Sunday, December 21, 2014

Scanfest is Coming!

The December 2014 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, December 28th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard 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 Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve 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.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 19 December 2014

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

Yes. No. And maybe. by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist - is the Bible under copyright?

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War Records Project by Dick Eastman at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - with NINE direct ancestors who served in the Union Army, and many of them becoming members of the GAR, this information is very welcome!

Ghost Signs, Ghost Town by Larry Cebula at Northwest History - when my children were little, we used to visit small Eastern Washington towns on Sunday afternoons. We never made it to Sprague, but Larry does a great job of filling us in.

New National Archives Catalog at The Newberry Library Genealogy News - what the new, updated catalog holds

Solving a "mystery of baseball" by Zachary Garceau at Vita Brevis - learning more about the first African-American major league baseball player

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@Geneosity, @jlmunozr, @msgeneaology, @WillsmanOneName, @pickandming, @BobCumberbatch, @cind101, @rootschat, @ljjackson1958, @ARodesky, @randywhited, @legalgen, @ALifetimeLegacy, @IndianaGenSoc, @packrat74, @TrappDollaSign, @_genchat

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 Scanfest Dates

Here's a handy poster to help you remember the upcoming Scanfest dates for 2015. Please remember that dates are occasionally subject to change, but I will do my best to maintain this schedule. Those marked with an asterisk will be held one week early, due to an upcoming holiday weekend (Memorial Day and the American Thanksgiving, respectively). Times are Pacific Time. We are in Standard Time until March 8th, when we switch to Daylight Savings Time until November 1st.

I'm looking forward to scanning and chatting with my genealogy friends in the coming year!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015 Genealogy Blog Post Planner Now Available

Last year, I created a genealogy blog post planner with the hope that it would help me get a little more organized and consistent with my blogging. And you know what? It worked!

Sure, I wasn't perfect and there were times when I went too long between blog posts. But when I compare this year's blogging with the past two years, there definitely was an improvement in the quantity of my posts.

Click to enlarge
 As you can see (and click the images to enlarge for a better view), I have created seven columns titled Day, Date, Blog Post Ideas, Notes, Draft, Scheduled, and Posted. The header includes a hyperlinked URL to Geneabloggers for more great blog post ideas.

Click to enlarge
I color-coded each month for ease of use. Don't worry. If you want to change the colors, including going back to an all-white background, you can do so when you download this as an Excel file. In fact, you can personalize any part of this template. The only thing I've frozen are the headers, so that when you scroll down, you can always see them. Note this in the image below.

Click to enlarge
The image above also shows how I'm already using my 2015 Genealogy Blog Post Planner. You can see that I've started planning for Scanfest and Tuesday's Tips.

To get your own 2015 Genealogy Blog Post Planner, go to At the top of the page, click on File > Download As > Microsoft Excel. If you wish to keep this in your own Google Drive, download it first, save it to your computer, and then upload it to Google Drive. You can also request this template from me via email. Also, if you're an Evernote or OneNote fan, you can paste this into your notebooks (some formatting changes may occur).

If you like what you've found here, please repost it on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, using the icons below. Happy New Year, and best of luck in your blogging!

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spokane, Washington High School Yearbooks Available Online

June 1915 edition of North Central High School's Tamarack

The Spokane Public Library recently announced that a free new digital collection of historical Spokane-area high school yearbooks is now accessible through their website. This collection is made available with the cooperation of the Spokane Public Schools and the Internet Archive. All the yearbooks are full-text searchable. Each is available in a variety of formats, making it viewable on many devices, including your laptop, Kindle, or phone. They can be downloaded to your computer or other device as well.

The following is a current list of yearbooks available, with the high school it features and the years that are covered. Note that in the early twentieth century, it was not uncommon to have two yearbooks per school year, to highlight seniors who graduated mid-year, as well as those who graduated at year's end.

Hillyard High School (no longer in existence): 1930-1931

Lewis and Clark High School: June 1920 - 1977

North Central High School: May 1912 - January 1915

Spokane High School (no longer in existence): January and June 1911

The yearbooks can be accessed through the Spokane Public Library website at

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 12 December 2014

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

Facebook changing again by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist - and like she says, "it's basically no big deal."

15-step social media marketing plan to help you promote your next genealogy conference by Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte - belong to a genealogical society or on a conference committee? Here are some great tips.

Finding father by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist - don't know which DNA test to take? Here's an easy-to-understand primer.

Best Practices for Reliable Research by Elizabeth Shown Mills at Evidence Explained's blog

School library’s late fees ‘Gone With the Wind’ by Jody Lawrence-Turner at The Spokesman-Review

Story of returned 1946 copy of ‘Gone With the Wind’ grows by Shawn Vestal at The Spokesman-Review

Digital Archives, State Library among best genealogy sites, again by Brian Zylstra at From Our Corner (Washington Secretary of State blog)

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@Fuentesarchivos, @ambrotype7, @GenealogyDocs, @ggirltalks, @BrassServices, @caitieamanda, @Areyoumycousin, @VHughesAuthor, @prsnalhistgn_dp, @heritagefamily, @WTPGenealogy, @JaneSheehan1, @scarboomum, @AchievementsGen, @Historylady2013, @alenars, @PaulJMurray1, @LMentaryFH, @GeneaWorkshop, @Wanda_Langdon, @TurisGen, @AncestoryArchiv

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: The Tiny Portrait

(click photo to enlarge)

I received a little package the other day in the mail. The Tiny Portrait, by Heidi Carla, is a tale of two siblings, Tess and Toby, who discover a Memory Box full of antiques and heirlooms. As they delve into its treasures, they discover a mysterious woman named Lottie in a tiny portrait from the past. She takes them on an adventure through their community. Along the way, they learn about their family history by studying postcards and diaries, visiting the library, and meeting an antique dealer.

In reading this, I was reminded of both the movie Hugo and the best-selling children's series, the Magic Tree House. Enigmatic characters, attempts at unlocking puzzles to the past, and a little bit of magic are perfect ingredients for any enchanting tale.

This delightful story is cleverly illustrated with a unique combination of photomontage and composite printing by the author's sister, Karla Cinquanta. The heirlooms in the photos are from the author's personal collection. Here are a couple of my favorite pages from the book:

(click photos to enlarge)

Ms. Carla began writing The Tiny Portrait while researching her family tree. Sure to please all ages, it would be a terrific gift to give a young relative to get them interested in their own genealogy. In fact, I have a couple of grandnieces in mind that I'm sure will enjoy receiving this as a Christmas gift! Shhh!


The Tiny Portrait by Heidi Carla, illustrated by Karla Cinquanta. Hardback, 52 pages. Published 2014 by Curly & Iceburg Publishing, Cranston, Rhode Island. Available on Amazon.


Disclosure: I received a free book from Cadence Marketing Group for review. As an Amazon Associate, I also receive a small percentage of the purchase price when readers purchase a title through the Amazon link above, although this title is available at other websites and various bookstores.

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