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The Chicken Walked Here

Posted by Renee Friday, August 28, 2009 0 comments

Notes from the Salt Lake Family History Expo, Day 1

I occasionally read Beowulf in Old English. Out loud. For fun.

So when I saw The Chicken Walked Here: Principles & Procedures for Learning to Read Germanic & Scandinavian Gothic Script listed in the Salt Lake Family History Expo syllabus, I did a little happy dance. It spoke both to my Prussian roots and my Jeopardy gene.

This class was taught by Ruth Ellen Maness, AG, Senior Research Consultant, Scandinavian Reference at the LDS Family History Library, and quintessential expert on the subject. Ruth describes the principles driving the understanding of Gothic Script thus:

  1. You learn to read Gothic Script by reading it.
  2. You learn to read Gothic Script by writing it.
Deciphering Gothic Script (like reading Old English) takes practice and passionate dedication. But it's worth it, because there will come a moment when you realize that you are reading it, really reading it - fluently and effortlessly. The moment of “ah-ha.”

I love a good “ah-ha” moment, don’t you?

Here are few tidbits I from Ruth's class:

  • Use of the Gothic Script writing style, used primarily in the German and Scandinavian states, began in the 900’s, and continued well into the 1940's, when Adolf Hitler is credited with instituting a state enforced ban on its use.
  • Fun with Gothic Script...e's look like n's. K's look like R's. h's can look like f's. Q's & K's are interchangeable.
  • More fun: S's differ in shape and size based on their position in word – beginning, middle, or end - but are not mutually exclusive.

(Take that, Alex Trebek!

That barely scratches the surface: Ruth thoroughly outlines her principles and procedures in 15 well-organized pages of notes, available on the Expo syllabus.

Speaking of the syllabus, I second the endorsement my fellow "Blogger of Honor" Gena Ortega made in her blog: if were you were unable to attend the Expo, I urge you to consider purchasing one. Expo syllabus is a treasure chest brimming with 400 pages of handouts and relevant information about each class, it also includes links to additional resources and expert advice by all the amazing speakers. You can purchase the syllabus online at Family History Expos.

Be sure to check out Gena's Genealogy for more on the Expo, Day 1.

Coming soon:
"Why I Need GOOGLE Voice Yesterday"

In the days (and probably weeks) to follow, I will be highlighting both the people and the lessons of the Salt Lake Expo, so stay tuned.

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Wordless Wednesday: Beach Boys - Endless Summer

Posted by Renee Wednesday, August 26, 2009 0 comments

Photoloom founder Scott Huskey, with little brother Steven
California, 1967

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In less than 72 hours, the doors of the Salt Lake Family History Expo will swing open, and the fun will begin. If you plan to go, here’s a few booths to put on your “Must Do…” list:

PHOTOLOOM [Booth 313] (Well, of course you need to stop at our booth!)

We love to meet people at the Family History Expos. We learn so much from the folks we meet, and are inspired by their experiences. This week, we will be rolling out a couple of exciting new Family Photoloom features, and we hope you'll stop by to take a look!

I’m excited to announce our Expo Special – we will be offering our Family Photoloom Premium Start-up Kit for just $19! (Reg. $39)
Our Premium Start-up Kit is the perfect way to get started with Family Photoloom, and includes:

  • One full year of Family Photoloom Premium (including unlimited image uploads & unlimited guests)
  • Tutorial DVD
  • Start-up Guide
  • Friendly, Personalize Tech Support

Save even more! Buy a second Start-up Kit to give as a gift and get both for just $30! At that price, you can even get one for your favorite Aunt.

Can’t attend the Expo? Tweet or email me (renee@photoloom.com) and I’ll reply with a code that you can use use online to get same great price of just $19 for one year of Family Photoloom Premium. (Online offer does not include Start-up Guide or DVD.) Offer good Aug. 28 & 29, 2009.

Be sure to mention this blog when you come by our booth to receive a cool free gift!

Lisa Louise Cooke, the producer and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, is one of the warmest, most generous people you can hope to meet. Lisa provides genealogical resources and education through a variety of mediums, including video podcasts, and Genealogy Gems News blog.

Photoloom founder Scott Huskey talks with Lisa Louise Cooke at the Mesa FHExpo.

Lisa is also a “Blogger of Honor” at the Salt Lake Expo – be sure to follow her on Twitter, and tune in to her blog Genealogy Gems News for live updates from the Expo.

Stop by the Genealogy Gems booth ask for your free "I Listen to Genealogy Gems" badge ribbon to embellish your Family History Expo name tag. Then keep an eye out for others wearing the ribbon and give them a shout out as a fellow listener.

FLIXIFY [Booth 319 & 321]
Flixify is dedicated to helping people preserve, watch and share their home movies and digital photos. They don’t sell software – instead, they teach you how to get control of your stacks of home movies by showing you how to capture, edit, and burn them onto DVDs or share them on the web, all from your own computer. The entire process down has been broken down into easy, bite-size pieces, making the overall process very simple.

Flixify is offering a great Expo special – stop by their booth to learn more!

When I met Jean Wilcox Hibben awhile back, I was taken first by the fact that she holds a Ph.D. in Folklore (why didn’t I think of doing that?), and second, by her amazing dedication to preserving the music and traditions of our ancestors. As a collector of traditional folk music myself, I was fascinated by the depth and breadth of her knowledge, and I am looking forward to learning more from her at the Expo this week.

Jean, together with her husband, Butch, will be doing short demonstrations of the music of our ancestors, and offering a variety of great CD’s for sale. They also have something new this year: downloads of MP3 files onto a CD (or your own flash drive) so you can purchase just the songs you are most interested in.

Jean will be presenting a number of classes at the Expo, including “To Zion in Song," which documents the Mormon trek from Nauvoo to Salt Lake with the songs sung by the early Saints. According to Jean, “One of the most interesting songs we present is one that was written in 1946 by Myron Crandell. Crandell titled his song "This is the Place," after the prophetic statement Brigham Young made when he viewed the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. In its original form, this song consists of 7 verses which detail just about every major event from the departure from Iowa to the settling of Salt Lake City.”

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Wordless Wednesday: Anchors Aweigh

Posted by Renee Wednesday, August 19, 2009 0 comments

Robert Hancock [age 17] Autumn 1943
My Dad

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I’ll admit it - before I attended my first family history conference, I was a little intimidated. Scott had been to many as our resident researcher and family history consultant, but I wasn’t sure what there would be for me: my leanings fall far more toward scrapbooker than genealogist – I’m all about the pictures and the stories.

Now, the Salt Lake Family History Expo is kicking off in just over a week, and I plan to be there with bells on. Because I’ve learned that one of the great things about Family History Expos is that they offer something for everyone – from the hard-core genealogist to the casual scrapbooker.

Since that first conference, I’ve met some amazing people who really know their stuff. Rubbing shoulders with them is both a privilege and an education. And the upcoming Salt Lake Expo promises some awesome opportunities: top genealogists from around the country, staff from the LDS Family History Library, and top industry leaders will all be in one place to teach us what’s new, what’s coming, and how to make the most of our time and dollars. Here are a few of the classes I’m planning to attend next week:

  • Facebook for Family History
  • Digital Photography for the Genealogist
  • The Chicken Walked Here (Learning to Read Gothic Script)
  • Serendipity and Other Miracles: Why You Need Family History
  • Digitally Enhancing Your Photos
  • To Zion in Song: The Westward Migration of the Mormons

Of course, there are classes on everything from Scottish research to Census Records to Researching in your RV. And FamilySearch is offering a number of classes, including one on using the new FamilySearch Family Tree. (Photoloom has joined the FamilySearch Developer Network, and plans to be FamilySearch certified soon.) In other words, there is something for everyone.

Come by the Photoloom booth (313) and mention this blog to receive a FREE gift!

The Nitty-gritty Details:
What: The 2009 Salt Lake City, Utah Family History Expo
When: Aug. 28 and 29, 2009, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: South Towne Exposition Center, 9575 South State Street, Sandy, Utah.
Why: Because it will be great and you know you want to!
How: Register online or at the door (7 a.m. on Friday & 7:30 a.m. on Saturday)
Parking is free.

Full conference details, including a complete class schedule

Can’t attend in person? We hope you will be there – but if you can’t come to us, we will come to you. Just follow the Blogger Team! We will be reporting live from the Expo via Twitter and our personal and company blogs. Have a question? Tweet it and you'll have an answer in moments. (Please include #fhx09-SLC in all your Salt Lake Expo tweets.)

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Family Threads: Long Day at the Fair

Posted by Renee Saturday, August 15, 2009 1 comments

Sometimes I need to remind myself that even as we labor to gather, document, and conserve the history of our generations past, we must also remember to preserve the people and images of today. Family history is happening.

It was with this in mind that I chose the image for today’s blog post: Our daughter, Olivia, with Zane, her Welsh pony. In the summer of 2004, Zane was twenty years old, and stood about 12.1 hands. Livy was eleven and just a bit taller. Livy was a quiet, profoundly layered child, and Zane a good listener. It was a good fit.

The summer of ’04 was hot and dry, at least by Oregon standards. Every bootstep across the fairgrounds sent a little cloud of dust puffing out from under your heel, and the water hoses behind the 4-H barns were flowing non-stop – kids were giving their horses second and third baths just for an excuse to play in the water.

Throughout the week of fair, Livy competed in both Western and English classes, and even earned a Championship ribbon for English Walk-Trot. There were other wins and other ribbons, but I don’t remember them all now. (It’s astounding had quickly history can fade!) The picture here was taken on the afternoon of Showmanship trials, long after ribbons were handed out and hair was let down.

There is another image like this one, taken earlier in the day – one in which Livy is smiling, bright and combed, and Zane is standing square, head up, eyes dancing. And while it is a lovely picture, it is this image that holds my memory: this singular bond of girl and horse – this tie that will be never broken. He will always be her first love, and she his girl. A moment in our family history? Yes. But also, a portrait of the infinite, enduring threads that weave the fabric of our lives.

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Family Threads: At the Knee of Grandma G.

Posted by Renee Friday, August 7, 2009 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Donna Cook (my very favorite 1st Cousin Once Remove)

I never liked history in high school. What I recall from history textbooks is a slew of names and dates I found impossible to remember. It was dry, boring, and bad for my test scores.

Then I grew up and encountered history in a completely new way. I encountered stories. You know, not just the long-winded chronologies in history books, but engaging, flesh-and-bone, pull-you-in stories. Suddenly the names from history became more than just names... they became people. Fascinating people. People I wondered about. What was it like to live back then? What was it like to go through what they went through?

I find myself asking the same questions about the people on my family tree.

For some of these people, I may never know more than the most basic information: where they were born, who they married. Still, when I see things like the death of several small children in a family, I wonder about them. I wonder what it was like for them. It makes them more real and they begin to feel like my family. If only they... or someone... had written their stories down.

For other people on my family tree, I have details that bring them to life. They're small details, I don't have any fabulous civil war diaries hanging out in my family tree like some people do. Even so, I love these small details: the great uncle who ran a grocery store (I even have a picture of him there), the widowed mother who brought her two young boys from Virginia to North Carolina so she could live with her sister, the great-great grandfather who was a preacher. It's not much, but it's enough to pull my heart in their direction. It's enough to make me wonder.

Not surprisingly, the people I know the most about are either still living, or died not that long ago. My favorite story is one about my great-grandma, "Grandma G" (pictured here at age 19). When she was in her 90's, I sat at her feet and she told me what it was like when she was a little girl like me. When she was young, her family moved from Cunningham, Kansas to Campo, Colorado... in a covered wagon. It was a long trip, and there wasn't a lot to do. She explained there were no TV's and no radios. I was genuinely astonished by this. "What did you play with?" I asked her.

"I had one doll to play with," she said, "and I was grateful to have that."

It was a teaching moment for me. To be grateful for one doll. It said a lot about the character of my grandma too, and I've never forgotten it. This is a story I've recorded for future generations to enjoy. It's not fancy. It's not much. But maybe one day my great-grandchildren will wonder what it was like for me to sit at the knees of my great-grandmother and hear a story like that.

It was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

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Wordless Wednesday: Arizona Heat

Posted by Renee Wednesday, August 5, 2009 1 comments

My Aunt Virginia [nee Minnie] Hancock - age 16
with husband Luther Proctor
Arizona, circa 1928

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Noting Photo History

Posted by Renee Tuesday, August 4, 2009 0 comments

Below is a screen shot from my personal Family Photoloom account. The picture in the main frame was taken on my Dad’s 80th birthday. We had just thrown him a surprise party – complete with balloons and cake and old friends – and, almost as an afterthought as we were packing up after the party, we asked my daughter’s friend Sara to snap a quick family picture. We even noted at the time that it was the only picture we’d ever taken of the whole family that included all five of my daughters. It turned out that it was also the last picture ever of taken of Dad – he died six weeks later.
The particulars surrounding the history of this picture make it all the more meaningful me, and I don’t want those details to fade with time. I want to be able to record them and associate them to this specific picture.

I usually find a way of getting what I want.

In this case, I know the developers of Family Photoloom pretty well, so when I asked last week if I could plan on posting my next blog about a "Notes" feature that didn't exist at the time, I was relatively confident that it would be up and running by the time I was ready to hit "publish post." They didn't let me down.

Our newly added Picture Notes couldn’t be easier to use: just pop open the Title Pane (indicated by the red arrows above) and type or paste up to 1024 characters (roughly a 170 words) into the window labeled “Picture Notes."
While we're on the subject, let's look at a few other notable features of the Title Pane.

The fields that are initially revealed when you click on the Title Pane are for recording specific data about the picture, and can all be edited. This includes Title, Location, Date, Source, and now, Picture Notes.

But wait! Click "More" and a second tier of fields appears below the Title Pane. These additional fields are automatically populated by Family Photoloom, and include revision information and unique image identification numbers.

Let's examine that last one. Note the green arrow in the image above pointing to the Picture URL. (No, not Oliver Queen.) Every picture uploaded to Family Photoloom is assigned a unique URL. This file name is encrypted, which allows you to do a couple of significant things:

  • Send a picture to someone without giving them access to your Family Photoloom account.
  • Blog - safely and confidently - using pictures from your Family Photoloom account, without the threat of someone hacking into your other pictures. Example: If one of your blog photos has a URL that has a Family_Vacation_23.jpg in the URL, it stands to reason that if I l change the 23 to a 22, I’m likely to find more of your pictures – maybe even ones you don’t want me to see.
Family Photoloom avoids this scenario entirely.

To wrap things up, let’s go back to the beginning. Last week, I asked you to find a picture of someone in your family - old or new, alive or long departed - and write down six sentences about him or her. That's it. One picture, six sentences. Did you do it? Yes! That's great!! Now, you are ready for this week's...(insert kettle drum-roll here)...

Family History Challenge O’ the Week: You guessed it! Go onto your Family Photoloom account and add those six sentences to a picture of that relative. How easy is that?

Register online for the Salt Lake Family History Expo today!

Remember to add me on Twitter - @Photoloom

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