Genealogy: Strategies for conducting field research

10-17-2014 10-37-12 AMBy Barry J. Ewell

Each day of your trip is full of research, excursions, meeting new people, taking pictures, reflecting upon your family, and unexpected happenings. Take time at the end or beginning of each day to write in your travel journal. Upon your return home, you will find that your journal will be one of the most important assets you have in furthering research and documenting the value of your trip. After just a week on the road, one day blends into the next.

I tend to write events in my travel journal in a chronological format (what happened first, second, third). For example, after I entered a library I will write details about the following aspects of my experience there: Continue reading

Genealogy: Digital Camera Checklist for Research

Digital Camera Checklist for Research By Barry J. Ewell

I use my camera extensively when I conduct field research and through my personal experience built a checklist that I have found important to include with my camera. While I don’t use all of the list each time I am out, I have come prepared to handle most situations that I have that you will encounter.

  1. Digital camera with built-in flash
    1. Two extra sets of rechargeable batteries. Continue reading

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

Genealogy: Photographing people

Genealogy: Photographing peopleFor over 40 years I have used the camera to capture the lives of my family and friends.  The camera has been a very important tool in my professional career in public relations and advertising.  I first started with a film camera and spent hundreds of wonderful/fun hours in a dark room developing and printing my on prints.  Since the late 90’s I have used the digital camera extensively in to aid in my genealogical research.

I would like to share with you a few of the lessons I have learned when photographing people. Continue reading

Genealogy: Photographing children

Genealogy: Photographing childrenBy Barry J. Ewell

For over 40 years I have used the camera to capture the lives of my family and friends.  The camera has been a very important tool in my professional career in public relations and advertising.  I first started with a film camera and spent hundreds of wonderful/fun hours in a dark room developing and printing my on prints.  Since the late 90’s I have used the digital camera extensively in to aid in my genealogical research.

The following are some of the lessons I have learned when photographing children. Continue reading

Genealogy: Where to use your camera for research

Where to use your camera for researcharchBy Barry J. Ewell

The digital camera has been the most flexible and important tool for capturing digital images. As I have sought to learn about my ancestors, I’ve been fortunate to travel to some of the areas where my ancestors lived and have had the opportunity to do on-site research.  These experiences have ranged from half-day excursions to a month long stay.  I used the camera about 90% indoors and 10% outdoors.

Common places indoors

  1. Libraries.
  2. Courthouses.
  3. Museums.
  4. Historical societies.
  5. Homes. Continue reading

Genealogy: Taking better digital photos overall tips

Taking better digital photos overall tipsBy Barry J. Ewell

The following are some basic tips to consider the next time you head out with your digital camera.  These tips are easy to implement and make the biggest difference in your use of the camera in you genealogy research.

Be prepared. Gather everything you’ll need, such as a tripod, extra batteries, and any props you’ll use. (A camera bag really comes in handy for transporting everything.) If you plan to take photos in wet weather, bring a plastic bag to protect your camera.

Hold your camera steady. Camera movement causes most of the blurry pictures you see. Prevent your camera from shaking by planting your feet firmly on the ground, and then steady your upper body by tucking your elbows in close to your sides. If you feel unstable, use a tripod or try leaning against a wall or a tree. Gently press the shutter release in one motion; if you press too hard, you could jerk the camera downward. Continue reading