How to Create a Coloring Book for Family History

create a coloring bookColoring books are all the rage for adults and kids. Let this project and these free online tools inspire you to create a coloring book to celebrate your heritage.

Last Christmas, my mom Cheryl McClellan created a coloring book for our extended family out of family artwork. She requested copies of line drawings from every willing relative, especially her grandchildren (ages 3-20). Then she added her own childhood artwork, some of mine, and some of her mother’s, so four generations are represented.

create a coloring book

The flowers on the left, originally painted by my grandma, wasn’t as easily colored because of all the dark areas. My mom’s childhood drawing and my son’s, on the right, both made very “colorable” images.

Then she simply photocopied each page to make it into a coloring page. She experimented with the black-and-white settings until she got the best quality reproductions for coloring.

The grandchildren’s artwork came out the best because they created images meant to be colored (with lots of lines and spaces and no shading). The older artwork reproduced with varying degrees of success. But all were fun to include. She chose not to bind the completed book, so the pages would be easier to color, but instead put each person’s collection of coloring pages in large envelopes.

More tools and ideas: Create a coloring book

To create your own family coloring book, gather family photos (or artwork) from your family archive that would be interesting to color. Consider pictures of relatives, homes, heirlooms, or other objects of significance to your current family life or your family history. The best images will have plenty of contrast in them (lights and darks).

Choose your favorite free online photo editing tool, if you have one. Examples include Pixlr.com and Snapstouch.com. I chose Snapstouch because it’s super easy. Here are the instructions on Snapstouch:

1. From the home page, select which final visual effect you prefer: I chose Sketch. (Depending on the photo and the desired effect, you might also choose Drawing or Outline.)

2. Choose your image file from your computer.

3. Select additional options, as shown here. (In Sketch mode, you can choose a darker pencil sketch and faces to be refined).

4. Click UPLOAD. Wait for the file to upload to the site.

5. After the upload is complete, you’ll see the option to click SKETCH. Click and wait for a moment.

6. If the final image is not to your liking, play with the options (you don’t need to re-upload the photo to do this). OR switch to a different visual effect and experiment.

7. Click DOWNLOAD when you’ve got the image you want.

Convert Files for Free with This Online Tool I Use

online file converter featured image convert filesNeed to convert files to another file format? Whether images, sound files or even video, you may be able to do this for free online.

These days, it’s common to preserve digital copies of your most important genealogy files: oral history interviews, photographs, documents, even digitized family history books. But sometimes we’re given a file our computer won’t read, or we want to share a file on a website that doesn’t like the format we have. Also, at some point, file formats change, so we need to convert them so they’ll still be readable in future years.

Here’s a gem of a website that can help: Online-Convert.com. They make it simple and free to convert your files to new and different formats. For example, you can turn a sound file recorded by your computer or recording device into the popular MP3 format, which is so much easier to share because it is universal and a smaller file than uncompressed files such as .WAV files. You can turn your word-processing document into the nearly-universally readable PDF format, or even into an e-book format readable on Kindle or other e-readers!

Simply go to the site and select the type of file conversion you want to do:

online file converter screen shot convert files

convert files audio screenshotOnce you’ve chosen a file format, you’ll see a list of the different file formats to which you can convert. Click to learn more about them. And see the area with an X over it in the image shown here? That’s an ad. Don’t click on it. Just scroll down to the list of options available on this site.

The site will either recommend tools you can download to convert files yourself, or they will do them for you. Basic use of the site is free; you can subscribe to premium features for a fee.

The site’s blog has some great information, too, such as a post on how to capture audio material from a video. Then consult this post on what kinds of audio files you can insert into a PowerPoint presentation–and you’ll be able to insert a voice-over from Grandma’s video interview into your new PowerPoint slide show.

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How to Organize Notes in Evernote Notebooks

how to organize notes in Evernote notebooks

Use these step-by-step instructions to organize notes in Evernote notebooks.

Recently Donna watched one of my Evernote for genealogy webinars. She wrote in afterward to give the webinar a thumbs-up and ask this question about how to organize notes in Evernote notebooks:

“I…have been happily using Evernote for a while now so I already have lots of notes, notebooks and stacks. Got web clipper, made my Genealogy and Personal notebooks, added tags you suggested, and discovered Evernote Clearly is no longer available. But you’re right, I’ve lost some of the notes in the myriad. What is the best way to begin putting notes into the new Genealogy & Personal notebooks?  Is there another video on that? Thanks for being there for us, Lisa, All our stuff can become overwhelming if it can’t be organized.”

shortcut through time organize notes in Evernote

Genealogy Gems

I’m so glad that Donna found the video helpful!

The thing about getting organized is that sometimes it can gobble up all your research time. So one approach I often recommend is just to move Evernote notes as you use them. That way you can keep researching, while getting more organized each day. As you create new notes you’ll be putting them directly where they belong, and as you use existing notes, you can tidy them up as you go.

If you feel more comfortable getting everything moved in one fell swoop, that’s good too. One way to save time is with a simple trick: decide what you have more of (Genealogy or Personal) and then move ALL your notes into that notebook. So if you have more Genealogy notes, all your notes will be in that notebook. Now you only have less than 1/2 of your notes that need to be moved to Personal.

You can move the rest to the other notebook by selecting multiple notes at once. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Click the Genealogy notebook in the left column.
2. In the center column are all of your notes. Click the first note in your list to be moved.
3. Hold down the Control key on your keyboard.
4. Now click to select each additional note you want to move to the Personal notebook. (Use the wheel on your mouse to scroll down as you need to.) Your notes will be collecting in the right-hand window pane, and a dialog box will appear.
5. In that dialog box, click the Move to Notebook button and click to select the desired notebook from your list (ex. Personal).
6. For good measure, click the Sync button to manually synchronize all of your notes.

I heard back from Donna with this comment:

“Thank you Lisa! Within a matter of minutes I was able to move my notes and notebooks into the two stacks.  Now that Personal and Genealogy are separated, I’ll follow your suggestion to tidy up the notes as I go and add all my tags (which I hadn’t realized the importance of before the video). Ahhhh!  It feels so good to have it clearly organized! You rock, Lisa!”

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedThis website is packed with resources for using Evernote for genealogy! Click here to find free tips and videos to get started. To REALLY make Evernote work for your family history, become a Genealogy Gems Premium website member. Members have a full year’s access to my Ultimate Evernote Education for Genealogists instructional video series with their membership.

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit: Mark Your Calendars

CANGen Great Canadian Genealogy SummitAn inaugural event: The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN), to be held October 21-23, 2016, at the Courtyard by Marriott, Brampton, Ontario.

The first-ever Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN) will be held October 21-23, 2016. The conference even includes time at a regional archive–with a workshop held on how to research there.

“The Summit showcases Canadian genealogists who have an expertise in the record sets relating to the early settlers of Canada,” says an event press release. “On October 21, we have arranged a day at the Ontario Archives. And better still, for those with United Empire Loyalist ancestors who are mind boggled with the documentation required for your UEL application, former Dominion Genealogist Kathryn Lake Hogan will be offering a workshop with the at the Archives. She will share her expertise on what documentation is required and how to access the documents at the Archives.”

The opening event features a social time that will be kicked off by Jennifer Debruin, a writer and genealogist who will tell stories about Canadian ancestors. Saturday’s program offers five ethnic tracks: Irish, English, French Canadian, Canadian and Scottish ancestors. Sunday features methodology with Louise St. Denis (who is providing each registrant with a certificate for a FREE course at the NIGS). Lynn Palermo wraps things up with a session on writing up family history.

Registration for the full weekend is just $159 Canadian ($125 USD). Registration for Saturday-only is $119 ($93 USD). All registrations include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, free access to Findmypast and admission to the exhibition hall. Click here to register.

COMING UP IN JUNE 2016: Ontario Genealogical Society with Lisa Louise Cooke

More Canadian Genealogy Gems

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We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gems new genealogy records onlineHere’s this week’s roundup of new genealogy records online. Highlights: Canadian marriages, German emigrants, Philippines civil registrations, Russian and Ukrainian church records and Michigan marriages.

CANADA – MARRIAGES. A new collection of district marriage register images for Ontario, Canada (1801-1858) is now free to browse at FamilySearch.org. Most entries are for the 1830s-1850s.

GERMANY – EMIGRANTS. The (former) Grand Duchy of Oldenburg Emigrants database just passed the 100.000 person mark. According to a note from the site host, “The database contains beside the emigrant itself also the family members we could trace in Germany or the Country to which he migrated.” Learn more at this blog post from the Oldenburgische Gesellschaft für Familienkunde. Click here to hear online German records expert Jim Beidler talk about new German records online.

PHILIPPINES – CIVIL REGISTRATIONS. FamilySearch.org has added 1.7 million+ browsable records to an existing collection of Philippines national civil registration records (1945-1984). These are described as “marriage and death certificates from various localities,” excluding Manila, for which there is a separate database.

RUSSIA – CHURCH. Nearly half a million browsable records have been added to a free FamilySearch.org collection of church books for Tatarstan, Russia (1721-1939). These are described as “images of births and baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials performed by priests of the Russian Orthodox Church in the republic of Tatarstan.” More records are being added as they are available.

UKRAINE – CHURCH. Another 205,000 browsable records have been added to a free FamilySearch.org collection of church book duplicates for Kyiv, Ukraine (1734-1920).

U.S. – MICHIGAN – MARRIAGES. FamilySearch.org has added more than 60,000 indexed names to its collection of Michigan county marriage records (1820-1940) and another 2000+ names to its collection of Michigan church marriage records (1865-1931).

Share BoldThanks for sharing this post about new genealogy records online with your genealogy buddies on your favorite social media sites! We love spreading good news.

 

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