Category: Document Copying

Cool gadgets and gifts on every Genealogist’s wish list !

Over time, I have developed this list of my favorite and most wished for cool gadgets and gifts on every genealist’s wish list whether the occasion is Christmas, birthday, graduation, or any of life’s other milestones.

Apple – iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7″ 16 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet – 2013 Model (iOS 6, LCD Touchscreen, 2048×1536, 10 Hours, Lightning Connector)

genealogist's wish list

Apple iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7 on the genealogist’s wish list.

Although in the past, I always used a laptop for portability, I find that I’m home all the time now and have replaced my old laptop with an all in one desktop with 23″ touch screen that I absolutely love.

Since I learned the lovely news that RootsMagic, my favorite genealogy software, has now released Mac and iOS compatible versions, I have decided that my next purchase will be the Apple iPad for portability – for those rare occasions when I do travel away from home.

Wizcom – QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared)

genealogist's wish list

Wizcom QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared) on the genealogist’s wish list.

I have an OCR conversion software for converting pdf and image files to be editable. This is an absolute must for my transcription efforts.

Although I don’t own a pen scanner, this is the next item on my list for my ‘portable pack.’

VuPoint Solutions – Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi (Pewter) with 32GB Card + Reader + Case + Cloth

genealogist's wish list

Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi and 32GB Card is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I did own this handheld scanner until my daughter knocked over my working table one day and broke it. I do intend to get another as it was great for scanning individual pages, open books, etc.

Couragent, Inc. – Flip-Pal mobile scanner

 on every genealogist's wish list.

Flip-Pal mobile scanner is on every genealogist’s wish list.

This is another scanner I don’t yet own, but I’m toying with purchasing this solely because of its portability and ability to ‘stitch’ images together. This is essential for scanning large documents, certificates, photos, charts, and diagrams.

WD – My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

WD - My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I swear by my portable, external hard drive. Using this in conjunction with SkyDrive, my genealogy data is always duplicated and secure. This is by far the best method I’ve found for safeguarding years of hard work and investment.

NMicro – NMicro 1TB USB 3.0 tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series actual 28.8GB Free Space

on every genealogist's wish list

NMicro 32GB tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series is on every genealogist’s wish list.

For those occasions when I don’t want to lug around the portable external hard drive, the micro pen drive is the answers. It is great for storing those scanner images, photos, etc. until I can get home and transfer them to my main system.

Magnabrite – 64mm Magnabrite® Light Gathering Magnifier

is on every genealogist's wish list

Magnabrite® 64mm Light Gathering Magnifier is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I haven’t been doing a lot of research in dimly lit, dusty old libraries, archives, etc., this is an amazing gift as it gathers and magnifies the ambient light to direct it at specific documents, books, etc. and making them more readable.

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred (Voice Recognition Mini Box – PC – English)

 is on every genealogist's wish list

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I love my NaturallySpeaking software and use it all the time. It doesn’t work well when there are people around all the time, but for someone like me who is home alone during the weekdays, this software enables easy verbal transcription of documents, and then it’s just a matter of editing and formatting. Such a time saver!

I also swear by this because I like my blogs to have a more conversational tone, so I dictate my blog posts directly into the software for easy editing and formatting. If you’re a blogger with plenty of quiet time on your own, you really must try this.

NOTE: There is some ‘training’ required to increase accuracy, but except for a few ‘glitchy’ instances, I find it amazingly accurate.

Great Plains – WOW 4-in-1 Combo Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Great Plains 4-in-1 Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets is on every genealogist’s wish list.

Since I just purchased my very first touch screen computer – my new all in one – my next purchase will be a decent stylus for on screen actions and activities – and just for fun!

Antenna Shop – Antenna Shop Brief Bag with Stylish Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets (ASBBNB)

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Antenna Shop Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets on every genealogist’s wish list.

I don’t think I have to say much about this one. Once I’ve purchased all of the items on my list above that I don’t already own, this would be an ideal case for carrying around the iPad and extraneous gadgets required to keep my genealogy research and blogging life simple – believe it or not!

Now’s your chance to check out Ancestry.com’s free DNA kit.

Ancestry.com free DNA kit with 6 month subscription.

Ancestry.com gives a free DNA kit valued at $99 with a 6 month subscription.

If you’ve ever considered a subscription at Ancestry.com, now’s your chance to buy the 6 month subscription, and you’ll get a bonus of a free DNA kit valued at $99.

That’s the same value as the Ancestry.com subscription, so you’re essentially getting everything at half price.

My tough luck is that I’m already subscribed so I don’t qualify, because I’ve always wanted to get the DNA kit.

I’m a dedicated Ancestry.com World Subscription user as my research spans numerous continents, countries, counties and cities. No one comes even close to the broad range of geographical areas and document and source types offered by Ancestry.com.

There are a few points in our genealogy where doing a DNA test would be very helpful by confirming some connections for which it has been difficult to find reliable sources – at least this test could confirm that there is a connection, or not. It may also help us solve some family genealogy mysteries.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to let my subscription lapse and wait until they offer the free DNA kit again in the future???

My top 6 genealogy resolutions for the New Year of 2014.

New Year Reslutions

Today marks the new year, as well as my fifteenth year researching our family’s genealogy.

To mark this new year, I have decided to create a LIST of New Years resolutions I’d like to complete. And believe me, after all this time, there’s a lot that needs doing.

  1. Make a ‘New Year’ backup on an external hard drive large enough to contain all my genealogy data and files, including software I use (free and paid), genealogy software data files, images, documents, etc. to safeguard against eventual damage and corruption to DVD’s or CD’s.
  2. Optimize all images over 1 MB to increase my website’s page speed, and hopefully revenue – and decrease bandwidth used for downloads by site users.
  3. FINALLY add media and sources collected and saved, but not yet connected to relevant individuals, events and places in my genealogy database, and believe me, there are tons!
  4. Transcribe source images and input the text into the source citation and post on the website.
  5. Create ‘bios’ from website posts and attach to relevant individuals in my genealogy database.
  6. Do more genealogy research into mystery people and those with few, poor quality sources.

As I looked over this list, I realized it’s a lot like housework. You can work your butt off to complete tasks and return later only to find much of it needs redoing. Once I get through the genealogy list and start working on number ‘6’, I’m just creating more work and will have to start from the beginning again next New Year.

Genealogy is a great way to pique a student’s interest in Social Studies and History.

PhotographsAbout ten months ago, I wrote a post about the effect my interest in Genealogy has had on my children’s interest in Social Studies and History throughout school. It has instilled such a personal connection for my children they were actually excited about studies and projects that had anything to do with their Acadian, French Canadian, Quaker and Swedish ancestries.

I’m sure most people remember their schooling the same as I do – an exercise in memorization for periodic tests and exams, the information learned being quickly forgotten soon after.

The only things that had a lasting impression on me were the things we learned that had a personal connection to us, our families, and our history.

It’s nice to see the newest crop of teachers’ abilities to see the value of incorporating genealogy into their curriculum to reinforce their teachings. Such is the case of a student teacher in Greene County, Pennsylvania who gave the students an assignment to create a presentation of their genealogy to be presented to the local Genealogical Society during a tour of the old county courthouse. The projects will remain on display for others to see until January 31, 2014.

More teachers in the United States and Canada should be doing this. It had a positive effect on my kids, and I’m sure it would on other students as well.

photo credit: Valerie Reneé via photopin cc

Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied documents.

This joke is the best illustration I’ve ever seen of the negative effects of working from copied documents instead of originals. This should be on display in every library, archive and genealogy center as a reminder of the perils awaiting.

This is something I think about every time I do a transcription, and this type of consequence is why I use wildcard symbols in place of characters I can’t quite make out or understand in the original or copy I’m working from. It ensures the reader knows there is doubt and if it’s important to them and their research, they’ll look for and consult the original.

MonkThe Old Monk

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.

He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk says “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong.

The old monk sobs, “The word is celebrate.”

Why would a typist and transcriptionist want to spend her leisure years typing and transcribing?

transcriptionThe answer?

I’m a genealogy fanatic and typing and transcription are a very large portion of the workload necessary to conduct research, handle sources and documents, and transcribe images of documents into editable text to make it searchable. Although I made the majority of my living as a business owner and Administrative Assistant using these necessary skills, I find I’m using them just as much if not more in my quest for my family’s history and heritage.

I’ve looked into dictation transcription services in case I find a need for them and can afford them one day to ease my workload when (knock on wood) my blogs really take off. The majority of the sites I looked at offered basic transcription services without specialization, but I couldn’t believe the wide range of services offered by Daily Transcription Services.

Their areas of expertise include:

  • Academic: Thesis, lectures, speeches, student services, focus groups and interviews.
  • Corporate: Business meetings, data entry, conference calls, dictation, market research, video conferencing and voice to text.
  • Closed Captioning: Multimedia captions, foreign captions and pop up and  roll up captions.
  • Legal Services: Forensic transcription, depositions, court reporting, etc.
  • Post Production: Full range of post production services including clean and actual verbatum, and transcription from both good and difficult audio sources.
  • Transcription Services: Audio and video transcription, podcasts, dictation, voice to text and webcaption transcription services.
  • Language Services: Dubbing, translation, caption, and lip sync services in numerous languages.
  • Writing Services: Writers experience in television, film, journalism and film offer screenplay and script services and formatting, as well as ghost writing.

I have never seen a company offer such  a broad range of services at a variety of skill levels before. Perhaps, if I ever tire of genealogy and decide to make extra money for our retirement, I could apply to this company?

I don’t know if I ever could or would give up my genealogy as there’s always a new mystery to be solved and new questions to be answered.

photo credit: alanclarkdesign via photopin cc