Preserve Your Family's Heritage - Both Past and Present

Preserve Stories or "Memories"

"Facts Get Recorded … Stories Get Remembered"

Ancestral Stories
It is those stories of our ancestor’s lives that we need to carefully preserve. Our ancestor’s also experienced their set of life challenges, resourcefulness, successes, along with their sad and lighter moments in their lives. It is those stories that we must preserve. Their life experiences can also strengthen us as we go through our own challenges in life.

Our Stories

We also have our own heritage, our life challenges and successes that we need to share with our posterity. We should be active in preserving our photographs, journals, home movies, and our thoughts and testimonies for our posterity to remember us by. Who better to write OUR stories or "memories" than us?

There are so many ways to preserve these things such as through scrapbooks, family blogs, family newsletters, etc. Just be sure that these forms media are going to be preserved for posterity to also benefit from them.

Preserve Slides, Negatives, and Photos

Photographs, slides, & negatives all begin to deteriorate over time. It is important to think about the process of preserving your visual heritage for your posterity.

There are several basic steps to consider in preserving media.
1) Conversion: "digitalization" is getting the physical media into a digital format
2) Editing: the ability to improve the quality of the original image
3) Managing: strategies to store all the files in an organized way, and to ensure that the files are securely backed up regularly
4) Sharing: digital photos are meant to be shared with immediate & extended family. What better way to tell an individual's story than by combining stories with photos

Have we preserved our photos, slides, and negatives? How can I digitally preserve these media items? Do we have photos in albums that have NO names to label who the individuals are? How badly are the colors of my old photos or slides fading? Have we looked at them?

We have equipment and staff at the library that can help you preserve this photo heritage. It is not hard to do this! If you do not have a scanner, our library has a variety of scanners to help you digitize your photos, slides, and negatives. Please call ahead to make reservations for their use.

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Preserve Audio Recordings

Audio recordings of our ancestors as they tell stories of their lives can be inspiring. These recordings become a part of them, and add to their legacy.

Can you imagine listening to a Danish great grandmother singing a primary song with her Danish accent?

Learn how to transfer audio recordings made on cassettes onto your computer. What a wonderful way of saving a digital file of your ancestor's stories in a shareable digital format! You can even load digital recordings up to 15 megabytes in size to Family Tree to share with others.

We can help you digitize and edit your audio recordings!

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Preserve VHS Tapes and Movie Film

If you are one of the lucky few that has old video film of your grandparents or family, it is time to get this digitize. The technology (projectors) are becoming more difficult to find, and the cost to transfer to a digital format will only increase. At some point, conversion will no longer be possible.

Many families have VHS home movies of their family activities. The machines that can play these tapes are no longer being manufactured. Again, it's time to get these tapes digitized.

Our library currently has VHS machines and the software to convert the VHS home movies to a digital format. We can help you with this, as well as help with basic video editing skills to remove parts you may not want in the film, or to create shorter video clips.

Contact us to set up a time to help you with these.

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Preserve Documents

Our library has a document scanner that can scan double sided & multiple pages into a single PDF document that can then be uploaded into Family Tree. This is a very quick process.

If you are scanning your document files from a flatbed scanner this will result in multiple "photo" images. To best keep the single pages together and in sequence, this can be done with PDF software. However, simply dropping the images into a Word file can also be a great option to assemble all the single pages into a single file.

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Keep Digitized Files Well Organized

Keeping all those digital files organized can be quite a chore. Thousands of photographs, hundreds of movie and audio clips will take up a LOT of hard drive space. How are your media files organized? Are you storing them on numerous USB Flash devices? (NOT a good thing) Where do you store them? Are the USB Hard Drives well labeled?

Safely Backing Up Digital Files

I find that the majority of us tend to procrastinate the backup process. "I'll do it tomorrow". It is not an issue of "IF my computer hard drive crashes", but "WHEN it crashes". I had a new hard drive crash within the first month of use. Storage devices wear out and have to be replaced often.

When your computer crashes, there is this immediate "sickening of the stomach", elevation of blood pressure, and tremendous anxiety.

• Have you developed a plan to keep your files always backed up?
• Is it an automatic backup?
• Have you checked to see that the backup service is actually backing up? (the system services can just shut off)
• What if your computer and backups are stolen, or destroyed in a fire or flood?
• Do you have an offsite backup?
• Do you have a family member that is responsible to be the "backup person" in your family? How are you going to make sure that the photos continue to be maintained after you are gone?

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Share Digital Files and Stories With Others
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Family Tree MEMORIES is an amazing place to visit! There is one section called "Gallery" that is a collection place for all the different media types that you uploaded or contributed, and another section that will show your ancestors that have media files attached to them that have contributed by everyone.

How many boxes in your attic or basement are sitting there not seen, or worse degrading over time? You probably have photos of shared ancestors that others, such as your collateral line cousins, do not have.

Remember the "old days" of personal collections of photos, documents, and stories? Personal genealogy research was kept in personal PAF files. With cloud drives, Family Tree Gallery, and other means, we now have the ability to collaborate with cousins we may have never met before. We have the ability to easily share our photos, documents, and stories with others and share our heritage with our cousins.

I challenge you to begin this sharing process! There is a whole new world out there! You will find it a great blessing to share so many different things with others.