Recently I heard from listener Tom, who is trying to document Civil War veterans from Washington state. “I am taking pictures of their headstones,” he says. “I currently use just a spray bottle and soft brush to wash away the 100 years plus of dirt so I can better see and photograph the inscriptions. Do you have a better way to clean and photograph or maybe rub the headstones?”
I don’t recommend tombstone rubbings because each time a genealogist does that it wears the headstone down just a little bit more, causing deterioration.
However, I have a better solution for how to read a faded tombstone. I created a free video based on an article I wrote for Family buy serc medication Tree Magazine. It’s called Grave Transformations and you can watch it for free on Family Tree Magazine’s YouTube channel or just watch below. The idea is that instead of touching the headstone at all, you can simply manipulate your photographic images of it instead! Watch the video and you’ll see those faded letters come back into view. It’s pretty cool!
Did you know the Genealogy Gems You Tube Channel has over 70 free videos on a wide variety of genealogical topics? Click to go to our channel’s home page. Be sure to click the SUBSCRIBE button on the channel so that you won’t miss our new videos when they are published!
In this episode you will hear how one man’s passion for geography and history were saved from destruction, and you’ll find out what a portable scanner can do for your genealogy research and mobility.
My Latest Travels
I wrapped up my recent round of travels last week with a trip to Sumner, Washington where I spoke at the Autumn Quest Annual Seminar sponsored by the Heritage Quest Library. It was a packed room and we spent the day talking about how to find your family history in newspapers, using Google Earth for Genealogy, how to find living relatives and most importantly how to save your research from destruction.
There seemed to be a bit of serendipity involved in this particular speaking engagement, which was booked many many months ago. Recently Bill’s mom made the big move to a lovely retirement home and she really wanted her kids to get together and go through the house and pick up the items they wanted to keep, and then prepare the house to be rented out. As it turned out, amazingly enough, this was the ideal weekend to corral all four kids together to do that before the renovations on the house started.
So after Saturday’s seminar, on Sunday we all got together and although my mother in law was very happy to have moved and really wanted to the kids to do this, it was just hard to get started. Since I didn’t grow up in the house it was a little easier for me to see the task at hand from more of a practical point of view, and I was sort of nominated to guide the process. And it actually worked out really well. Everyone was very comfortable with how the remaining items were divided up, and there were lots of family photos to go around.
I was fortunate enough to receive my mother-in-laws father’s original Royal Typewriter. I think it’s probably from about 1910 and is in pristine condition. It’s all cleaned up and in my studio now inspiring me to continuing writing and blogging. And I also received a small journal with the handwritten life stories of her parents. So I have my work cut out assembling the stories and photos and I hope to get some coffee table books printed as well as do a video that the family can enjoy. We’ll see if I can get that done in time for Christmas.
I’m sure many of you listening have also gone through this process of closing down a parent’s household. If you have an interesting story, or came across an unexpected gem email me or call and leave your story on the voice mail line at 925-272-4021 and I might just share it on an upcoming episode.
Geographic History Saved
Now I mentioned to you that I taught the class Save Your Research from Destruction, and though that title may sound a bit over dramatic, time and time again it proves accurate.
GEM: Interview with Gordon Nuttall of Couragent, Inc. and the Flip-Pal
I’ve been a longtime fan of the Flip-Pal portable scanner and I use mine all the time. You’ve probably heard me mention it before on the show, and I often have specials on the Support the Podcast page on my website where you can save money, and at the same time your purchase helps to support this free podcast. Over the years I have received questions from many of you who are trying to decide if it really makes sense to get a portable scanner, and wanting to better understand what it can do for you and how to use it. So I decided it is about time to get all the answers together for you in one podcast gem. And who better to get those answers from than the inventor himself,
Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, Inc., the company behind the Flip-Pal.
“Carry On!” promotion: Save $20 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner plus a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket, valid October 1-December 31, 2012. Promotion Code: C412A (Please place both items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code)
“The Suite Life!” special: Purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Digital Creativity Suite 3.0 DVD and get a Flip-Pal mobile scanner Cleaning Cloth and Flip-Pal Window Protector Sheets 3-Pk FREE!, valid October 1-December 31, 2012. Promotion Code: TSL12A (Please place all items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code)
These promotional codes cannot be used in conjunction with other promotion codes.
Thank you for helping make the free Genealogy Gems Podcast possible!
We often mention fantastic how-to genealogy books on the Genealogy Gems podcasts and website. Here we’ve compiled a list of these, a checklist for your own genealogy reference bookshelf.
(Our favorite pleasure reading picks, fiction and nonfiction, are onThe Genealogy Gems Book Clubwebpage.)
Thank you for purchasing any books through our affiliate links. Your purchases help keep the Genealogy Gems podcast FREE.
State Census Records by Ann S. Lainhart. It’s got everything you need to know about U.S. censuses taken by states and territories. From this guide, you’ll learn what is available in each state (year by year, often county by county), where it is available and what’s in these records. Though it lacks current online resources for state censuses, once you know about them, you can Google them to find any online records and indexes! Find this book referenced in a blog post about state census records here.
From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes by Gena Philibert Ortega. Food is an important ingredient in every family’s history! This three-part keepsake recipe journal will help you celebrate your family recipes and record the precious memories those recipes hold. Listen to Lisa’s 2-part conversation with the author in the Genealogy Gems podcast episode 137 and 138. Watch a free video, “Food Family History,” with both of us on the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.
The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil Warby Margaret E. Wagner quotes vivid first-hand accounts. You’ll read about the smells of war, from baking to bodily functions. You’ll learn about the women behind the scenes whose lives were in constant upheaval and uncertainty. Comments from hospital workers describe the mighty effects of war on the wounded. Intermingled are the stories of free blacks, those being emancipated and black women and men who supported the Union effort as soldiers, nurses and more. It’s a fascinating blend of story and picture, told in a timeline format to help family historians put their ancestors’ experiences in context. For those of us who don’t have firsthand account by our ancestors, these voices help bring to life events and experiences our relatives may have faced. Also available in for the Kindle.
Tracing Your Italian Ancestors by Mary Tedesco. This 84-page guide has two important parts. There’s a section on using U.S. records to learn essentials about your family, and then a section on researching in Italian records. Click hereto watch an interview with Mary Tedesco, a host of the popular U.S. television show Genealogy Roadshow.
Zap the Grandma Gap: Connect with Your Family by Connecting Them to Their Family History by Janet Hovorka shares tried-and-tested activities for using family history to connect with children and grandchildren. Span the generation gap with these great games and ideas! Meet the author, see more of her kid-friendly family history titles and hear her suggestions in the free Genealogy Gems podcast episode 162.
Some genealogists–actually, most genealogists–need help being organized. These genealogy gift ideas are the perfect gift to give yourself: the gift of helping you keep track of your research, your sources and everything else in your family history world.
These ideas include those for gathering and organizing your research materials but also precious memories and original artifacts. When you shop, and click on the links from this post your purchases help support the free Genealogy Gems podcast. Thank you!
Evernote.Ok, this program is FREE so maybe it doesn’t count as a holiday gift. But sometimes the most important gifts we can give someone (including ourselves) are TIMEand a FRESHSTART. That’s what you’ll give when you install Evernote on your computer or a loved one’s, then learn or teach someone how to use it.
Some of my most popular classes now are on how to harness Evernote to keep track of genealogy sources, online and print content, photos, research notes and all those other essential bits that can haunt you when you can’t put your hands on them. And all the options available for Evernote mean you can synch and access your stuff across several devices and computers: it’s available for Windows and Mac systems and there are apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. PRICE: Free.
Evernote Smart Notebook. Even the most paper-free researchers still need to take handwritten notes sometimes. Make your notes easy to scan and integrate into your Evernote software with this notebook. The notebook paper is lightly gridded to make it easier to scan the pages nice and straight. But the real genius of this notebook is the accompanying “smart stickers” you can put on each page. These stickers have icons that become searchable digital tags when scanned. These tags make it easier to identify and synch your notes with other material you’ve tagged in Evernote (by surname, location, person’s name, etc). PRICE: $19.95.
This is my newest publication! Evernote users (and those who want to be) appreciate having an at-a-glance tutorial, tricks and shortcuts for using this free and essential software for genealogy. Evernote helps genealogists keep track of their source material–and my laminated Quick Reference Guide helps genealogists do it smarter and faster.
This gorgeously-designed book by Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton helps the user capture their own life story or someone else’s. The book is organized into natural sections like childhood, family life, career, etc. Each section is filled with thoughtful memory-jogging questions about the past: relationships, events, growing experiences. A spiral-bound format with a bonus CD with extra printable pages makes the book flexible to anyone’s life: remove or add additional as needed to tell your unique story. The introduction and the beginning of each section offers compassionate and sound advice on topics like how to improve the quality of memories, understanding memories, what to do with difficult memories and more. PRICE: $29.99 (but last I checked it was on sale for $19.99 at Amazon the link above).
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!