Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
November, 2014 (3)
October, 2014 (4)
September, 2014 (5)
August, 2014 (4)
July, 2014 (4)
June, 2014 (5)
May, 2014 (4)
April, 2014 (4)
March, 2014 (5)
February, 2014 (4)
January, 2014 (4)
December, 2013 (5)
November, 2013 (4)
October, 2013 (4)
September, 2013 (5)
August, 2013 (4)
July, 2013 (4)
June, 2013 (5)
May, 2013 (4)
April, 2013 (5)
March, 2013 (4)
February, 2013 (4)
January, 2013 (4)
December, 2012 (5)
November, 2012 (4)
October, 2012 (5)
September, 2012 (4)
August, 2012 (5)
July, 2012 (5)
June, 2012 (4)
May, 2012 (4)
April, 2012 (5)
March, 2012 (4)
February, 2012 (4)
January, 2012 (5)
December, 2011 (5)
November, 2011 (4)
October, 2011 (5)
September, 2011 (4)
August, 2011 (5)
July, 2011 (5)
June, 2011 (6)
May, 2011 (7)
April, 2011 (4)
March, 2011 (5)
February, 2011 (3)
January, 2011 (5)
December, 2010 (4)
November, 2010 (5)
October, 2010 (4)
September, 2010 (4)
August, 2010 (5)
July, 2010 (4)
June, 2010 (5)
May, 2010 (4)
April, 2010 (4)
March, 2010 (5)
February, 2010 (4)
January, 2010 (4)
December, 2009 (3)
November, 2009 (5)
October, 2009 (4)
September, 2009 (4)
August, 2009 (5)
July, 2009 (4)
June, 2009 (5)
May, 2009 (4)
April, 2009 (5)
March, 2009 (6)
February, 2009 (5)
January, 2009 (5)
December, 2008 (4)
November, 2008 (4)
October, 2008 (6)
September, 2008 (5)
August, 2008 (5)
July, 2008 (4)
June, 2008 (6)
May, 2008 (5)
April, 2008 (5)
March, 2008 (4)
February, 2008 (4)
January, 2008 (5)
December, 2007 (4)
November, 2007 (4)
October, 2007 (6)
September, 2007 (4)
August, 2007 (4)
July, 2007 (5)
June, 2007 (4)
May, 2007 (3)
April, 2007 (2)
March, 2007 (1)

Search

Archives

<November 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Sunday, December 29, 2013
Photo Tips to Start Your New Year Right
Posted by Maureen

I don't know about you, but I don't make New Year's Resolutions. What I do instead is think of ways to accomplish achievable goals.  Here are few ideas for 2014.

Back Up Your Photo Files
This morning I opened my digital photo organizer of choice, Picasa, and discovered that the new upgrade will automatically back up my photos and keep them private until the user changes the settings. Here's the good news about Picasa. It's free.  Love it or hate it, Picasa is a pretty easy way to organize your digital images. The added back-up feature is a nice addition.


Collaborate with Cousins
This year brought new ways to share and collaborate on family photos.  I've been playing with the features on these three sites. LOVE how easy it is to upload, share and collaborate.

Are you familiar with Flickr.com?  Users get one terabyte of free online storage and the ability to either share images online or keep them completely private. Post a photo on Flickr, create a set and then share it via email with specific individuals. They can comment on the images. 

You can also collaborate using MyHeritage.com. It's a private site that has what I call a "photo dashboard" for each uploaded image that includes file properties and names of individuals you've tagged.  You can share those pictures with family and see their comments on your picture.

FamilySearch.com's new emphasis on adding photographs to family trees is good news for genealogists. All posted photos are publicly searchable, not private. It's free to sign-up and set up a tree.

Review Your Family History with a Relative
In November I spent an afternoon with a cousin going through boxes of material she'd received from a deceased relative. She's a genealogical newbie and didn't know our shared family history.

In this new collection were photos, documents and personal papers that cleared up some of the things I didn't know about her immediate family. It was so much fun to sit with her and explain who was who in the photographs.

I can't wait to do it again! My fingers are crossed that I finally have a cousin that's going to be a genealogical research partner.

Identify One Photo At a Time
Look at your box of photos and pull one out. What do you know about the photo and the people depicted? If it's a mystery photo then follow the chain of clues--photographic method, photographer's work dates, fashion clues and props to set it in a time frame and tell it's story.

It's overwhelming to work on a whole box of photos in one sitting. Start with one and see where it leads.

Don't forget if you need help you can submit the image to this column. Just click the How to Submit Your Photo Link on the left. Every week I tackle a photo mystery.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • Photo fun | photo-research tips | Web sites
    Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:44:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, October 22, 2012
    Photos and Family History Vacations
    Posted by Maureen

    Last weekend I spoke at a meeting of the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia (GRIVA). My last lecture of the day covered family history vacations and discussed ways to use photos of homes, cemteries and other places to create an itinerary. I talked about visiting old family homes in person and virtually (using Google Earth).

    I also mentioned what to do with those vacation photos afterwards. I suggested posting them on sites like Historypin.com and Whatwasthere.com.

    Then I turned the meeting into a forum and let folks share their family history vacation tips. They asked if I would share their suggestions with the readers of this blog and I said YES! So if you're planning a family heritage tour, here are a few things they recommended.
    • Don't forget to visit the courthouse. One woman stressed the importance of looking for legal documents.

    • If you know the name of the cemetery where your ancestors are buried, but you can't find it, try calling the local funeral homes. A man said that a quick phone call helped him find the cemetery.

    • Take pictures of gravestones in the vicinity of your ancestors' monuments. Those folks might be relatives and you don't know it yet.

    • If your ancestors lived along a waterway, try consulting old nautical maps. They often show docks and can help you pinpoint a residence.

    • Look at church windows. Your ancestor may have paid for a memorial window.

    • Call the local public library to see if they have a history/genealogy collection. Verify the hours, too—websites don't always have up-to-date information.

    The GRIVA attendees also shared some general travel tips:

    • One woman loves to take Grayline tours of a city to orient herself.

    • If you go to Europe, take a small suitcase. Larger cases are too much work to lug around.

    • Another woman says she travels with old clothes and shoes. At the end of the trip she throws them away, leaving plenty of room for all the trip treasures she's collected.

    If you have a family history trip tip, please share it in a comment (below).  


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • candid photos | house/building photos | Photos from abroad | Web sites
    Monday, October 22, 2012 5:38:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [14]
    # Monday, January 30, 2012
    Posting Photos Online
    Posted by Maureen

    This week genealogists from all over are gathering in Salt Lake City to talk technology at RootsTech. Unfortunately, I won't be there this year, although I might check out some of the virtual offerings.

    I'm trying to finish research on a second volume of my Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation.

    There are a lot of great websites out there that enable folks to share pictures and stories. Before I list them, here are some basic tips before you post your pictures in the global world of the web.

    • Don't upload images larger than 72 dpi. That resolution is perfect for the web, but anyone trying to copy your image won't end up with a very good print.

    • Make sure you own the photo (or have written permission to post). I wouldn't want my cousins posting family photographs online that I own and you probably wouldn't your cousins to do so either.

    • Don't post images of living people. Genealogists generally recommend not posting information on living individuals and that rule applies to photos as well.  

    Now let's get to the fun part. Websites!  I have my personal favorites. Oh— did I mention that most of these sites are FREE?

    • History Pin.  Take a tour of the world or your neighborhood in the photos on this site.  There are "sets" of images that focus on themes.  This website just won an award for the best mobile app. Try it and see.

    • 1000Memories.  Need an online place to share your photos, stories and family videos, then check out this site.  I was stunned to see the possibilities. 

    • Dear Photograph. This is a really cool idea. Take a photograph of a place today then upload it and a historical photo of the same place. The juxtaposition of the two images is a lot of fun.

    • Ancient Faces and Dead Fred.  These two reunion websites can help you reconnect with "missing" family photographs.

    Let's not forget that you can upload images to genealogical sites such as Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com.

    I'm trying to beat the winter blahs and maybe you are, too. On my personal website, I'm having a Silly Old Snapshot Contest.  Upload an image, get folks to vote on it and you might end up winning a prize package. The contest ends on February 25. 


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • Photo fun | photo news | unusual photos | Web sites
    Monday, January 30, 2012 2:46:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [5]
    # Monday, December 27, 2010
    iPad Apps to Try
    Posted by Maureen

    I've had an iPad for a few months and I suspect that many readers of this blog own one too. I'm always on the look-out for interesting apps. Here are some that I can't wait to try. You can find all of these by visiting the app store on your iPad.

    Flickstackr ($1.99)
    I can't wait to see if this one lives up to it's tabletpcreview.com review. It connects to Flickr so you can browse photos, but it also lets you create a photo stack of images you want to save while you are looking.

    Sort Shots ($4.99)
    This photo-organizing app uses tags to quickly sort through images. It also lets you share photos using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa.

    Photobucket (free)
    Just like the photo-sharing website photobucket.com, you can search, sort and share images.

    Foto Editor (free)
    It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but you'll be able to make quick and simple edits on your photos on Foto Editor.

    Impression (free)
    This app will let you put an opaque watermark on your image to make it clear who owns the picture.

    The two apps I use the most on my iPad are Ancestry.com's app Tree to Go (free) and Blogshelf ($4.99). Blogshelf organizes all my favorite blogs like books on a shelf. I just love it.

    Have fun with your new apps and be sure to mention your favorite apps in the comment section below. I can't wait to try out some new ones.

    preserving photos | Web sites
    Monday, December 27, 2010 6:18:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Monday, August 03, 2009
    Tweet. Tweet. I'm on Twitter.
    Posted by Maureen

    I've watched fellow genealogists talk about Twitter, but I've held back. Books, magazine articles and newspaper articles mention the power of Twitter. Oh boy, I thought. 

    What is this new tool and how will I use it?   I'm not really sure at this point, but I decided to tip toe into this relatively new phenomena.  Over the weekend I signed up and had followers in seconds!

    Want to follow my tweets?  You can find me on Twitter. I'm open to suggestions on how to use it.  Sound off in the comments section of this blog post.


    Web sites
    Monday, August 03, 2009 4:07:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Monday, May 18, 2009
    Photo Favorites
    Posted by Diane

    This week I'm taking a break from a long column and featuring a few new online photo finds. 

    I 've been in love with photography for as long as I can remember. Started studying pictures as a toddler and had my first camera in second grade. In high school I was a member of an after school photo group (there were only four of us) and spent a lot of time in the dark room developing pictures. Photo history, picture taking techniques, picture research....you name it I've been involved in it.

    I read a wide array of materials on photography (new and old) so it was great to hear that the New York Times has yet another blog on pictures. It's called Lens: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism.  If you like photography, then you'll love reading these columns. One recent post discussed slow photography vs. digital quickness. The focus is large format pictures. The images are gorgeous!!

    Another New York Times blog covered the story of the Humiston children in a multi-part series. It's a fantastic tale of how one photograph can tell an intricate story--all you have to do is look at all the facets of the picture and put the pieces together.  It's a great piece of journalism by filmmaker, Errol Morris. You can read part one here.

    There is a new page on Flickr. The Jewish Women's Archive is looking for photographs of the Jewish mothers in our families.  The page is called: Jewish Mothers: The Way We Were, The Way We Are

    That's all for this week.


    Web sites
    Monday, May 18, 2009 7:23:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, August 18, 2008
    Meet the Photo Detective, Online and at FGS
    Posted by Maureen

    I'll be at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Philadelphia Sept. 2-6, and I hope I'll see you there. You can visit with me in my booth, #304, in the conference exhibit hall. It's a great chance to chat with me about your family photos or just stop by to say hi. Please do! I like meeting the folks who submit photos to this column. 

    At the conference, I'll also be presenting a workshop on identifying and preserving family photos. It's not too late to sign up for this special offering. You can register for the conference online until Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. Central time.  

    Last week the e-zine/blog Shades of the Departed asked me to write a short piece about the wedding photos I collect. I met the author of this informative and wonderful photo site, The Footnote Maven, through FaceBook. We're kindred spirits when it comes to old photos. Check out the story. I talk about seven of the images from my personal (though not my family) collection. If you've ever cried at wedding, then be advised. You'll need a tissue.

    Next week I'll feature a photo in this space that'll carry a warning, "Viewer discretion advised." Now doesn't that pique your interest!


    photo news | Web sites
    Monday, August 18, 2008 9:12:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Friday, February 15, 2008
    Fun and Simple Photo Editing
    Posted by Maureen

    I'm a fan of a relatively new website called Picnik.com. It may make you forget expensive photo editing programs even exist. Here's what to love.
    • It's online, Web-based software. All you do is access your pictures on your computer or use the ones you've uploaded to sites such as Flickr.com, Facebook.com, photobucket.com and webshots.com, and those in your Picasa Web albums. Pick a picture to edit and get started

    • It's free. There's a $24.99 upgrade for additional features, but most of the regular editing tools are free. If you want more fonts or creative tools, I recommend signing up for the full version.

    • Picnik's tools work with Macs, Windows and Linux operating systems.

    • It's fun. I played with a couple of pictures to see what could be done. I added shapes, captions and used the editing tools to improve the look of an old photo.

    • This Web-based program has a lot of power. You can sharpen blurry pictures, straighten crooked ones, correct redeye, fix exposure settings and a lot more. You can even resize pictures and select a format for saving (JPG, PNG, TIF, etc.).

    • Finally, once you're done, you can share the images by e-mailing them to family and friends or posting them to a list of Web sites, such as Flickr.
    You've got to try this to believe it. While it won't replace the sophisticated programs like Adobe Photoshop, it goes a long way to do more than the basics.

    I'd like you to sound off about your favorite photo editing program. For years I used Microsoft's Digital Image Pro, but now that's been discontinued. What do you use to "fix" your pictures? Click Comments and let me know.

    Next week I'll be back with more information on our Italian soldier.


    preserving photos | Web sites
    Friday, February 15, 2008 4:00:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Monday, October 22, 2007
    Old-Photo Reunions
    Posted by Maureen

    I have a friend who has phenomenal family history luck. Around each genealogical corner is another discovery. She goes to libraries and finds new family in almost every book she picks up, posts online queries and actually gets an answer.  A couple of years ago she used a popular message board to try to find out more about a couple that moved west. What do you think happened?  You're right. She met a distant cousin who not only knew all about the married pair, she had a photo album full of pictures from the 1870s. In one fell swoop she reconnected with a whole generation of folks. Sheesh!

    If you envy her picture success and want to locate pictures of your ancestors then try these tips:

    • Check out a reunion site.  
      • DeadFred.com is the most popular with more than 5,000 people looking for images each week. If you find family then email Joe and his staff. They'll try to facilitate a reunion by putting you in touch with the person who posted. If it's a picture that the staff at DeadFred bought and posted and you can prove your relationship, the picture is yours.
      • AncientFaces.com is probably the second runner up in the reunion category. I don't have stats for the site, but take a look. It's well worth a visit.
    • Post to a message board
      • When you post looking for information add that you'd love to see pictures of these ancestors as well. There are hundreds of genealogy message boards so rather than list them here go to Cyndislist.com for Queries and Message Boards.
    • Search digital libraries
      • The Library of Congress is just one of many libraries across the country and overseas with digital image collections. A list of sites appeared in the October 2003 issue of Family Tree Magazine in the article "Picturing the Past" by David Fryxell. That'll get you started, but in the four years since the article appeared even smaller historical societies and libraries have begun adding pictures to their web sites.
    Hope these tips enable you to find new images of relatives.  Share your successful photo reunions on the Photo Detective Forum. I can't wait to hear about what you've found!


    photo-research tips | Web sites
    Monday, October 22, 2007 2:50:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Tuesday, August 21, 2007
    FGS Conference Roundup
    Posted by Maureen

    Last week I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Fort Wayne Indiana and saw lots of folks who told me they regularly read this blog. Thank you!!  The content of this space is determined (in part) by the photos and comments you post to the Photo Detective Forum. Keep the ideas coming!

    At my lecture on "Genealogical Clues in Family Photographs", many of the attendees said they posted family photos on DeadFred.com in the hope of reuniting with "lost" family members.  Dead Fred is probably the oldest photo reunion site on the Web.

    If you haven't taken a look at what's in that online archive, you might be overlooking a valuable resource. Thousands of people search for family photos every week.

    One of the new kids on the block is a site called WeRelate, a collaborative venture with the Allen County Public Library. WeRelate is a wiki, which means anyone can add content and edit pages. Think of it as a type of social networking site for genealogists.

    WeRelate lets users to upload gedcom files and  documents. I particularly like the feature that lets you upload and annotate images. You can find out if any members of your family are participating by going to the WeRelate Web site and searching for your family surnames.


    organizations | Web sites
    Tuesday, August 21, 2007 6:12:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]