Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn.
This episode includes an interview with Faruq Tauheed, host of the NBC TV series Roots Less Traveled. Faruq shares what caught his interest about genealogy (as someone with no previous experience) and his favorite stories from the show. Our families are full of folks who have never had an interest in genealogy. And that makes the job of ensuring your genealogy research will be passed down even more difficult. That’s why in this episode we are tackling the subject how how to ensure that your research doesn’t end up in a landfill after you’re gone. We will cover tangible things you can do today. Scroll down for all the show notes and details. Then, in our next episode, we’ll discuss ways to get your relatives on your team to preserve the family history.
Today’s Teacup: Lyme House mug
Click here to learn more about Lyme, the home that “played the part” of Pemberly, the home of Mr. Darcy in the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.
MyHeritage Facebook Live with Lisa Louise Cooke
June 3, 2 P.M. EDT
Topic: Fabulous Photo Discoveries at MyHeritage
Speaker: Lisa Louise Cooke
Description: Lisa Louise Cooke, founder of the genealogy research website Genealogy Gems, will illustrate the incredible potential of MyHeritage’s Photo Discoveries™ feature.
I am absolutely loving the tea time shows!! Thank you for all of your work and for sharing it with us. I love the pictures and antiques in your office. So inspiring! I hope to have an office like that one day. I wanted to send you this picture of my girls and me having a tea party with you. We had milk and cookies. I don’t usually let the girls use the toy set for real food but I made an exception! The girl’s didn’t listen super well but I try to catch up on the show when I can. Thanks again for doing this!
Interview: Faruq Tauheed, Host of the NBC TV series Roads Less Traveled
Faruq Tauheed is the host of the new NBC series ROOTS LESS TRAVELED. Each week, Faruq leads a new pair of multigenerational family members who bond on a joint quest to learn more about their family history. In partnership with Ancestry, the series will feature relatives as they set out on an adventure to solve mysteries in their family tree. The show is adventurous, educational, inspiring and very often emotional. Faruq is best known as the ring announcer on the uber-popular Discovery Channel series BATTLEBOTS.
Click here to visit the Roots Less Traveled website where you can watch past episodes.
How to Save Your Research from Destruction
From Diana in the video comments at YouTube: Save your research from destruction? Yes please for a topic. Greatly moved by your words and clip at the end. Even though I am in Australia now, all my family are from the UK and my parents were young kids living outside, or evacuated from, London during the war. Stay brave!
From Julie K in Live Chat: I’m afraid that if I don’t have paper, my genealogy will get pitched with my laptop when I’m gone.
From Deborah: That’s my question too – they might not even know that it’s there or want to bother with learning how to use it.
We’re tackling these questions in this week’s episode.
Don’t let your lifetime of genealogy research end up in the landfill! I’m sharing key strategies for securing the future of your research, including designating a “research keeper,” setting up a Genealogy Materials Directive, and making donations with a Deed of Gift. This episode will help you put a plan in place to ensure the survival of your family history.
Getting and Staying Organized
Don’t allow your research materials to become a burden in the future for others or they will be at risk. Research that is piled high and disorganized will look like a candidate for the recycle bin to the non-genealogist. Research that is neatly stored in binders or clearly labeled boxes will demand the respect it deserves.
Physical files I use 3 ring binders, with custom printed spines and acid-free sheet protectors. Tabs in the binder separate my materials by head of household, mirroring my digital files.
Watch episode 6 on organizing your genealogy paper.
Genealogy Notes Cloud note-taking services such as Evernote <www.evernote.com> or OneNote provide a way to collect, store and retrieve any type of file (typed, handwritten, clipped from the web, audio recordings, photos and videos). These services use the Internet to synchronize your notes across all of your computing devices. Each has a free version, and there are more robust subscriptions plans available as well.
Watch episode 9 to learn more about using Evernote for genealogy.
Protecting Your Files with Cloud Backup The final step to organization is ensuring that all of your digital files are backed up automatically. I use and recommend Backblaze <www.backblaze.com/Lisa> and there are other online backup services as well. These services accomplish some critical backup goals: redundant, off site, and automatic (set it and forget it) backup!
Watch episode 7 to learn more about Cloud Backup and organizing your data.
Get it on Paper with a Genealogical Materials Directive
The future is unknown and illnesses can come on unexpectedly. Don’t wait another day to keep your research safe and secure for years to come. Take small steps each day toward ensuring the security of your research.
Create a Genealogical Materials Directive with the help of your family attorney that you include with your will to ensure that your wishes for your research materials will be followed. A directive outlines what you have, what you want done with it after you are gone, and identifies all the people involved in that process. Then give it to your family attorney for any legal modification or addition that he or she may suggest and include the directive with your will.
Click here to download my free Genealogical Materials Directive.
Identifying Your Research’s Keeper
Talk to your relatives and determine who will be willing to care for and distribute your research. They don’t need to be a genealogist. Give them a copy of the Directive so they will be fully informed and prepared to follow through with your wishes.
Preparing Now for Future Donations with a Deed of Gift
Start researching archives and societies to determine which would most benefit and be interested in your materials. Think about locations as well as families. Contact the repositories and make the appropriate arrangements. Then clearly outline those arrangements in your Directive.
Many organizations will have their own forms for donating materials. A Deed of Gift is a formal legal agreement that transfers ownership and legal rights of your research materials to the repository that you are donating them to. It is in everybody’s best interest to state the agreement on paper and make it binding. A Deed of Gift is signed by both the donor and an authorized representative of the repository.
A Deed of Gift may include other issues that are of interest to the repository. Have them all thoroughly explained to you. If you have any questions about the language of the deed of gift, it’s a good idea to check with your attorney.
If you are considering giving your hard-won genealogy research to an archive or library, there are two great brochures available from the Society of American Archivists that can help you through the process.
Can you imagine the excitement of stumbling into family history memorabilia that included a voice from long ago on a Voice-O-Graph record? Sometimes the challenge is not finding a family history treasure, but instead it is “unlocking” its precious contents. Here’s one Gem’s story and her request for help. Being a podcaster came in very handy in answering this email!
Voice-O-Graph Brings Her Father’s Voice Back
From our Genealogy Gems reader and podcast listener:
One of the things I love about Genealogy Gems is your appreciation of ephemera. I’m giddy when I find newspaper articles and documents for my family. I recently took everything out of my parents’ “picture closet” and found a treasure trove of documents and photos, such as the will my father wrote and sent to his parents when he entered the army air corps in WWII, the telegram my aunt sent when she eloped, and my grandfather’s WWI registration papers. I even found the scrap of paper on which my father wrote my mother’s phone number when he asked her on their first date, “Laura Lee HE5882”.
One of the items I found is a January 1944 “Voice-O-Graph” my father recorded and sent to my grandmother. It’s in the original envelope, too. I’m interested in having the recording digitized. The reason I seek guidance is that all of the websites for audio transfer services have pretty lurid landing pages. Even if it’s not possible to get a decent dub of the old record, I’d at least like to feel confident that I’d get the 78 back in one piece.
Any ideas? Thank you!
Digitizing a Voice-O-Graph Record
Entrusting your precious Voice-O-Graph record with an unknown website service could be pretty unnerving. Anytime you ship something, there’s always a rish of damage or loss. Before sending away your precious heirloom, try these do-it-yourself methods to create a digital recording.
If you have several records to digitize, I usually suggest looking at purchasing your own turntable that can record to digital. I have one that looks like an old time radio. Here’s one that is on the lower cost end.
In Lisa’s case, it sounds like she has just one record to digitize. If she has a turntable that can play 78s, she can first try playing the records and recording the sound through her computer’s microphone, a handheld recorder, or a smartphone using a free app like Evernote that can record audio.
The next option would be to purchase a converter like this one. You plug your turntable into it, and then plug an external hard drive into the converter, and play and record.
By the way, if your voice-o-graph is a bit warped, this article offers help.
When I discovered an old reel-to-reel recording in my own family, I took it to our church sound system technician. They had new digital equipment, as well as also older equipment. They were able to easily record a digital version for me.
Lisa did eventually get the record digitized. Take a listen for yourself:
As you can hear, Lisa’s father’s recording has a lot of background noise. His voice is far off in the distance and could use some enhancement. But the first challenge was to get the record digitized.
Enhancing the Quality of the Voice-O-Graph Recording
Once you have created an mp3 recording, you can then try to improve the quality of the sound with a free software program called Audacity. Sound improvement is a series of fixes and edits that you apply to the audio file. It’s a gentle process of balancing the bringing forward of the voice while keeping noise tolerable. It’s definitely an art, and not a science. Initial improvements you can easily make include:
Removing “Clicks” – These appear as tall spikes on the audio track in Audacity. Carefully highlight them and delete.
Applying Noise Reduction – Apply noise reduction sparingly, and focus on the elements of the recording that are the most important to you. Noise reduction can add a sort of warped quality to the sound if applied too heavily. Apply just enough to remove unwanted noise that is getting in the way of the voice, while keeping distortion tolerable. You’ll hear a bit of this in my edited version of Lisa’s audio file below. The recording had deteriorated so much that a lot of what is said is lost. I opted to tolerate heavier nose reduction in order to make much more of the voice understandable.
Amplifying the Audio– Apply amplification to the entire track, and then go back and reduce amplification in the areas that do not include the voice. This can be a tedious process, but as you will hear in my version of the audio below, it can pay off.
The Man Behind the Voice
“My father (Capt. C. William Beringhaus) was in the 15th Air Force, 99th Bomb Group flying B-17s. This recording was made in Salt Lake City in January, 1944 just after he completed aviation cadet training in Lubbock, Texas. He was sent to Salt Lake as part of a pilot’s pool before being sent to Sioux City, Iowa for training in the B17.
Capt. C. William Beringhaus
In the recording it sounds like he says that he is in town and is making the recording because “Woody” made one. I believe Woody might have been Capt. Morris S. Wood, the bombardier. “
Do You have a Voice-O-Graph Recording?
While I have picked up a few Voice-o-Graph records complete with mailing envelopes at antique stores over the years, I’m not fortunate enough to have found one in my own family (at least not yet!).
Do you have a Voice-O-Graph recording in your family? Leave a Comment below and tell us about it. Where did you find it? Who’s voice is on the recording? And have you digitized it yet?
The FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 184 has been published and is ready for your listening pleasure!
In this episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, you’ll hear about lots of fabulous and FREE online resources–including a way to harness the power of Ancestry.com for free.
You’ll also hear advice from two listeners, one on saving your genealogy from theft and another with a tip on digital preservation for photos. I share a genealogist’s poem that made me laugh. Resident DNA expert Diahan Southard joins us to respond to a common lament: when DNA doesn’t seem to be panning out for you.
In this episode we also announce our next Genealogy Gems Book Club, the last featured title of 2015. It’s a meaty new novel by a New York Times best-selling author who has also penned an Oprah Book Club Pick. Come check it out (or click here to read more about it)! Listen in iTunes, through our app (for iPhone/iPad or Android users), on our website and TuneIn (now available for Amazon Echo users).
The Genealogy Gems podcast is proud to continue its tradition as a FREE, listener-friendly show for all levels of family history researchers (beginners and beyond!). Thanks for sharing this post with your friends and genie buddies. You’re a GEM!
The Library of Congress (LOC) is a dream destination for many U.S. genealogy researchers, but most of us can’t get there in person. Here are 4 ways–all online–to access the mega-resources of the Library of Congress for genealogy.
1. World Digital Library: for the bigger picture
The Library of Congress is home to the World Digital Library, “a collaborative international project led by the Library of Congress. It now includes more than 10,000 manuscripts, maps and atlases, books, prints and photographs, films, sound recordings, and other cultural treasures.
2. Chronicling America: for finding ancestors in the news
The Chronicling America newspaper site, hosted by the Library of Congress, catalogs U.S. newspapers and provides free access to more than six million digital newspaper pages (1836-1922) in multiple languages. Run searches on the people, places and events that shaped your ancestors’ lives. Results may include:
Advertising: classifieds, companies your ancestor worked for or owned, store ads, runaway slaves searches and rewards and ship arrivals or departures.
Births & deaths: birth announcements, cards of thanks printed by the family, obituaries and death notices, funeral notices, reporting of events that led to the death, etc.
Legal notices and public announcements: auctions, bankruptcies, city council meetings, divorce filings, estate sales, executions and punishments, lawsuits, marriage licenses, probate notices, tax seizures, sheriff’s sale lists.
Lists: disaster victims, hotel registrations, juror’s and judicial reporting, letters left in the post office, military lists, newly naturalized citizens, passenger lists (immigrants and travelers), unclaimed mail notices.
News articles: accidents, fires, etc. featuring your ancestor; front page (for the big picture); industry news (related to occupations); natural disasters in the area; shipping news; social history articles.
Community and social events like school graduations, honor rolls, sporting and theater events; social news like anniversaries, church events, clubs, engagements, family reunions, visiting relatives, parties, travel, gossip columns, illnesses, weddings and marriage announcements.
With Chronicling America, you can also buy medicine online china subscribe to receive “old news” on many of your favorite historical topics. Sign up for weekly notifications that highlight interesting and newly-added content on topics that were widely covered in the U.S. press at the time. (Click here to see a list of topics.) To subscribe, just use the icons at the bottom of the Chronicling America home page.
3. Flickr Creative Commons – Library of Congress Photostream for old pictures
Flickr Creative Commons describes itself as part of a “worldwide movement for sharing historical and out-of-copyright images.” Groups and individuals alike upload old images, tag and source them, and make them available to others. The (U.S.) Library of Congress photostream has thousands of photos and a growing collection of front pages of newspapers.
Tip: The Library of Congress isn’t the only library posting cool images on Flickr Creative Commons. Look for photostreams from your other favorite libraries and historical societies. (Use the main search box with words like “Ohio library” and limit results to groups. You’ll see who’s posting images you care about and you can even follow them!)
4. Preserving Your History video for archiving your family history
The Library of Congress has a FREE video about how to create and properly preserve digital or print archival scrapbooks.
It’s a 72-minute video by various experts with a downloadable transcript on these topics:
Basic preservation measures one can do at home for long-lasting albums and scrapbooks
Pros and cons of dismantling old scrapbooks and albums in poor condition
How to address condition problems
Preservation considerations for digital scrapbooks and albums
How to participate in the Library’s Veterans History Project.
Archivists tell us to store precious documents and photos in conditions with stable temperature and humidity. This time-lapse video shows why!
Many of us save old books, documents and photos, especially those with sentimental or family history value. But we don’t always store them carefully enough. When storage is at a premium, we may put old books and papers in attics and basements. Here they sweat out the summers, freeze in the winters and swell or shrink as humidity changes.
What kind of effect do these conditions have on our old books and papers A YouTube video posted online from the Image Permanence Institute shows what happened to a 300-year old book when it was subjected to humidity fluctuations. It actually looks like a breeze is blowing the cover off. But really, a change in humidity is plumping up those pages. That can’t be good!
To keep old pages in your family archive from curling up, swelling or mildewing, store them at a lower (and consistent) humidity. Books and papers like living in the same conditions we do, so try to make room for them in your regular living space. Tuck them away in an archival box, then under a bed, on a shelf, in a closet, in a trunk–get creative!
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!