Genealogy: Care and cleaning of 78s

Genealogy: Care and cleaning of 78sBy Barry J. Ewell

The following are details of how to take care of the 78s which I  have used to take care of 100’s of my own 78s.


  1. Place the record between two sheets of plate glass (or any completely flat surface of moderate weight).
  2. DO NOT place any additional weight or add heat, or place them in the sun, etc.
  3. Placing additional weight on the record will cause the peaks between the grooves to flatten out somewhat, causing distortion during playback; heat can cause the shellac to soften considerably, which causes all kinds of problems. Continue reading

Genealogy: Digitizing records and tapes with Audacity

Digitizing records and tapes with AudacityBy Barry J. Ewell

You’ve been ripping CDs for years, but what about those dusty cassette tapes in your attic and all that bargain-basement vinyl at used book sales? With Audacity, you can capture those vintage tunes, clean up their sound, and carry them around on your MP3 player.

Audacity is a powerful free cross-platform audio editor. It includes tools such as noise removal filters and automatic track splitting that can speed up the process of turning your antique audio into shiny new MP3s or Oggs.
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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

Genealogy: Cleaning vinyl records

Genealogy: Cleaning vinyl recordsBy Barry J. Ewell

It might sound simple but keeping your records clean is the easy, inexpensive method of preserving your vinyl. There are three commonly used methods for cleaning this type of record.

Vinyl records: Using commercially available cleaning solution

  1. A quality disc cleaning solution is inexpensive and really helps to protect vinyl discs. The best way to clean records is by buying a commercially available record cleaning solution such as Last or Discwasher D4 (Discwasher IV is what the Library of Congress recommends), which usually comes with an applicator brush. Continue reading

Genealogy: Copyright issues to remember about music

002By Barry J. Ewell

Make sure you either have permission or own the music you are copying and do not violate copyright laws:

  1. As you set out to digitally convert your Vinyl LP and singles collection, remember it is legal to make copies of your own records and tapes for your own use. It is not legal to sell them or post them on your website for millions of your friends to download.
  2. It is not legal to keep copies of your records and CDs if you sell the originals. That is piracy, albeit on a small scale.
  3. Using a short snippet of a song as part of a new creative work such as a Web page would incur the need to pay royalties, so be cautious.
  4. You are not likely to be challenged if you make copies of old material that is no longer in print, so long as you don’t sell the copies or distribute them indiscriminately. The recording industry has a long tradition of tolerating and even encouraging this kind of activity because it tends to preserve and even create markets.

Genealogy: How to convert your vinyl LPs and singles to CD

Genealogy: How to convert your vinyl LPs and singles to CDBy Barry J. Ewell

Do you have your favorite LPs (78 rpm, 33 rpm, and 45 rpm) that belonged to your mom or do have your own collection that you would like to put on CD or MP3? Many old 78s and LPs are irreplaceable, so it pays to preserve them in a digital format. With a good sound-recording and sound-editing program you can take those old scratchy LPs and 78s and record them through your sound card and then burn the music to an audio CD or store it as an MP3 file. You can even filter out all those clicks and pops. Continue reading