Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Live Streamed Presentations Announced Today

Hi Everyone!

Today was the day that the organizers of the RootsTech 2014 history and technology conference announced which presentations would be streamed live during the conference that runs Thursday, February 6 to Saturday, February 8.

By live streaming the presentations you can "attend" the conference without leaving home and it is free.

Here is a link to the FamilySearch Blog with the announcement. It contains a list of when and what will be shown live and when.

Please remember that the times are given in Mountain Time. That means for us in the Eastern Time Zone that you need to ADD TWO HOURS to each start time. So 10:30 a.m. MST is 12:30 p.m. EST. and 5 p.m. MST is 7 p.m. EST.

The live stream portal will be added to the RootsTech website just prior to the start of the conference.

The presentations will be recorded and available at the RootsTech website for viewing later. (Last year's recorded presentations are still available as of today but will likely be removed soon in preparation for this year's conference.)

Also, the syllabus materials for all of the sessions are available for download NOW! The very first download in the list is a zip (compressed) file containing all of the handouts together in one download. You just need to uncompress/open the zip file after you download it. 

Just go to the schedule page to see what is being presented that interests you and then look through the syllabus files to see if the presenter kindly included a handout.

I hope at least one of the presentations interests you enough to watch it live or catch the recording later. But remember we have a meeting that Friday, February 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

See you soon at the Mt. Clemens Public Library!


NOTE: I originally posted this at 2:28 pm EST. on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
Update: If you downloaded the zip file for all syllabus materials, you may encounter a message regarding "copy files without encryption?" while uncompressing or extracting the files. Just say yes (remember to check the box to apply for all instances) and the files/folders will extract. Inside the "allsessions" folder are two folders: one is for PC users and one is for Mac users. If you are not using a Macintosh computer, you can delete/trash the entire folder called "_MACOSX" and if you are not using a PC computer, you can delete/trash the "sessionfiles" folder. The handouts are organized by presentation session code.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Antiques Roadshow - Detroit Episodes to Air in January and February

Earlier this year Antique Roadshow visited Detroit, Michigan. Tickets for appraisals were passed out via online lottery. I know some of our MCGG members entered but I don't think any of us were successful in scoring any tickets.

The Antiques Roadshow 2014 TV Schedule begins next week! The show is at 8 p.m. Mondays on your PBS station. The Detroit Hour One will premiere on January 27; Detroit Hour Two on February 3; and Detroit Hour Three on February 10.

Other cities visited for the 2014 season are: Boise, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Anaheim, and Richmond. A Jacksonville & Knoxville episode will air in the Fall.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cancelled -- Friday, January 24 MCGG Friday Resource Development Session

Hi Everyone!

Due to the predicted snow and extreme cold temperatures, Ann decided to cancel tomorrow's Resource Development Session (Friday, January 24, 2014).

Sorry for the short notice. Please stay warm and safe.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tips for using the BookScan Station

If you have not heard, the Mount Clemens Public Library has purchased the BookScan Station.

Here are some tips for using the BookScan Station in the Local History/Genealogy Room.

1. Besides your documents, bring your USB drive/Flash drive/ Thumb drive with you. If you are planning to scan a lot of items or large items at the higher scan resolutions you will likely need a drive with at least a couple gigabytes of capacity. An older small USB drive (1 GB or less) will only hold one or at most a couple scans depending on the resolution your scan resolution.
  • If you accidentally forget your USB drive/Flash drive/Thumb drive, don't worry. The library now has a supply of 1GB flash drives available for purchase for $4 each. They are not fancy but will get the job done without having to find the nearest store or come back to the library again later.
  • Now that the station is out of demo-mode, besides saving to your USB drive you have:
    • the capability to email a file to yourself (or someone else.) For output to e-mail, the user will be asked to enter his/her e-mail address through the touchscreen keyboard. When the user opens his/her e-mail inbox, there will be an e-mail with a subject header that says "Your file from the scan station at Mount Clemens Public Library" or something to that effect.
    • send a file to your Google drive. For output to GoogleDrive, the user must already have a Google account and will be asked to enter his/her Gmail address and password through the touchscreen keyboard. When the scan completes, the file will then be automatically uploaded to the designated GoogleDrive account.
    • send a file to your bluetooth smartphone/tablet. For output to smartphone, the screen will display a QR code at the conclusion of the scan. The smartphone user will then need to scan the QR code with his phone, which will transfer the file directly to the user's smartphone. The user will need to 1)have a QR code reader app already installed on his phone and 2) know how to use it. iPads can also use the smartphone output to capture the file.
    • output a scan to the printer. This will send the print job to the printer between the two computers in the genealogy room. THE PRINT JOB TAKES A MINUTE OR TWO TO PRINT, so patrons need to be patient. Just like when you are printing a record image from Ancestry, the printer needs a couple of minutes to spool up the job, but it will spit it out eventually. Patrons should be reminded that they need to pay 10 cents per page for the print just as they do when printing from the other computers in the room.
There are special materials for cleaning these scanners; anything else may damage the platen glass/lenses. So please notify the library staff if you see the scanners are in need of cleaning. The scanners are not to ever be dry-wiped or wiped with any kind of wet-wipe that has anything other than alcohol on it.

3. Flatbed Scanner Tips
This scanner is for items up to 11 inches by 17 inches. It has a book-edge so pages of books will lay flat and the spine will not be damaged.
  • DO NOT MOVE THE FLATBED SCANNER. The lenses need to be locked down to avoid damage and patrons should not attempt this.
  • REMOVE ALL STAPLES AND PAPERCLIPS before placing the item on the glass platen. This will help prevent scratching the glass. Please be careful of your rings also.
  • DO NOT PUT EXTREMELY HEAVY OBJECTS ON THE FLATBED SCANNER. This means you should not try to scan the large city directories or court books. Instead for these items ask the volunteer or library staff to use the MagicWand Scanner to capture the page you desire. 
  • DO NOT DROP ITEMS on the platen glass, gently place them so the glass does not break.
  • The scanner will automatically straighten document scans not placed square on the platen glass.
    • If the document you are scanning has diagonal line at its' edge, the scanner may have trouble with automatically straightening it. Try turning the document 90 degrees on the platen (if it fits that way.)
  • If you are trying to scan smaller items with irregular edges or smaller items that are very dark, place a blank sheet of paper behind (on top of) the item so the scanner will not automatically straighten or accidentally crop your document scan. You can then use the crop feature to edit the scan size.
4. Sheet-Feed Scanner Tips
This scanner is for loose and flexible papers/photos (single- or double-sided); not for stiff items or delicate items that you don't want damaged.
  • REMOVE ALL STAPLES AND PAPERCLIPS before loading into the feeder. Also, any post-it notes.
  • When loading multiple pages at one time (up to 50), fan the sheets to ensure they are not sticking together. Then straighten and load the pages.
  • Place items in the feeder front-printed-side down (not facing you) and so the top of the page enters the scanner first.
  • After scanning, DO REVIEW EACH PAGE SCAN to ensure the scanner did not rotate a page by mistake.
5. Choose the scan options best for your document.
The BookScan station has several scan options for your use. You decide how you want to scan your item at the beginning of a scan session. After your initial scan and save you will need to select these choices again after taping the "scan more" instead of "I'm done."
  • You can create a JPG, TIFF, PDF, Searchable PDF or Word file.
    •  JPG is a compressed file format. (You can not set the compression rate.)
    •  TIFF is an uncompressed file format.
    •  PDF is a Portable Document File. Use a program like Adobe Acrobat to open the file. It is mostly used for text or text and image documents. Note: usually images in PDF format can not be edited.
    •  Searchable PDF is a PDF also ... BUT the BookScan station applies Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to the file so you can perform a search/find on the text in the file you just made/saved. When creating Searchable PDFs, please note that it does take a long time for the final processing to take place. Eight-pages in tabloid size creating a file size of 3-6 MB, can take at least two minutes to process (create the word search feature). Fifty pages in letter-size creating a file size of xx MB, can take over ten minutes to process. You may think something has gone wrong but just be patient, the searchable feature is well worth the wait.
    • Word file is a document for opening in a word processing program, MicroSoft Word.
  • You can scan in Color, Grayscale, or Black and White.
  • You can choose your scan resolution.
- Standard Quality is 200 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) resolution.
- High Quality is 300 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) resolution.
- Photo Quality is 600 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) resolution.

If you have a photo editing program like PhotoShop Elements at home, we suggest you scan/save using TIFF instead of JPG. That way you can control the compression rate (loss) of the JPG yourself. (Open your TIFF file in your photo editing program and save a copy of the TIFF file as a JPG with the compression rate you prefer.) Remember: every time you save a jpg file it compresses (throws out more information) again.

The station initially comes up with a standardized generic name which includes the date. You can choose to keep this standardized name (and rename the files when you get home) or choose to give it a more descriptive name (so you find find that image back again later.)

If you want to give each scan an individual descriptive name, you will need to save each document right after you scan it. Tap the next after you are happy with the scan image. When the image is processed and saved, you can choose "scan more" or "I'm done."

If you are scanning multiple items at one time (batch scanning) and you choose jpg or tiff format, the station will apply a sequential number to the file name used -- the standardized generic name or one you choose. So all the individual files created carry the same name along with a number (1, 2, 3, etc.)

For those who attended a Let's Talk meeting last November/December or have read the initial blog post about the SimpleScan or BookScan station, I mentioned a caution at the time in regards to batch scanning. I had experienced the station creating one jpg file with multiple images imbedded into that file rather than it creating muliple jpg files (one for each scan) when I batch scanned. (I saw no way to get the images separated into separate files.) That was in demo mode. This situation appears to have been corrected now that the station is out of demo mode. I ran a test last night (to double check this problem) and this situation did not appear again. I got multiple files labeled sequentially, not one file with multiple images inside it.

If you batch scan and choose pdf or searchable pdf, the image scans will all appear in the same pdf file.

If you come up with any questions or tips of your own when using the BookScan Station let us know.

See You Soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Genealogy-focused Webinars and Instructional Videos -- What is out There?

At our Let's Talk...Genealogy discussion group meetings, we often mention attending webinars. At the last meeting someone asked, "What is a webinar?"

A webinar refers to a web seminar. It is web/internet conferencing that allows attendees and the presenter to come together from multiple locations using internet video/sound services in real-time, often with two-way communication. This online event could be a meeting, online workshop, training event, lecture, or presentation.

Related to this are recorded instructional videos, some of which may be recorded webinar events.

Why attend a webinar? It's another great learning opportunity. And even better, you don't have to leave home to do it. All you need  is a computer and internet connection. 

Not sure how to do something or feel you are missing something in your research? A webinar is a great way to learn more about a topic. Of course it depends on the speaker and that person's capabilities but more often than not the speakers of these various online webinars are of good or great caliber. They know their subject and speak/present well.

Instructional/How-To books are a great way to learn about a topic also, but for some people spoken/visual instruction works better. And if books work for you, webinars are an added tool.

So where do you find these webinars? We've put together a list below. This likely isn't all inclusive but it is a good list to get your started.

What does a webinar cost? Many are offered for free when viewed live. Some are then archived for viewing later and these archived videos may also be free, free for a limited time or require a membership to them to be viewed later. Some companies do charge a fee to view/attend a live webinar (sometimes called a class) or archived/recorded webinar/class. 

In the end, it is up to you to decide which ones to view/attend/use.

Organizations or companies offering "free" (see above) genealogy-focused webinars.
Legacy Family Tree's FamilyTreeWebinars
Legacy Family Tree is a genealogy program. The company behind the program hosts a webinar just about every week using the gotowebinar service (on internet company specializing in hosting online meetings.) The webinars are free when viewed live and generally are available for free until the day before the next seminar (about 7 days). After that, you have to be a member/subscriber to the webinar website. The upcoming webinar schedule for 2014 is available here and there is a link at the top of the list to register for multiple webinars at one time: 

Illinois State Genealogical Society
The webinars are held generally on Tuesday nights and the society uses the gotowebinar service. They are free when viewed live. Afterwards, you need to be a member of the society to view the archived webinars. The society's 2014 webinars are listed here and you need to register for each webinar individually:

Southern California Genealogy Society
The webinars are held generally on Saturdays or Wednesdays and the society uses the gotowebinar service. They are free when viewed live. Afterwards, you need to be a member of the society to view the archived webinars. The society's 2014 webinars are listed here and you need to register for each webinar individually:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
NEHGS has also started hosting genealogy webinars. The webinars are free and open to the public (unless otherwise stated) and archived for later viewing. The upcoming webinars (for about the next two months) is listed here:  
The society's archived webinars, video lectures and how-to videos (which are viewable my non-members) are available here: announces its upcoming webinars on its blog site. To find the latest list, scroll down through the articles to find the latest article on Upcoming Webinars and Events. Prior registration is required and the links to register are found in these articles. But it appears that you have to have a FaceBook account to register to view the webinar live. (Apparently no one has told Ancestry that not everyone is on FaceBook. So you might just have to view the archived version of the webinar.)
Archived Webinars are accessible in two places.
Ancestry also has a wide variety of videos archived at its YouTube channel located here:

Some genealogy/ family history conferences have been streaming live (and/or recording) select presentation/panel discussion sessions from their conferences.
RootsTech family history conference
RootsTech is a yearly, multiple-day family history conference hosted by FamilySearch. Registered/Paying Attendees of the event can choose from a wide variety of presentation/discussion panels sessions to attend throughout each day of the conference. In 2013, RootsTech offered select sessions streamed live for viewing by people around the country. There was no cost to view a live session online though prior registration was required. These presentation/group discussion sessions were then archived so they could be watched later. The 2013 archived videos can be found here:
The RootsTech 2014 conference is February 6-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will once again offer select presentation/discussion panel sessions streamed live; though the schedule for these live streamed events has not yet been announced publicly. Keep an eye out for this announcement. The 2013 sessions that were live streamed were informative and interesting. This year's should be too.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair
In 2013 for the first time, the National Archives hosted a Virtual Genealogy Fair with live lectures via the website UStream. Those lectures or the slides from those lectures are posted on the site and feature various federal records of genealogy interest:
Keep an eye out for information on the 2014 fair. 

Other forms of webinars
Federation of Genealogical Societies 
Thought the focus of this society is on running a society, you may find one of it's archived webinar topics interesting. The society's archived webinars are located here:
The society announces its live webinars on it blog site, FGS Voice. 

Dear Myrtle Google+ Hangouts
Also Dear Myrtle, a nationally known genealogy personality, began hosting Google+ hangouts. These are get-togethers using Google's video conferencing feature. She has a link on her blog site to her Google+ community page. Some hangouts are announced (have a link) a head of time but some not until closer to the start time. You have to be a Google+ member to participate. (Google+ is Google's answer to FaceBook.) Usually there is a panel that participates using web cameras. Some of these video slots are invited as a panel members, some are just attendees. If there is a specific topic, it is announced prior to the hangout. The hangouts that are recorded are viewable on Dear Myrtle's YouTube channel located here:

Online Instructional Videos

FamilySearch is the website of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (LDS/Mormons) who have been filming and collecting records of genealogy interest for years. Back before the internet, they produced and printed research guides and help guides to aid and instruct people doing genealogy. Since the internet they have moved these guides and helps to the FamilySearch Wiki. And on top of that they started a Learning Center which features the guides, helps AND instructional videos and classes. Here is the main page of FamilySearch's Learning Center:
FamilySearch also has a YouTube channel with instructional videos located here:

Here, there, every where. One way to keep track of what webinars are going on is the Genea-Webinars Calendar. It can be found on several genealogy blog sites. One such blog, is Dear Myrtle on her calendar page. Now it likely doesn't have every webinar out there but it is a good calendar of webinars to reference.

Speaking of calendars. Use your own Outlook or Google Calendar to keep track of the webinars that you have registered to attend. In addition to adding what and the time to the calendar date, in the where copy and paste the personalized weblink that you are sent in your confirmation of registration email. Also, set up a reminder -- either email or pop-up or both -- so you don't forget.

Have fun learning and exploring.

See you soon at the Mt. Clemens Public Library!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

MCGG Friday Group meets tomorrow January 10th at 1 p.m. -- Using Picasa to Edit and Organize your Photos

Our MCGG Friday Group meets tomorrow Friday, January 10, at 1:00 pm in the auditorium of the Mount Clemens Public Library. 

Our speaker will be Jack Vander-Schrier who will show us how to use the free program Picasa to edit and and organize your photos.

So for those of you who are in the Mount Clemens area with a few free hours to invest in genealogy learning, PLEASE JOIN US. 

See you soon at the Mt. Clemens Public Library!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Library will be open Wednesday, January 8th, 2014; Let's Talk will be held

Hi Everyone

I heard from the library's director and assistant director that the Mt Clemens Public Library will be open on Wednesday, January 8th.

We will hold the Let's Talk...Genealogy meeting as scheduled.

If you feel comfortable driving, please join us.

See You Soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library! 


Monday, January 6, 2014

Beginning Genealogy is January 8th, 2014 Let's Talk...Genealogy Meeting Topic

Join us Wednesday, December 11 at 7 p.m. in the Local History/Genealogy Room of the Mt. Clemens Public Library to discuss Beginning Genealogy: It's NOT As Seen On TV.
We'll talk about how to get started and what is really involved ... and those with some experience can share what they wished they'd known when we got started.

Please note that due to the recent bad weather, please check to make sure the library is open on Wednesday before you leave for the meeting. We will send an email to those on our Let's Talk email list and make a post on this blog to let you know if we are a go or no go for the meeting.
See you soon at the Mt. Clemens Public Library!