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    Sunday
    May012011

    The Photo Detective

    A fellow member of the Association of Personal Historians recommended consulting Maureen Taylor, whom the Wall Street Journal called “the nation’s foremost historical photo detective.” The Journal’s article describes how Taylor unravels the mysteries contained in old photos. It’s a fascinating process.

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    Friday
    Apr292011

    What to Include in a Memoir or Family History Book

    How do you create a “living” person in a memoir or family history? We’ve talked about several approaches here. Today we’re going to look at some ideas from Phillip Lopate, essayist, writer and poet and author of The Art of the Personal Essay. These thoughts originally appeared in an interview with Lania Knight for the online edition of Poets and Writers Magazine.

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    Monday
    Apr252011

    I Love a Mystery

    I love mysteries. As a historian I have always found the search for the evidence that would unravel the mystery surrounding a historical event fascinating. Reading mystery novels is one of my favorite pastimes. A friends, knowing this propensity, recently sent me a story that the Associated Press reported a few years ago. It’s too good not to share.

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    Friday
    Apr222011

    Photographers, You’re Going To Love This

    What if you could reinvent the camera? Just as all our technological tools are moving toward miniaturization and wireless connections, cameras are undergoing a makeover. Photography designers Artefact have developed the prototype, the WVIL, which stands for "Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens.”

    The whole idea is that in current camera design, the viewfinder is shackled to the lens. What is the lens was in one place, but the viewfinder and controls were somewhere else, say on your computer or an iphone-type console? You could wireless adjust the lens through software, making the kind of rapid, minute calibrations that our clumsy fingers often fail to achieve.

    But wait, there’s more! Why just one lens? What if you could position multiple lenses around a subject, and control them all wirelessly? Photography is then transformed to a simultaneous input 3D art.

    To learn more, check out this article in Fast Company. There's a fascinating video, too. “Artefact claims that the WVIL concept is less about redesigning the digital camera as it is about redesigning digital photography itself.

    "It's about defining a platform for innovation in both hardware and software -- a camera operating system," Ronning says. "We've seen the effect that iOS had on phones. Now think of what effect a camera OS could have for photography."

    I can imagine, and like the fanatical iphone buyers, I would stand in line all night to buy this.

     

    Tuesday
    Apr192011

    Why I Celebrate National Library Week

    I walked into my hometown branch of the Shasta County Library on Monday afternoon. Near the front desk a colorful sign invited me to Celebrate National Library Week. As it so often happens, I missed the memo. The celebration was last week, April 10-16. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join the celebration, no matter how tardy I might be

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    Sunday
    Apr172011

    Memoir or Autobiography: Which One's for You?

    This post looks at how a memoirist approaches the process of writing about his or her life.

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    Friday
    Apr152011

    Bring an Ancestor to Life with a Biographical Sketch

    This post offers a look at how excellent historians have created biographical sketches to enliven figures in their books and how you can do it too.

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    Wednesday
    Apr132011

    What Makes a Good Memoir?

    This post looks at several answers to the question, "What makes a good memoir?"

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    Monday
    Apr112011

    Editing and Design Make Your Book Look Its Best

    See how working with a professional editor and book designer can give your self published book a look of professionalism.

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    Saturday
    Apr092011

    The Value of a Journal 

    The Black Book, a journal of political aphorisms, quips and observations from four generations in the Adlai Stevenson family demonstrates the value of journaling for family historians and memoirists.

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    Thursday
    Apr072011

    Self Publishing Success Story

    Author Johnna Tuttle describes her experiences with writing, editing, designing, and self publishing.

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    Tuesday
    Apr052011

    Family History With Feelings

    "No one’s family history is compelling and interesting, until you make it compelling and interesting," said family historian Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Absolutely! But how do you do that? One important part of the process is recognizing that there is an critical difference between genealogical research and writing a family history.

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    Sunday
    Apr032011

    More Sources of Photos for Your Family History Book

    Still looking for photos to illustrate your family history book? Here are two more excellent sites you will want to visit.

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    Friday
    Apr012011

    Images of Ancestors for Your Family History Book 

    This post offers suggestions of the best online sites to search for old family photos to use in illustrating your family history book.

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    Wednesday
    Mar302011

    Creating a Vivid Portrait of Distant Ancestors

    In my last couple of posts, we’ve looked at to problem a family historian faces when trying to write a book about relatives accessible only through written records. Today we’ll look at what can be done when dealing with more distant ancestors for whom written records may be less plentiful.

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