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Book Review: "Digitizing Your Family History"

Posted by Renee Sunday, October 4, 2009

Digitizing Your Family History
By Rhonda R. McClure (Family Tree Books, 2004)

In her introductory acknowledgment, author Rhonda McClure invites the reader to “Remember to grasp technology.”

This resonates well. Computers have revolutionized genealogy research, and in this excellent guide, McClure extends the boundaries of this revolution to encompass the larger circle of family history.

Digitizing Your Family History offers an easy, interesting read; McClure weaves relateable personal narrative and relevant technical information, and the reader receives an education and appreciation for the way things used to be (and how far things have come) while getting up to speed on the latest technology.

Beginning with a chapter focusing on the new horizons that digitizing offers to the family historian, this practical how-to reference provides a good introduction to image editing, working with vintage photos, and digitizing audio and video tapes. Chapters are logically sequenced, and well thought out icons in the margins call attention to tips, techniques, and online resources.
Scanning photos, paper documents, slides, and negatives are covered in great detail, and an entire chapter is dedicated to helping the reader choose the scanner or digital camera that is optimal for his needs. Another chapter focuses on the “Imaging Road Warrior,” and provides all the essential information needed for digitally preserving history on the road.

A highly-experienced genealogy researcher, McClure takes pains to emphasize the importance of keeping research journals, and offers practical advice for doing this with the tools at hand. She also addresses the challenges of organizing, printing, and sharing digital family history, and provides insightful tips and advice for meeting those challenges. All in all, Digitizing Your Family History is an excellent choice, particularly for beginning and intermediate “Digital Family Historians.”

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