A Stitching Tip for Using Flip-Pal

A reader commented on one of my posts recently and mentioned that she was having some difficulty with the stitching feature of Flip-Pal and was a new user of the scanner. I responded with a tip, so I thought I would go ahead and do a quick post about it. Whenever I am scanning something larger than 4×6 that requires me to use the “flip” feature of the scanner, I place the photo or document I am scanning on a brightly colored surface. As long as the color of the surface is not the same as the color along the border of your photo or document, any color surface should be fine. What you want is something to make the white guide lines on the Flip-Pal to be more prominent. A wood surface, for example, does not work very well (in my opinion) because it does not provide enough of a contrast to make the white lines on the scanner more visible. Once those are easily seen, you can better able position the scanner on the photo or document in order to line it up better, which will provide a better finished scan once you do the stitching process. It is a simple, but quite useful tip, especially if you have just recently started using your Flip-Pal scanner.

Tombstone Tuesday: No Tombstone? No Body?

Recently, two of my relatives passed on and had opted for cremation instead of a traditional burial. Cremation is very rare in my neck of the woods. It made me think about the implications of such a choice, as it relates to genealogy. Cemeteries are often used as a source of information to help shed light on an ancestor. But what do you do when there is no tombstone? And no body?

Many of us are familiar with the predicament of an unmarked grave, but the thought of no grave at all had never really entered my mind. I was curious to know whether there were particular time periods in history in which cremation was more utilized than at other times. A Wikipedia article on cremation sheds some light on this. It also illuminated situations in which people may have someone cremated, such as to prevent a known burial site from being turned into an unwanted memorial. Interesting, although incredibly morbid.

Of course, an action such as burial or cremation would be left to individual preference of either the deceased or the one in charge of the deceased’s final arrangements, but it certainly gives us something else to consider when researching. With no burial, we certainly are missing out on some potential details.

Timing Is Everything…or Is It?

We have all heard the saying that timing is everything. In many ways it is. Even Family Tree Maker (FTM), which is the genealogy software I use, recognizes this with their timeline feature. There are different ways to access an ancestor’s timeline in FTM, but I prefer to view the timeline as a report. To do this, select the ancestor you are interested in, then go to the Publish workspace. (Just a note before I give further directions, I use FTM 2012.) Once in the Publish workspace, select the Person Reports, then Timeline Report. Once you have selected this feature and create a report, you can select various types of information to include on the report. Selecting family and historical events for inclusion in your report can greatly aid your research, especially if you are just getting started. Noticing that your ancestor lived during a particular war and was of age for participation in it could trigger you to start researching particular military records. A post at the Family Tree Maker User blog gives a good example regarding the usefulness of including the family events. You can find that blog post at http://ftmuser.blogspot.com/2012/05/ftm2012.html?m=1.

Alas, timing is not everything. As realtors often vehemently state…Location! Location! Location!

Knowing where significant events in your ancestor’s timeline took place is key to directing your research. Although the timeline report states the location with events, it does not give you a visual representation. When I first started researching, I was unfamiliar with many towns in states from where my ancestors hailed. Knowing what part of a state a town is in can help you better understand your ancestor. Seeing the various places they resided or passed through will help you hone in on where to look for records. To see this, I use the Places workspace of FTM 2012. Once in that workspace, I select Person in the drop down box labeled “List by.” I choose the person I am interested in, then select the events I want to map. As long as you keep in mind what states and counties you are actually looking at, based on the time that the particular events occurred, this will greatly help direct your search for records in the likely locations once you get a visual perspective of your ancestor’s travels.

Have Flip-Pal, Will Travel

As I approach the spring gathering of my local genealogy group, I am once again excited to take along my handy dandy Flip-Pal mobile scanner. When I had it with me last year, one friend was so impressed with its size and functionality that she told me she purchased one shortly thereafter. I recently was able to put it to use when my aunt received some pictures from someone else, and I wanted copies. I hated to take the pictures home with me, which would take them out of my aunt’s hands for at least a week. Instead, I just brought my Flip-Pal with me the next time I visited. My aunt couldn’t believe that the little machine was actually doing anything!

I love when someone has a new gadget I can see and experience firsthand, and I am excited to be able to do the same for others with my Flip-Pal. So here’s to hoping some folks bring some great photos and documents to the gathering this weekend so I can put my Flip-Pal to work!

Wishful Wednesday: Getting to Know Talitha

My third great grandmother, Talitha Skidmore Littleton, and my great grand aunt, Nancy Elizabeth Littleton Ingraham
My third great grandmother, Talitha Skidmore Littleton, and my great grand aunt, Nancy Elizabeth Littleton Ingraham

Oral tradition states that one of my third great grandmothers was one quarter Cherokee. Of course, many of us have similar oral traditions handed down about our ancestors. Although we do not have a multitude of information about her, we are fortunate to have at least one photograph of which I am aware. Judging by it and a photo we have of one of her daughters, I would have to say it is a very strong possibility.

I would love to be able to go back in time and know many of my ancestors but this one, especially. The oral tradition and physical features intrigue me so that I cannot help but wonder at the possibility of embarking upon a discovery of another entire branch of my family tree. How exciting it would be to know about one of your ancestors actually being from a Native American tribe and learning about their traditions and culture! On an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche was telling the other girls about a dream she had. She recalled meeting a Native American and informed the girls that if he was to show up, they were to tell him that she wanted to know more about his people. An odd way to relate my feelings about my ancestor, but true nevertheless. I want to know more about her people.

Tech Tuesday: Deciding How to Use My External Hard Drive

Well, I am happy to say that I finally got an external hard drive! It was a gift for my birthday last week. Woohoo! Now, the question is…how do I decide what files to store on it? I have a ton of pictures that I’d like to put on it to free up space on my desktop PC’s hard drive. I’ll put my genealogy files there, as well. My plan is to copy them back and forth between the external hard drive and my desktop and laptop.

What files do you use your external hard drive for? How many places do you back up files?

29th Annual Kentucky Archives Institute

The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) has announced details for the upcoming 2013 Kentucky Archives Institute. A detailed agenda and registration form can be found at http://kdla.ky.gov/researchers/Pages/2013KentuckyArchivesInstitute.aspx. Once again, KDLA is offering a variety of sessions for the day-long institute.

I have been fortunate to attend the last two or three institutes, and while not every session has been of use in my own research, there have always been new resources and tools to discover. Networking with other genealogists and archivists is another bonus. If you do much research on Kentucky ancestors, this may be something you will want to check out.

Before You Toss That…

How many of us go to a conference or workshop and come back with a tote bag full of papers, brochures, and other handouts? Okay, now that everyone is raising their hand and nodding their head, how many of us leave those “take-aways” laying around for weeks, months, or longer? In agreement again, huh?

After starting a recent purging of my home office, I came across a number of these items. I started separating them into piles for recycling, scanning (then to be recycled), and other. My “other” pile was one that I had not yet decided the usefulness of the materials. One of those items was a program from last year’s National Genealogical Society conference. It was my first time attending the conference, so I was unaware of the wealth of information contained in the program, especially since I was only able to attend on the final day and only made it to the exhibition hall. Not only does the program contain the schedule of events, which is useful well after the conference is over, but it also contains a list of the exhibitors and a brief description of each.

As I quickly perused through the program again, I realized how handy this would be to skim those pages to see what, if anything, jumped out to me as a potential new resource. There is just enough information on each exhibitor to know whether or not it is something I want to add to my toolbox. The same goes for the schedule of events. Even better, the conference events are separated out by “tracks” in order to easily locate a topical area of interest. So, next time you are having a purging session of genealogical materials, do not be so quick to overlook some items. Even though a particular event has already passed, there may just be little treasures of information contained beneath that dated cover page.

Kentucky Historical Society to Resume Regular Hours

As we prepare to spring forward this weekend with the beginning of daylight saving time, you can also plan to spring forward with your Kentucky genealogy research. Starting Saturday, March 9, the Kentucky Historical Society history campus will resume its normal hours of operation. In recent years, the campus has shut down for the winter months, with only a few exceptions. This weekend, however, the regular hours of operation will resume. For many Kentucky researchers, this is becoming a certain sign of spring. It is a time to wake from our winter slumber of curling up on the couch with our laptop to do research and instead return to the stacks of books and other hard copy research that we love to thumb through (as long as it has an index). For me, this means the opportunity to wind down a Thursday by stopping by the library to research since that is the day of the week they stay open later. So, if you are a Kentucky researcher who frequents the Kentucky Historical Society, start getting your research plans together to make the most of the open hours. Happy researching!

Talented Tuesday: Could the Printer of the King James Bible Be My Ancestor?

Printing is a talent, I am sure, although I know next to nothing about it. Until today, I was unaware of any printers in my family tree. I still may be unaware of any, but the possibility of one is fun to ponder. The possibility of a famous printer in my family tree is even more fun to ponder.

I use the King James Version of the Holy Bible, but I never dug so deeply into the history of this version that I came across the name of King James I’s printer who was responsible for printing the Bible. In 2011, I received a copy of a King James Study Bible for my birthday. That year marked the 400th anniversary of this version of the Bible. With the Bible, a pamphlet was included detailing the history of the King James Version. That is when I first noticed that a man with one of my surnames was the printer. After finding a Wikipedia article about him, I learned some interesting information.

Robert Barker, son of Christopher Barker who was printer to Queen Elizabeth I, died in 1645. Although he holds a prominent place in history for his work on the King James Version of the Bible, unfortunately the remainder of his life was not quite so celebrated. Perhaps his major typographical error while working on another Bible some years later triggered the beginning of the end for him. According to the Wikipedia article, Barker and a co-printer left out the word “not” from the commandment “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Ouch. Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Barker_(printer) to read the wikipedia article.

As unlikely as it is that I could ever determine if Robert Barker was an ancestor, it is an interesting thought to toss around. You just never know what interesting connections (or not) you may come across throughout the day.