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Family Threads: Uncle Lucky

Posted by Renee Monday, December 29, 2008 1 comments

We lost our Uncle Lucky last week. Lucky was a man generous in every way, with a warm laugh as big as the great outdoors that he loved, and a heart even bigger. But last Saturday night, his great heart failed him as it had never failed anyone else, and by Monday he was gone.

Bound not by blood or marriage, but by faith and friendship, Lucky and his wife Brenda have been a part of our family for nearly two decades. Unofficial godparents to our children, Lucky and Brenda are the friends you hope to find once in a lifetime and the Uncle and Aunt most children can only dream of – steadfast, selfless, and full of fun.

When our girls were younger, our two families spent long summer weekends camping together. If I close my eyes, I can still see Lucky encircled by a ring of little girls – his and ours – fannies planted in the stream, faces streaked with mud-brown war paint, heads thrown back, water splashing, laughter and giggles and squeals rising through the trees, resonating through the forest. It is a golden moment.

Lucky embodied the spirit of service, always reaching out selflessly whenever and wherever he was needed. As recently as last month, when Scott and I attended the Family History Expo in Mesa, it was Uncle Lucky and Aunt Brenda who accompanied our 15-year old to her National Honor Society induction, bringing her a bouquet of roses that inexplicably lasted for nearly a month – almost as long as Lucky.

It was Lucky who spent hours with me in his cold garage in the winter of ‘91, carefully cutting out pieces of rock-hard black walnut for the cradle that we built together for my now 16-year old daughter. And it was Lucky, who, nine years later, fearlessly gave the same daughter a blessing of complete recovery after a serious and severe car accident, long before the doctors pronounced her miraculously healed. Somewhere in between those two events, Lucky also managed to bring a message of hope and redemption to our family for which we will quite literally be grateful to him for eternity.

In short, Uncle Lucky (or ‘Unka Hunky’ as one of our daughters dubbed him) is as much a part of our family as our own brothers and sisters, and has a place now and eternally in our family history – his love and faith will influence the lives of our family members for generation upon generation.

At Photoloom LLC, we believe that one of the great purposes of family history is to extend beyond the boundaries of the genealogy chart, to bring light and life to the generations that came before, and humanity and hope to the generations that follow.

“Family Threads” is a periodic feature of “Above the Trees.” If you have a photograph and family story that you’d like to share readers - particularly one that highlights how Family Photoloom enriches your family history - please contact us today. All submissions are subject to editing for space and content.

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'Tis the Season for Making Memories

Posted by Scott Thursday, December 18, 2008 0 comments

As our family grows and our children venture into the world beyond our doors, we find our holiday gatherings all the more special. In the coming days, we will be gathering our family together, even flying a couple in from out of state.

So much of our holiday revolves around photos – they draw us together. Through their images, we reminisce about old times – the stories shared, the lives lived, the loved ones lost and found along the way. And throughout each day that we are together, we create for new moments and capture new images – photographs of tomorrow’s memories.

The holidays are a great time to get help from your family with identifying people in your old photographs. This season, as you sip your eggnog or take a break from the traditional family Monopoly game, consider grabbing those old family picture albums, and share with your family the memories and stories that come to mind simply by browsing their pages. Open an album (or a shoebox) and you’re sure to hear someone saying, “I remember when…"

I have found that it is my great-aunts who are able to fill in the blanks when it comes to old photographs. This reminds me of a family reunion we had at Roman Nose State Park, Oklahoma, in the year 2000. I thought I had it made. I brought a scanner and laptop, a cousin provided a projector and a printer, and I had more great-aunts assembled than ever before.

We sat together, the great-aunts and me, looking through photographs one at a time. At one point, I came across an old school photo, an image of twenty or thirty children. My Great-Aunt Hyla shouted, “Stop – I remember when this was taken! That’s me in the third row!” Then she went on to name three or four more people in the photograph.

We thought we were so smart. We printed the picture out and asked her to write down the names of all the people she could remember, with a circle around each face and a line to their name. We did this for several other photographs. I wish I had had Family Photoloom back then. Because although these printouts captured the information I wanted, they were no good after I folded them up, put them in my pocket, and accidentally lost them. (arghhh!)

Family Photoloom was created just for times like these. Give it a try. Upload a few pictures of the family – even better if you are not really sure who is in them. Then take some time during your family gathering to bring up your pictures on Family Photoloom... and wait, just wait for someone to a say,“ I remember when this was taken! That’s me in the third row!”

With Family Photoloom, you are ready with the tools you need to capture this information right in the moment. Plus, you can immediately share it with others. No DVD’s to burn and mail (been there, done that too many times – perhaps another Blog topic). It feels so good to be able to share photos with your entire family; not only can they tell you who’s in the pictures, but also how they are related to each other. Help your pictures come alive by gathering your family around them, and capture some old memories while you make new ones.

Happy Holidays from Photoloom!

Photo-scanning Resources
Be sure to read our post January 5, 2009 - No More Fuzzy Faces.

A great option for scanning photographs is to use the services of a Utah-based company called Securing Memories. (Update 7/27/09: Formally know as Echo Media) They scan negatives, slides, and photos from any format. We recommend them because we have found them to be a good group of people who do their work well, and they have a great respect for the treasure that their clients entrust to them. If you use them to digitize your media, they will upload your images to your Photoloom account at no extra charge!

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Mesa Family History Expo - It's All in the Family

Posted by Renee Friday, December 5, 2008 1 comments

One of the best parts about being members of the Family History community is the people. We meet hundreds of people at conferences and classes, and everyone – attendees, speakers, and exhibitors alike – form a sort of extended family, anchored on common ground: we all share this almost instinctive passion for finding our roots and preserving the past.

For example, it was when we attended our first conference as an exhibitor last winter that we met Dusty and Sasha from
Genetree. Boy, if you ever want to have a great conversation and feel welcome, just go visit Dusty and Sasha; they’ll make you feel like family from the moment you meet them.

Now, with the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, we want to take a minute to catch our breath and tell you about our recent conference – the Family History Expo in Mesa Arizona last month.

We had a great time in Mesa. There were about 1000 attendees at the conference, and about a quarter of them stopped by our booth to talk about Family Photoloom, pick up a brochure, or sign up for a Free Trial account.

The first day of the Mesa Conference was a banner day for us – November 14th marked the official launch of Family Photoloom subscription service. Our first customer was Mary, from Ward Nevada! Posting a confirmation email on the wall is not quite as satisfying as framing a first dollar, but we are excited that Family Photoloom is finally up and running. Maybe we can do a cash withdrawal for one crisp dollar bill to frame.

At the Mesa Conference, Scott gave a one-hour class that provided a thorough walk-through of Family Photoloom. And Lisa Louise Cooke from Genealogy GEMS interviewed Scott - we think she did a great job helping him get the message out about Family Photoloom - thanks Lisa!

The weather for the conference was super! We were amazed that they actually planned activities outside in November – something we would never do up back home in the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. On the first day of the conference, we noticed a large group seated outside chatting. It didn’t even occur to us until the speaker began his address that they had been waiting for a class to begin!

Downtown Mesa is lovely, and the streets are filled with wonderful life-sized sculptures of familiar scenes. However, we did have a lot of trouble finding a place eat in the evening – apparently they roll up the sidewalks at about 7:00 pm on Saturday night – we were later told that after dark all the action is in a neighboring college town. We did find a great taco stand where they cooked carne asada outside and the air smelled like heaven. Very affordable and very good. But we’ll be smarter for the next Mesa conference, January 22-23, 2010.

On the last day of the show, we connected with three companies that we’d especially like to tell you about, because they each have the potential to enhance your Photoloom experience.

First, Echo Media. (Update 7/27/09: Echo Media has changed it's web location, and is now known as Securing Memories) We met up with Echo Media for the first time at a previous Family History conference, and we’ll soon have them up and running as a Photoloom affiliate. They play a vital role – Echo Media can scan negatives, slides, and photos from any format; especially useful for folks who don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to scan images on their own. All the images come back digitizede and enhanced. If you use them to digitize your media, they will upload your images to your Photoloom account at no extra charge!

We also met Ken, Debra, and Kay from AGES-online. AGES-online is all about online-genealogy. They provide a web-service that lets you do all your genealogy recording online. Why do that? Accessibility and collaboration. These are the SAME benefits we offer to Family Photoloom site members through ONLINE picture sharing. Also because Family Photoloom uses only enough information from your genealogy to organize your pictures and tell your family history – AGES-online is a perfect match, giving you extensive genealogy capabilities.

Finally, LDSJournal really caught our eyes: you couldn’t miss them – they had a gigantic billboard on a truck driving around outside. Scott met with Nick, the founder, and talked about the LDSJournal service, a free service that is designed to help you record your personal history. LDSJournal is similar to Photoloom in that journals are generally kept private, available only to the individual; Photoloom keeps your content private, available only to invited guests. Both are used to record family history.

As I said in the beginning, the people are the best part of being a member of the Family History community. It was great to connect with Diane from Family Tree Magazine and catch up with Dear Myrtle. Our friend Sasha from Genetree even brought cake to celebrate Genetree’s first anniversary. And Dusty? Well, he wasn’t able to attend this time. He stayed home to share a little personal family history in the making, with his new baby, daughter Izzy. Congratulations, Dusty. We hope to see you in St. George this February.

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