How to Create Captivating Family History Videos Episode 2

In this blog and video series I’m showing you how you can create captivating videos about your family history quickly and easily with Animoto.

In the First Episode

In episode 1 we laid a foundation for the family history video that you are going to create. Doing this will save you time and ensure a cohesive, well-told story. We also:

  • defined your audience
  • identified and outlined the story that you want to tell
  • collected the content that you will include in your video

If you missed episode 1, you can watch it below:

Get a Free Animoto.com Account

The first thing to do is to go to Animoto here and sign up for a free trial account, which gives you the full power of Animoto Pro. No credit card is required. This trial period is the perfect opportunity to test drive Animoto and see just how easy it is to use. As I’ve said before, if you can click, drag, and drop, you can make videos with Animoto.

The videos you create during the trial will be watermarked, but still downloadable and shareable. If you decide to use Animoto beyond the trial period, there are several pricing plan options. You can purchase as little as one month for around $16 (check their site for current pricing). If you’ve done your prep work like we did in episode 1, you can create several videos in that time period.

OK, I know you’re anxious to get going, so let’s create a video!

Create!

It’s super easy. Once you’re signed into your account, click the Create button.

create family history videos

Style

First up, select a style that fits your story. Here are some of my favorites for family history:

  • Memory Box
  • Antique Bouquet
  • Remembrance
  • Vintage Voyage
  • Rustic

You’ll notice that some styles have a Premium banner. Those require a Premium subscription. However, if you’ve opted for a Personal level subscription you still have lots of wonderful styles to choose from.

style family history videos

Click on a style that catches your fancy and watch a preview of what it will look like. When you find the one you want, click the Create Video button on that style page. This will load the Video Creator.

Music

The style you chose will include a song, but you can change that if you want to. To select a new song, click Change Song, and you can pick a song from the Animoto library.

You can also upload your own music mp3 file from your computer. (Remember to keep copyright in mind, and make sure you have the rights to use the song.)

But wait, you can add more than music!  You can also upload an audio file, such as a family history interview, or even an mp3 file that you created that includes both music and words.

Adding Pictures & Videofamily history videos content

Now it’s time to add your photos, images, and video clips. Of course that’s easy because in episode 1 of this series you created an outline for your story, and you copied the files you wanted to use to illustrate that story into a folder on your computer. So you’re all set to go!

There are two ways to add files. From the menu, click Add Pics & Vids, or on the timeline click the plus sign in the empty box. In the pop up window you’ll find lots of options for imagery, including stock photos from Animoto. But for now, let’s add the images you put in the folder on your drive (see episode 1).

Under Your Computer click Upload Pictures and Video. Navigate your way to your content folder on your computer’s hard drive. Click to select the first image, and then you can select them all by holding down the shift key on your keyboard, and clicking the last image in the folder. Press Enter on your keyboard to add them to your project.

You can rearrange the order of your images and videos by dragging and dropping them with your mouse. If you decide to eliminate an image, simply click to select it and from the menu click Delete.

Text

Next, we’re going to add text to your videos, creating title cards. Again you can do this from the menu, or just click the plus sign in the empty box on the timeline, and then click Add Text.

In the pop up box you’ll type a title (or the main text) and then you have the option to add a subtitle. This is where the outline we created in Video 1 comes in so handy!  When you’re done, click Save. And don’t worry because you can always go back and change any text at any time.

Title cards are great for the beginning and ending of your video and also for transitioning to different parts of the story.

Simply click and drag the cards into the order that you want them.

You can also add text captions to each of your images. Hover your mouse over the image and click Caption under the image. In the pop up window containing your image, click to place your cursor in the text area, type in the desired text, and then click Save.

Spotlighting an Item

You may have a few images or title cards that you want the “camera” to  spend a little more time on, thereby spotlighting it. To create that effect, just click to the select the image or title card, and then click Spotlight in the menu. I particularly like to Spotlight title cards so that the viewer has plenty of time to read them.

Previewing

So let’s see how this looks so far, and to do that we’re going to click Preview Video. You can preview your video at any time during the production process.

A low resolution version of your family history video will be created in about 15 seconds. Then you can watch and see what little tweaks and changes you want to make. Click Continue Editing to head back to the timeline and keep working.

Next Steps

I hope you’re getting excited about your video projects. Next time we get together, we’re going to bring our projects down the homestretch and produce them into glorious shareable videos.

If you can’t wait and you want to jump in right now and get started, go for it! Click here to get started with Animoto.

Watch episode 2 below:

Set Sail from Norway to Australia: New and Updated Genealogical Records

New and updated genealogy collections from all around the world are just a click away! Sail your way from Norway across the Atlantic to the U.S. state of Michigan, then head across the Pacific to Korea and end your virtual voyage in Australia with the Victoria Passenger lists.

dig these new record collections

Norway Genealogy Records – Probate

FamilySearch has a new collection this week titled Norway, Probate Index Cards, 1640-1903. Only a small number (194,981) have been indexed. These are not digital images, but like the title says, it is an index.

These index cards were created by the regional archives in Norway. Not all regional archives created an index so, the collection does not cover all of Norway. FamilySearch has indexes for the following counties:

Friday_Post_Sept_2

  • Akershus
  • Aust-Agder
  • Buskerud
  • Hedmark
  • Oppland
  • Østfold
  • Rogaland
  • Telemark
  • Vest-Agder
  • Vestfold

Each index card may include the following:

  • Probate district
  • Volume (inclusive dates) and page number
  • Farm name
  • Parish
  • Date of probate
  • Name of the deceased & spouse
  • Name of children/heirs
  • Decision of the court

United States – Michigan – Oral Histories

The Ypsilanti Library has just launched their African American Oral History Archive. It’s been 40 years, but dozens of leaders of the Ypsilanti African American community were interviewed about their personal experiences during the Great Depression, WWII, and the Civil Rights movement. Now, these interviews are being digitized and will be made available online.

Although only one interview is available at this time, over the next 9 months, historians will be putting more of their stories online at the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive website. You can enjoy the first interview with Eugene Beatty, a track athlete who nearly made the U.S. Olympic team in 1932, now.

In addition to interview recordings, the online archive will include a transcript with photographs of the subjects.

Korea – Civil Service Records and Genealogies

Wow! It has been a long time coming, but finally, we have two new database collections for Korea. FamilySearch.org has digitized over 2 million records for these collections. The Korea Collection of Genealogies, 1200-2014 was added this week and boasts family biographies, genealogies, and histories. The records are in Korean and Chinese, but for translation tools, see the section titled For Help Reading These Records.

These genealogies are not yet indexed, so you will need to use the browse feature we shared with you last month. You can read that article here.

The second collection for Korea is titled Korea Civil Service Examinations and Records of Officials and Employees, 1390-1900Korea_Record. This is a rather small collection of just over 4,000 records.

This collection will include records from Jeollabuk-do and Jeonju-si, South Korea. The records are in Korean and Chinese, dated from 1392 to 1910, and include Korean civil service examinations from the Joseon Dynasty.

The civil service examinations under the Joseon dynasty were known as the gwageo. These were very difficult tests  and central to education during the Joseon dynasty. The test assessed the applicant’s knowledge of Chinese classics and, occasionally, technical skills. Passing the test qualified the individual to enter into the higher governmental or aristocratic positions.

The civil service examination may contain some valuable information, such as:

  • Name of Employee
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Names of Parents
  • Name of Spouse
  • Residence

Australia – Victoria – Passenger Lists

New from Findmypast, Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists 1852-1924 is the largest release of Australian records to date! These passenger lists cover the great Gold Rush and contains 3.3 million records. Both transcripts and digital images of the lists are found in the collection. Generally speaking, you will find the following information:

  • First and last name(s)
  • Sex, age, and birth year
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Year of arrival
  • Ship name
  • Departure port and date
  • Arrival port and date

The early 1850s marked great gold discoveries in Australia. People immigrated to the area in masses to stake their claims. The population exploded and by 1871, 1.7 million people had immigrated to Victoria. Perhaps you always wondered what brought your family to Australia. This collection may finally provide the answer!

More Gems on New and Updated Genealogical Records

WorldCat Gets a Major Addition: New Genealogy Records Online this Week

England Emigrants and More: New Genealogy Records Online

You May Already Have the Makings of a Family History Video

Think it’s too hard to create your own family history video? Think again! You may already have the foundation already poured!

Video is one of the best ways to tell your family’s story. Imagery, text and music comes together to quickly capture the attention of all ages. But whether it’s a blank computer screen or a blank page, getting started is often the hardest part of any creative project.

That’s why when I wanted to whip up a tribute video to my husband’s father’s Naval service, I didn’t start from scratch. Instead, I turned to small book I created over ten years ago for inspiration and content. My research of his military career has certainly evolved since I first put those pages together. Creating a new video on the subject gave it a nice facelift in a modern medium that everyone in our family loves!

The Foundation

Back in 2006 Kodak Gallery offered one of the first print-on-demand services to the public. It was a tantalizing idea to think of being able to create my own full color, hard cover book. And what would I write about? Family history, of course!

My husband’s father’s military service records had recently come into our possession, and one afternoon I sat down and scanned all of the photographs and documents at a fairly high resolution (about 600 dpi). I created my first book that day using that imagery, and added text where I had more details. The end result was a mighty nice coffee table styled book. Just 20 full color glossy pages double sided, for a total of 40 pages. This was just about all I could expect of the average attention span of my non-genealogist relatives. To my happy surprise, the book was devoured, with many exclamations of “I’ve never seen that!”, and “oh, isn’t that great!

books videofamily history

Fast forward to today. Kodak Gallery is long gone, and today’s relatives rarely have the desire to sit and even flip through pages of a book. What are they willing to spend time on? Video! Brief video, albeit, but video is the book come to life. And so, when in search of a new project to get family history out in front of the clan, I decided to do just that: breathe life into that book I created 11 years ago.

The Process

First, I located the computer file folder containing all of the original scanned images, both photos and documents. I renamed the files to start with a two-digit number so that they would appear in chronological order in the folder on my hard drive. Before I knew it, the story began to emerge on my screen.

(Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I appreciate you using these links because that compensation helps make the Genealogy Gems blog possible. Thank you!)

Then it was off to Animoto, the online video creation tool. Animoto doesn’t require any special skills to create professional looking videos. If you can click, drag and drop you can create fabulous family history videos.

I started by selecting choosing to create a “Slideshow Video” and selecting the video style called Old Glory. Being a patriotic theme it already included the perfect music called Presidential Welcome. If I had wanted something a little different, it would have been easy enough pick another tune out of their vast music library, or upload one of my own.

Next, I dragged and dropped the images into my new project. I already had about 25 images from my original folder, and I was able to add 5 newly discovered scanned documents and photos that really fleshed out the story. One click of the Preview button showed me that I already had an awesome video in the works. All that was left was to add a bit of text to the storyvideo project in Animoto

The Video Text

The text part of this project actually turned into a great way to pull my youngest daughter Hannah into family history a bit. She loves making videos on her phone, and during a recent visit she became intrigued by my project. I asked her if she would help me out and use the book as her guide and type captions onto the video images. She obliged, and the next thing I knew she was in the family room, computer in lap, talking with her Dad about his Dad. (This genealogist’s dream come true!) It was easy to add the text to tell the story by adding titles and captions to the video in Animoto.

Time to Produce Your Video

With all the content added, we hit the Preview button, and were amazed how Animoto timed everything to the music nearly perfectly. After a few final tweaks, we hit the Produce button. I must say, I’m really pleased with the results! Watch below, and then leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Make Your Own Video Project

What do you already have lying around the house that would make a terrific video? A scrapbook, or a drawer full of letters and photos? Click here to try out Animoto. I’ve been so thrilled with what I’ve been able to create for my family, that I proudly accepted Animoto as a sponsor of my free Genealogy Gems Podcast, and I happily recommend them. I think you’re going to love how quickly and easily you can bring your family history to life with video too.

 

“I Lost My Photos on My Phone!!” Here’s What You Need to Do

Using your mobile device for genealogy is a great idea, but with that convenience takes some additional know-how. Back-up your mobile device images in a few simple steps and you’ll never say, “I lost my photos on my phone!”

Back-up Your Mobile Device Easily

“I lost my photos on my phone!!”

This is NOT what you want to hear from a dear friend who is also a genealogist. So my heart sank when Genealogy Gems Contributor Amie Tennant’s email dropped into my inbox.

Amie wrote:

“I spent 6 hours researching at a cemetery and archives in a far away location. You won’t believe this, but when I got home I realized my smartphone wasn’t working. I had taken all the tombstone images with it, all the document copies were made with it, all my notes were on it. And I hadn’t even had time to back it up.”

That’s the problem, unless you back up as you go, you can’t be sure that just an hour later it won’t all be gone. These days you’re more likely to snap photos of records with your phone than a camera. But with that convenience comes the need for a new game plan to keep those precious images safe.

Back-up Your Mobile Device Images: The Plan

I put together an immediate email to Amie with a restoration and preservation game plan. If, like Amie, you are using your smartphone and mobile devices more and more, you’ll want to put this plan into place too.

First, I advised Amie to visit her phone store (for example, The Apple Store if you have an iPhone) and see if they could retrieve the lost photos and data. You never know unless you ask!

Back-up Your Mobile Device Photos

Image of Amie’s 4th great-grandfather she was able to retrieve.

Next, it’s important to consider automatic back-up options. Automatic back-ups are great, which is why I love BackBlaze. But BackBlaze is back up for your computer. The BackBlaze app on your phone only gives you access to those computer files, and doesn’t back up your phone.

One option is to back-up manually as you go. In other words, as soon as you snap that image of a record, save it to a Cloud storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox. You could even activate Cloud back-up so that it happens automatically, though with the size of image files, you would likely need a paid subscription service to allow for adequate storage space. However, if you are going to continue to use your phone as a genealogy tool, it may be well worth the investment. Let’s look more closely at these two options:

Free Manual Option: If cost is an issue, you can save your photos to a free Dropbox account at the time you take the photo, and then move to more permanent storage on your computer at a later time.

1. Take the photograph

2. Tap the photo in my iPhone’s Photos app

3. Tap Edit and do a quick edit to clean it up (improve contrast, rotate so that it is right side up, crop to get as close-up as possible)

4. Tap Done to close the editor

5. Tap the Share icon and tap Save to Dropbox

6. Select the folder in Dropbox where I want to save the image and tap Save

However, it would definitely be faster and simpler to have your phone automatically backing up to the Cloud.

Low Cost Automatic Option: If your phone is going to be one of your genealogy tools, then automatic cloud back-up may be worth the low cost of around a dollar a month.

Personally, I am not a fan of iCloud even though I have an iPhone. I just don’t find it very user friendly to work with. Setting up your photos and videos to automatically back up to your Google Photos library via Google Drive is another option. Again, since photos and videos do take up a lot of space you’ll likely need to invest in a low cost monthly storage plan.  Click here to learn more, or Google search Google Drive Plan Cost (or substitue the name of the service you are considering) for current plans.

Bottom line: There are several Cloud services available for our smartphones and mobile devices, so there’s sure to be one that’s right for you. Where ever your images find their final resting place, make sure it has Cloud back-up.

Amie’s Response to the Plan

I quickly sent the plan to Amie. She responded by saying:

“Thank you, Lisa! It was devastating. You were right, a nice man at the phone store was able to restore them! But, I don’t ever want to have this happen again. When I set up my new phone, a Samsung Android, I noticed a setting that said something like “automatic save to Google drive” and it would sync your images. So I clicked it “on” but now I can’t find where I did that! Any ideas?”

Troubleshooting Backing-up Your Mobile Device

When people shoot me a question, my usual response is “Just Google it!” I Googled Automatic backup of android phone and got several great hits on the results list.

One article on Android Fact.com was particularly helpful. (Read the full article here.) Remember, it can get pretty expensive to be instantly uploading images with your cell phone carrier. I suggest clicking Wi-Fi Only to ensure that uploading only takes place when you are connected to Wi-Fi.

I regularly emphasize backing up important documents that live on your computer. But let’s face it: If you have a smartphone, it would be oh, so sad to have to say “I lost my photos on my phone!” So don’t wait—back up your smartphone or mobile device today.

Another Tip for Using Smartphones for Genealogy

mobile genealogy bookHere’s a another mobile computing tip my book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Smartphones and other mobile devices offer a plethora of editing tools. It is well worth the investment of a few extra seconds to clean up and maximize images as you go. This is particularly true of records that need to be clear for future reference or printing.

Try applying a filter to your images for maximum readability. I like the Noir filter in my iPhone’s Photos app editor.

More Gems on Using Mobile Devices for Genealogy

How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video!

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

New and Updated Genealogical Records for Ireland, Scotland, Korea, and More!

We are digging deep into these new and updated genealogical records this week. We begin with several genealogical records for Ireland and Scotland, then new additions in Argentina. To end our list, a couple of fun finds in Minnesota and the state of Washington!

dig these new record collections

Ireland – Valuation Office Books

New collections have been added to Findmypast and the first is titled Ireland Valuation Office Books. With just under 2 million records, this collection contains several types of manuscript records including field books, house books, quarto books, rent books, survey books, and more.

Each record includes both a transcript and an image of the original document. The amount and type of information will vary depending on the date and nature of the document. Some book types, such as tenure books, include notations about the property as well as notes on the cost of rent and additional observations. House books include descriptions of the property. Quarto books include observations about the tenement.

Ireland – Will Registers

Also new at Findmypast, Ireland, Original Will Registers, 1858-1920 is a collection with over 181,000 records. These records are derived from district courts and held by the National Archives of Ireland. Wills from Northern Ireland are included, up until 1917. Each of the records contain a transcript and an image of the original source document.

Each transcript will provide you with a name, whether the person is heir, executor, or deceased, name of the deceased, and whether the document is a will, grant of probate, or an administration. From the images, you can determine dates, address of the parish, names of other heirs, and other various details.

The images provide much more detail about your ancestor’s will. Most entries have your ancestor’s death date, death place and who inherited the deceased person’s property, and processions. The will can provide the names of many other relations and explain their family connections.

Some wills are more than one page, so you will need to use the arrow on the right side of the image to continue reading the document.

Ireland – Church Records

Lastly, Findmypast has added the new collection titled Ireland, Catholic Qualification and Convert Rolls, 1701-1845. You can search lists of over 50,000 Irish Catholics who swore loyalty to the crown or converted to Protestantism. As a note of interest, Catholics were restricted from owning property or having businesses during the Penal Laws of the 18th century. Because of this, many chose to either convert to the Church of Ireland or swear loyalty to the crown so they qualified for certain rights.

irish_record_example

Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original entry. The amount of information varies, but you should be able to find a name, an address, occupation, date of conversion or qualification, date of enrollment or court hearing, and the court.

Glasgow – Electoral Registers

Ancestry has made available over 100 years of electoral registers from the Mithcell Library’s family history collection. These voter rolls have been digitized and can be found in the collection titled Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1857-1962.

Electoral registers may provide a name and place of residence, a description of property, and qualifications to vote. Registers were compiled at a local level, with names appearing alphabetically within the wards or districts. Many of the registers in this database have been indexed electronically, which allows you to search them by name, but if you’re searching for a somewhat common name it will be helpful to know the area in which your ancestor lived to narrow your results.

Remember: Parliamentary Division boundaries may have changed over time. If you are looking for a particular parish or place, try searching using the key word field rather than browsing the image sets listed by Division.

Korea – Various Records

Though these two new Korean database collections hold few records in number and they are browse-only at this time at FamilySearch, they are a wonderful step in the right direction. Korean records of genealogical value are not always easily found online. These new Korean collections include:

Korea, Local History, 655-1935 – A small collection of local histories and town records from Korea. The records are written in Korean using Chinese hanja characters. This collection will be published as images become available, so check back from time to time to see what’s new.

Korea, School Records, 1958 – Only 149 images are digitized at this time. We will be watching this closely and update you as new records become available.

In the meantime, see what other collections FamilySearch has for Korea by clicking here.

Argentina – Cordoba –  Church Records

FamilySearch has also eargentina_record_examplexpanded their Argentina Catholic Church Records in their collection titled Argentina, Cordoba, Catholic Church Records, 1557-1974. This collection nearly doubled with newly digitized and indexed records.

These records are in Spanish. This collection of church records includes baptism, confirmation, marriage, divorce, and death records for parishes in the Córdoba Province.

Catholic Church parish registers are a major record available to identify individuals, parents, and spouses before 1930. After this date, civil authorities began registering vital statistics, which by law included people of all religions.

United States – Washington – Marriage Records

Updated at Ancestry, Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013 contains both images and indexes extracted from various records of marriages in Washington.

Marriage records offer the basic facts such as bride, groom, date, and place. These images of marriage certificates may also include additional information such as:

  • addresses
  • ages
  • race
  • birthplaces
  • occupations
  • marital status (single, divorced)
  • whether a first marriage
  • fathers’ names and birthplaces
  • mothers’ names, maiden names, and birthplaces

This database does not contain an image for every document included in the index.

United States – Washington – Naturalizations

  • Certificates of Arrival
  • Declarations on Intent
  • Petitions for Naturalization
  • Oaths of Allegiance
  • Certificates of Naturalization

This database does not contain an image for every document included in the index.

Details contained on naturalization records varies based on the year. However, you may be able to find the following valuable information:

  • name
  • birth date
  • country of origin
  • arrival date
  • place of arrival
  • spouse
  • children
  • document type
  • county

United States – Minnesota – Obituaries

FamilySearch expanded two large collections this week and one of those is the Minnesota, Obituaries, 1865-2006. Even though only about 73,000 records have been indexed, there are over 132,000 digital images in the browse-only section.

These obituaries include an index and images of newspaper obituary files filmed by FamilySearch at the historical societies in Minnesota. Indexed records and additional images will be added to this collection as they become available, so be sure to check back frequently.

Many of these digitized records are referred to as obituary cards, which means that the information has been abstracted from the original source. These cards usually contain the following information:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Age
  • Death date
  • Names of parents, spouse, children, siblings or other relatives
  • Name of newspaper, date and place of publication
  • Birth date and place
  • Other details such as military service

We hope you enjoy the many new and updated genealogical record collections this week and that you make some new discoveries for your family tree. Don’t forget to share this post with your genealogy friends and help them in their research journey as well!

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