

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, March 18, 2012

21COFH - Preserve Current Events - Week 12

Recent history is just as important as ancient history. Last week we cleared our digital images off our cameras, and other digital devices. This week document an important event or vacation in your family's history. Perhaps it's that spring break trip your family just returned from, a birthday or wedding or even the holidays or last summer's vacation.

In this wonderful age we live in, there are countless opportunities to share and preserve the important events in our lives. Choose a method and immortalize that trip, vacation or other event. Here are a few ideas:
  • Post your pictures to Facebook.
  • Share on your favorite photo sharing site.
  • Make a photobook using an online service.
  • Produce an online photobook to share.
  • Print your pictures and put them in an album
  • Scrapbook your images either online or the old fashioned way.
What are some of the ways you enjoy sharing your photos and important events? We'd all love to hear your ideas.

Personally, I'll be making a photobook using my favorite online service. It will make a nice coffee table book for the family to enjoy. I also have some pictures I need to share online with my family. Finally, I have a special tribute I'll share with my Wonderful Readers later this week.

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, March 11, 2012

21COFH - Digital Files - Week 11

March is the month for spring break, family vacations, and maybe the chance to catch up with processing digital files you created during any recent research trips (such as RootsTech!). So, this week we are going to repeat our mission from week 3.

Select at least one (more if you have time) of your digital gadgets and do the following:
  1. Transfer the files to your computer (or wherever it is you store such digital items).
  2. Remember to use your organizational and file naming scheme.
  3. If you have decided to utilize metadata for citations, tags and other information, be sure and include that into your workflow.
  4. If some of your items need further processing or analyzing, add it to your to do list (unless you have time to take care of it this week).
  5. Make sure this work is backed up. Always make sure your work is backed up! If you don't have a backup plan, there are numerous resources at GeneaBloggers.
Remember, the main objective here is to get your files organized in such a way so that you can easily and quickly locate them.

Good luck! As always, you can complete this week's mission by leaving a comment or writing your own post and leaving the url to your post in the comments section. If you don't have a blog, keep your own journal!

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, March 5, 2012

21COFH - My Quick & Dirty Photo Sort - Week 10

This week, our project is A Quick & Dirty Way to Start Organizing Photos. Here's what I did with one liquor box of Dad's family photos.
  • Since the pictures all are 4x6 inches or smaller, I selected a box and archival photo envelopes that would hold that size. See picture below.
  • Started at the top and took out a box that originally contained Canterbury Chocolates. Some of the pictures were loose while others were in an envelope.
    • The envelope had the note, "Dick Jr. & his Daddy & Mother" written on it. I removed the photos and placed them in an archivally safe envelope. The original envelope with the note went in the back of the archival envelope. Since there is a divider in the envelope, that will act as a barrier between the old envelope and the photos.
    • Then I put the photos of Dick Jr. in the front of the archival envelope.
    • The loose photos I quickly divided into 3 groups:
      1. Portraits of Dick Jr.
      2. My newborn pictures.
      3. Old pictures from grandma's side of the family.
    • Each of the archival envelopes was appropriately labeled in pencil.
    • Using an index card, I made a divider for the new storage box labeled, "These were in a Canderbury Chocs box." Not very exciting but it tells me these pictures were all together at one point for some reason. (The index cards are regular office supply variety. Since the pictures are now in archivally safe envelopes, there is a barrier. I'll get more appropriate dividers set up later.)
  • Back in the liquor box, I went on to the shoebox that was underneath and went through the same process, making a divider for the box labeled "From the same shoebox." If the pictures were in an envelope together, I kept them together. If the envelope had something written on it, I saved the envelope with the pictures.

  • Then I went to the big envelope tucked in the side of the liquor box and made a divider for the archival box labelled "Together in envelope"
    1. The negatives went into one archival envelope which was so labeled.
    2. The pictures that were clearly from the same roll of film and had been stamped with a September 1954 date went into their own appropriately labeled envelope.
    3. The envelope addressed to my grandmother's sister c/o my grandfather that was full of labeled family photos went into another archival envelope with the original envelope containing the return address in the back section of the archival envelope. (Had to force myself not to stop and get distracted by these pictures!)
  • When I was finished, I made a temporary label for the box using a yellow sticky note. 

  • Last but not least, I updated my inventory and wrote a very short descriptive paragraph. A printed copy went in the box. Now when I'm rooting around for something, I'll have a better idea as to whether this box might contain what I'm looking for.

Here's what the completed box looks like. Nothing special but I've taken another baby step toward conquering this photo beast in my home.

Whew! I'm glad that's done. It was hard not to get distracted by some of the interesting pictures that showed up. Now that there is some semblance of order, I can go back and browse when I've got a little time.

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, March 4, 2012

21COFH - Quick and Dirty Way to Start Organizing Photos - Week 10

In the pre-digital days, many of us, including our ancestors, took pictures with the good intentions of organizing them eventually. Then life got in the way and boxes or piles would accumulate. Sound familiar? My dad's parents were no different. So this week I'm going to do a quick and dirty sort of some pictures so that they can be worked with at a later date. The objective is to improve their storage conditions and begin to identify what you have on your hands.

Your selection for this week should be a group of photos you know just enough about to be able to work with. If you've got some old family photos and you've no idea whose faces are peering out, save them for later. I'm working with some early to mid 20th century photos from Dad's side of the family.

  1. Examine your pictures to get a feel for this mini collection. Try not to disturb the original order.You might consider photographing the box or pile as you remove the layers. Just a thought.
  2. Decide how they should be stored, and what materials you will need.
  3. Work through the box, envelopes or files and
    1. Re-folder or re-envelope them in archivally safe material.
    2. Make a note on the outside of the envelope as to the general subject(s) and time frame, if you know. When I'm the one drawing conclusions, I like to put "per MG" and the date for future reference. That piece of knowledge has come in handy on more than one occassion.
    3. If the envelope or box these items are in has writing/notes that might be clues, consider saving, photographing, or otherwise preserving the information.
  4. Make dividers for the new box you are putting the pictures in, if that makes sense to you.
  5. Label the outside of your new box.
  6. Don't forget to update your inventory with what you did this week or you will be wondering whatever happened to this box/pile of pictures. If you have to stop before you are done, make a note of where you are and what has been done on your inventory sheet. Also, put a copy of your note with the pictures you were working with. Tell yourself enough that you can pick the project back up at a later date.
  7. Finally, write a short descriptive paragraph for this group of pictures to go with your inventory. Also put a copy in the box of pictures.
Congratulations! You now have the start of some semblence of order so you can work with the pictures in more detail later. After you give yourself a pat on the back, tell us how your project went either in the comments or a post of your own. Be sure to leave the url in the comments section, if you write your own post.

I've been working on my project this weekend and am almost done. So check back tomorrow for my post.

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, March 3, 2012

21COFH - The Candy Box (of Heritage Photos) - Week 9

My great grandmother, Frances Lowe, stored many of her family pictures in candy boxes. Older family members have commented to me that they remember going through those boxes and looking at the family photos. I guess it was the Lowe family equivalent of a photo album.

One of those candy boxes contains the family's oldest pictures and it is this one I chose to work with this week. Following the eight steps I outlined, here are the challenges and observations I encountered.
  • I didn't have an appropriate box to store them in so I opted to leave the pictures in the candy box and order a couple of boxes from one of the archival suppliers. This way they will be in the best possible storage container and can be stored upright making it easier to locate a particular picture.
  • I wrote the descriptive paragraph and put together an inventory table in OneNote. See below.
  • The scanning process was painstakingly slow. I've gotten spoiled with the FlipPal and had forgotten how slow the flatbed scanner is for scanning .tif files at 600dpi.
  • In order to speed up the scanning process, I opted to scan the pictures into their own special folder and let the program name them. So initially they were named scan001, scan002, etc. See below.
  • Then after I was done scanning and had completed the inventory table, I added a column for file names and developed names for the files.

Then it was easy to copy and paste those names as a rename to the actual .tif file. The letter a or b was appended to the end of the file name to designate the front and back.

  • As for maintaining the original order. Weelllll, I've kept the actual pictures in the order they were in the candy box. The inventory is numbered so I can see what order they were in but the digitized files will not be in the "original" order. I'm not too concerned as Frances was so very good about labeling these photos and we can still see the order in the inventory.
Now it's confession time. I realized midway through this week's project that a bunch of pictures I remembered as being in that box were no longer there. Apparently I had removed them several years ago and organized them by the 3 surnames to which they applied. So now they are back where they belong. Sheez.

Finally, the write up and inventory table will be printed off and put in with the collection of photos.

So, I still need to put this mini collection in it's special box when it arrives and I need to burn some CDs to distribute to family members. It occurs to me that it might be fun to do a story or chart type presentation with these pictures because Frances pretty much has her entire family tree in this box. Trying not to get too distracted... but it's an appealling thought. Any ideas on how to go about doing something like that? Powerpoint maybe?

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© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum