Archive for March, 2015

Paul BDYesterday a friend ask me if she needed to keep her old negatives,
since she has the photos. I told her what I would do – that is what you get
when you ask me a question. I always scan my old negatives, and any that family are willing to let me scan, as tiff files. Tiff files are large files, but once scanned I know I have something that won’t lose data, like a jpg might, and I can always save a copy as a jpg to share with family and friends. Then I still save the negatives in a file, possibly to never be looked at again. But that is just what I do.

Think of a jpg file as a photocopy. You can make a photocopy of a photocopy, and if you continue to do that you will eventually end up with a distorted copy. A tiff file is a more stable file, that you can use, copy and edit and still have a something that will allow you to print a large photo if you chose to. I have even been given jpg files that I save as tiffs in order to stop the loss of data from the picture.

After I explained this to her, she looked at me like, “why did I ask” and then said “Well, these are just pictures of the kids birthdays.” My reply, “wouldn’t you love to have a picture of your great-grandmother when she was a child at a birthday party?” Think into the future of your yet unknown descendants and use the wonderful technologies we have been given. While we don’t print pictures as much as we use to, we certainly save, share, and document our photos like we have never been able to do. [The above picture is of my brother Paul Bliss at a birthday party].

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google earthGoogle Earth is a free mapping program that lets you travel the world, the oceans, and even outer space, all from your home. It is more than Google Maps as it allows you to see and overlay layers such as adding roads, rivers, and railroads, and historic maps to your earth view. The program can be downloaded free and will work on both PC and Mac operating systems.

I always want to see the land where my ancestors lived, I like to find the distance between the town they lived in and the town where other family members lived. If they lived close to a county or state border, they may have created records in that different place. The Kinner’s of Whitehall Township, New York,  sometimes married in the bordering state of Vermont, and as they also lived nearly on the border of Ft. Ann Township, they also created records in Ft. Ann.

I often find old plat maps that show the division of land with the name of each owner labeled on their property, and I sometime find old historic maps that identiy, each land owner in the area on their property. I save the map as a jpg. and then overlay it on Google Earth to show where that property would be in today’s world. Images can be adjusted so the scale of both the map and Google Earth are the same.

There are websites that will automatically overlay images onto Google Earth. The BLM [Bureau of Land Management ]Website at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/search/ has early land records including bounty land, and has a Google Earth function built in. Historic Map Works, also has a built-in overlay function. If you set a free Google Earth sign-in you can save your searches, and revisit them without re-creating the search. From an old Missionary Journal, I was able to track the travels from town to town of an early missionary, and create a virtual tour of the towns he preached in, which was then sent to other family members. I recently found a KMZ  file online of the Scottish Clans showing where there Clan Lands were originally located. By overlaying it on Google Earth, I was able to find the areas of Scotland where my ancestors lived, and track their migration.

As a long time user and teacher of Google Earth, I was pleased to find that Google Earth Pro is also now free. While I can do most of what I want on Google Earth, Google Pro allows higher resolution printing, and has a spreadsheet that lets you  map multiple addresses at once. It also includes a movie maker which will allow you to create video presentations. You can also get an app to use Google Earth on your phone or tablet. Enjoy!

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