Genealogy: Digital image and folder naming strategy

10-17-2014 3-26-25 PMBy Barry J. Ewell

There is nothing more frustrating than spending several hours looking for one image that you really need.  Two key strategies will help keep your photos organized—naming your images consistently and sorting them into folders.

Create a logical folder structure
Folders are the best way to organize family history images.  I organize my folders very similar to the way I organize paper files, which make it easy to find and place images. My folder hierarchy is as follows: Continue reading

Genealogy: Digital media life expectancy

Genealogy: Digital media life expentancyA lot of ink has been spilled over the issue of media longevity. Media consumers and producers have placed a great deal of emphasis on seeking and promoting high longevity media. Ultimately, however, for a great many reasons, longevity is overrated as a desirable media characteristic.

  • Media life expectancy claims are statistical averages based on accelerated aging tests and can only provide a rough estimate of how long any particular piece of media will last under certain storage and handling. Continue reading

Color-coded Genealogy Research Filing System, Part 1: Getting Started

Color-codedGenealogyFilingSystem-ColorCodingBy Barry J. Ewell

Starting out organized is easier than getting organized later on. It didn’t take long before my own research became weighed down with pedigree charts, family group records, to-do lists, research logs, documents, notes, and research tools. I was robbing myself of the precious research time because I spent hours looking for what I knew I had and duplicating research I had already done. When I became organized, I was able to Continue reading

Genealogy: Scanning with archiving as your priority

Genealogy: Scanning with archiving as your priorityBy Barry J. Ewell

Archiving includes capturing all the detail contained in your film or prints. If you’re unsure about your future needs or simply want to preserve as much detail as possible with your scans, then archiving would be the choice for you. Modern scanning equipment can sometimes capture more detail than a piece of film or print contains, so the highest resolution possible is not always the best choice. Continue reading

Genealogy: Other options for transferring video to DVD

By Barry J. Ewell

Professional service  
Pay a professional to convert your VHS tapes to DVD–although this service is expensive.  It may be worth the money if the thought of doing it yourself makes you cringe.

Use a DVD recorder
If you don’t have a PC, you can use a DVD recorder.  The basic method for transferring video from VHS to DVD using standard equipment isn’t complicated.  You can connect a RCA cable from the VCR’s video and audio outputs to the DVD recorder’s inputs, press Play on the VCR, and press Record on the DVD recorder.  That’s all there is to it.  You don’t need any additional gear, such as a PC video capture card because the DVD recorder has all the necessary capture and conversion features.

There are several situations you may want to consider, however, before using a DVD recorder: 1) Unfortunately, there’s no way to speed up the recording process; every minute of tape takes a minute to record, 2) Even though the DVD recorder’s remote allows you to separate scenes, as well as add a menu with titles and corresponding photos (selected within the video), editing features are very limited and time consuming. In fact, you will probably need the patience of Job to do anything other than transferring video to DVD, and 3) if you plan to add special features to your video (such as narration, background music, rearranging scenes, or adding photos), using a computer is a better option.

Genealogy: Downloading images from digital camera

Downloading images from digital cameraBy Barry J. Ewell

Each time you download pictures from your digital camera, store them in a unique subfolder of the current year. For example, if I’ve been taking pictures at a cemetery, I would create a temporary folder that includes my name, photo shoot, and date (day, month, year) such as “Barry Ewell_Beaver_Cemetery-120407.”  It makes it really easy to find photos when I am ready to sort, delete, name, and file.

Deleting bad images is ok
As the years go by and your collection grows, it will be easier to retrieve photos if you’ve named and sorted them. Continue reading

What every genealogist needs to know about digital content and preservation (100+ resources)

Digitizing contentBy Barry J. Ewell

As a genealogist and/or family historian you are ever increasingly faced with the need to better understand how to create, evaluate, manage, organize, and preserve content that include audio, photography, video, film and more. I’ve learned that even the simplest decision like which format to scan an image can have far reaching irreparable consequences if not done correctly. Continue reading