Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DropBox - online storage and syncing

Today I taught the final class of the five that I've given the last five weeks at the FHC. The class was about Dropbox and "the cloud" which is basically online storage. Dropbox also allows you to share files with others so it is an easy way to share your genealogy data and photos online. It makes sense to store your important family history online as well as at home on portable devices. I had an external hard drive fail recently and although most of the data and images are on computers I wish I had had some of that data online. Dropbox also syncs files between your computers, tablet and smart phone. Dropbox is easy to download and install - very user friendly. I've used Dropbox for over a year and I totally recommend it as a great tool to share and store your genealogy.

Recently Google announced their new online storage/cloud, Google Drive, which also syncs with your home computer. Google Drive gives you 5 gigabytes of storage free and more at a reasonable price. It is a conversion of Google Docs so you can also edit your documents, spreadsheets and such.
There is a comparison chart of 13 of the online storage/cloud providers in an article by Ellis Hamburger:
 Google Drive vs. Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and others: a cloud sync storage face-off

Following are the points I made during the class.
  • Dropbox is an online repository where you can store almost any type of data in the “cloud”
  • That “Data Cloud” is accessible wherever you have an internet connection
  • Dropbox has the ability to connect multiple devices to the cloud and sync new data and updates instantaneously to each of those devices.
  • Dropbox has the ability to share folders with other users
  • Dropbox gives you the first 2 gigabytes of data storage free with the ability to gain more

    Here is a video by Dropbox telling about itself:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Archie Watts 1921-1939

Today I want to spotlight my great uncle, Archie Watts, who passed from this life when he was just 17 years old. I spoke with his nephew, Bert Bulkley about him last week. Bert is now in his 80s but still remembers Archie fondly and says that Archie was kind and the best guy he knew.
My Grandma Palmer lost her father, Hyrum Henry Rose when she was 11 and her brother, Jack was 5. Their mother later married Ben Watts and had two more children, Lola and Archie. So Archie was my grandmother's half brother.
Archie Watts was born on the 27th of September 1921 in Aurora, Sevier County, Utah. He died during his senior year of high school on January 1939 in Aurora also.
According to his mother's journal Archie had been having trouble with his muscles in the week before his death and had complained about his jaw muscles hurting one day and his arms at another time. She said they'd decided that he wasn't getting enough exercise at school but he was doing the farm chores at home. In fact on that last morning he had got up and milked and carried the milk to the cheese factory before breakfast so his 75 year old father didn't have to. At breakfast he told them about the high school basketball game and dance he'd attended the night before and practiced some lines for an upcoming MIA play. He had earlier said he needed to diet because he had gained six pounds over the holidays and thought that might be why his muscles hurt. He finished breakfast before his parents and said he was still starving and drank a cup of milk then went into the living room and turned on the radio. His mother heard him cough and thought he was choking so headed to get him some water as he fell back. After he collapsed they sent for the doctor who arrived in seven minutes but it was too late. 
Archie's mother said that he was working on his autobiography, if it is around somewhere I'd like to see it.. His mother later mentions going to his class's graduation to accept his diploma and an award he'd earned.
I think of Archie every now and then. All of his immediate family have passed from this earth but I wanted to share a little of his life today. He grew up in a small town to a poor household during the 1920s and the depression years. I know he worked hard alongside his aging father on their farm. He enjoyed school and had a good but probably not healthy heart.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flip-Pal mobile scanner class

On Wednesday I team-taught a class on mobile scanners with S. House. She demonstrated and told of her experience with the Magic Wand mobile scanner. I did the same with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. I'm happy that I finally got to see a wand scanner in action. I think they both have their uses but I really enjoy my Flip-Pal scanner.
The Flip-Pal looks like a mini flatbed scanner and can scan that way but has many more uses. The scanner runs off 4 AA batteries - you can also use rechargeable batteries. And the scanner comes with an SD card and USB adapter for SD cards in case your computer doesn't have an SD slot. Besides just storing photos the SD card has the image viewing and stitching programs installed. You can run the programs from the card or install them on your computer. You can use other SD cards and you can download the program if you lose the original. There is a 1.7 inch screen on the front through which you can review scans and set the resolution to either 300 DPI or 600 DPI. After pushing the green button on the side it takes six seconds to scan and uses a low light which isn't as damaging my old flatbed scanner.

A wonderful feature of the Flip-Pal is that you can remove the cover, turn it over and see what you are scanning. The scanning surface is 4X6 inches - a standard size for photos. But this doesn't limit the size of items you are scanning because if you overlap your scans the software will seamlessly stitch the scans together for you. I've seen demos of people scanning quilts to archive them although I would just use a digital camera to do this..

One thing I've done with my Flip-Pal that I haven't seen demonstrated is to scan the computer screen. I was using a computer at a facility and this was easier than printing or the other options available.

Here is a census image that was scanned from the computer and stitched together with the Flip-Pal stitching program.

For the class I quickly scanned a framed picture on our wall to show how the scans stitched together. I took 15 scans and even turned the scanner sideways for the last three scans. When I stitched it together I found that at one point (where it was over my head) I hadn't overlapped the scans. It still put the picture together but with a black strip where I missed the overlap. This was done quickly through the glass and I can't tell where it is stitched except at the missed point. I've seen a large, framed family portrait done this way. The completed scan does lose some resolution as it is stitched especially with large projects.
I feel that the Flip-Pal mobile scanner is a great tool for genealogy. It's perfect to take to relatives and get copies of photos, histories and certificates especially since many times people are reluctant to have the items taken from their homes even to a copy store. And yes you can use a digital camera to copy items also but the Flip-Pal scans are very sharp and the color is good. I was able to scan all of the pictures from my great grandmother's photo album. It wasn't stable enough to press onto a regular scanner but the Flip-Pal worked great.
The Flip-Pal mobile scanner costs $149.99 and can be purchased online at,, most online genealogy sites and also be found in booths at genealogy/scrapbooking/craft conventions.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This blog is back in business...

I'm going to give this blog another chance.. And since I have rededicated my time to genealogy I want to share what is happening including news about my classes, FSI (indexing), new-to-me pictures/histories of our ancestors and also share exciting-to-me research news such as the time when I finally determined which children belong to which mother.
Hopefully I won't post too much info such as the fact that I'd forgotten that I'd started this blog four years ago until I applied to use the name, was told it was taken, visited the blog to see who was using the name and found that it was ME!!