My Week in Search Terms

As a blogger, I’m obsessed with site metrics and as a researcher/librarian, I’m obsessed with search terms. WordPress satisfies both obsessions with its blog statistics, which let me know how people find my blog by searching the Internet.

I found several interesting search terms over the past week (for still more search-term hilarity, I suggest you visit my friend Amy’s We Tree blog for her “Fun with Search Terms” posts).

1943 guide to hiring women — perhaps this week’s “Binders Full of Women” meme made you think of this brochure that informed 1940s government managers about the ins and outs of hiring and employing women.

andrew jackson photos — unfortunately, Andrew Jackson died in 1845, pre-dating most photographic technology. My second great grand uncle Andrew Jackson Corley, on the other hand, lived in the late 1800s, and I was lucky to come across a photo of him.

how to flip my couch into a flatbed — I think the method you use will be determined by the type of couch you have (Hopefully you have a sleeper sofa. Otherwise, I’m not sure how successful you’ll be). You found my blog because of my post about my Flip-pal scanner — one of my best purchases of 2012. I highly recommend you get one too. You can use it while on your couch or while on your bed.

roots tech 2012, going to — RootsTech 2012 was back in February, but you’re in luck! The event will take place again in March 2013. Hope to see you there.

why are maganetic albums badMagnetic albums are bad. Really, really bad. I highly recommend using an acid-free album like these from Creative Memories (I am a CM consultant) to better protect your photos.

“alfred t. gourley” civil war — nice use of quotation marks to create a phrase out of the name. Unfortunately, even though you most likely also are a descendant of my third great-grandfather, you didn’t reach out (and I even have a special request at the top of this post asking for you to make contact). Next time, stop by and say hello! I don’t bite.

abbey mausoleum arlington wiki — It would be great if there were a wiki for this now-defunct mausoleum, which was looted over many years of neglect. I posted about my search for ancestors who used to be buried there. Hopefully you also found this FindaGrave page about Arlington Abbey, including old pictures of the facility.

Why Magnetic Albums Are Bad

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Album Rescue Project, in which I’m removing someone else’s old photos from a 1920s-era paper album and putting them into a new, acid-free album. This past weekend, I undertook a similar project using some of my own photos from a much more recent, but just as damaging environment.

About seven years ago, before I really got into scrapbooking and learned about photo-safe materials, I decided to compile photos from my younger years that were in various sources into one album. I simply went to Michael’s and purchased a standard photo album with magnetic pages.

Big mistake.

Exhibit A: Page 1. After only a few years, the adhesive on these pages is yellowing and that damage is creeping towards the photos.

These days I know better, of course, but I only recently had the chance to dismantle that album and rescue the photos. I was shocked to see how much the pages in the album had been altered in only a few years. Notice the yellowing around the edges? That yellowing doesn’t just stay on the page — it can affect your photos too. Imagine how bad magnetic albums are that have been sitting around for 20 or 30 years.

The damage is quite pervasive -- every page is affected.

Magnetic albums aren’t magnetic at all. The pages have adhesive on them. The adhesive is acidic (aka very bad for photos). It also makes the photos very difficult to remove in many cases, which can cause curling or tearing if you do succeed in removing them.

View of the yellowing adhesive after removal of the photos.

I really have no idea why these albums are still on the market. Do yourself a favor — if you have any photos that you care about in magnetic albums (and let’s face it, if you put them in an album to begin with, then you care about them), take a few minutes to remove the photos from those albums as carefully as you can. Find an acid-free, photo-safe container in which to store them until you can find a better permanent environment to house them. Creative Memories, for which I am a consultant, has several solutions for this purpose. Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about their available options.

Album Rescue Project: Album 1, Photo 1

For lack of a better name, I’m going to call my latest photo project the Album Rescue Project. Today, I started removing the photos from the first album, scanning them and adding them to a new photo album.

Here is the first photo and what is written on the reverse (click on the images for larger versions):

Reverse of Photo 1: New Town

There’s not a lot to work with here, but there are a couple of clues. There is a notation on the back that says “New Town.” I think it’s too early to try and figure out which New Town (or Newtown or maybe even Newton). On the front is written “S-1915.” I’m going to assume that is the date, for now. I’m pretty sure the little girl in the picture makes an appearance in other photos in the album.

This photo actually was pasted onto the inside of the front cover. I very carefully slid an Exact-o knife blade underneath to loosen it from the paper. It came off pretty easily, but I’m not sure the rest that are still glued in will be as cooperative.

I’m moving the photos into an acid-free, photo-safe album from Creative Memories for safe keeping. The photos slide into pockets so that they can be removed later, if needed.

PicFolio Album from Creative Memories

I’m adding paper into some of the pockets for journaling in the album, as I find out more about the photos. Stay tuned for more photos and investigating!

New Album Project: Step One

I couldn’t wait to dig into my latest album project, but I had a bunch of Xmas-prep stuff to take care of last night. Now that that’s out of the way, I was able to take the first step in attending to the photos in the two albums I purchased yesterday.

Because I intend to remove most, if not all, of the photos from the albums, I wanted a record of their order as I found them before I start removing them. So I photographed each page’s layout. As I am researching the photos, the order may provide clues as to how the various photo subjects are related.

I think the album’s original owner’s intent in how he/she displayed the photos is important to consider/preserve. For instance, I think the way they arranged the photos below is clever.

Here are some more of the layouts:

Next, I start by looking at the photos one by one. If they are already loose, I’ll scan them and start investigating any clues they reveal. If they are glued in, things will be trickier. I’ll photograph or scan them before considering how best to extract them. Once removed, I’ll scan them for the best possible digital copy. All of the photos will be put into a new album made of acid-free, photo safe materials. I’ve chosen a Creative Memories Picfolio album for this purpose. I’ll try to preserve the original order as best I can.

Diving in Thumbs First: My Take on the Paid Genealogy Debate

Apparently, there’s a hullabaloo going on in the genealogy community about trying to make money as a genealoglist and as a genealogy blogger in particular.

Seriously?

The thread starts here and has proliferated widely. I’ll admit I have had trouble keeping up with the entire discussion — I’ve caught snippets here and there on geneabloggers.com, Facebook and Twitter.

Like many, I got started in genealogy by working on my own family research. Then, I went to library school and while there, learned that librarians could work for themselves doing research for hire. This appealed to me. I enjoy researching people and old things. I saw the light. I could do genealogy research for others and get paid. What could be better than doing something you love and earning money for the privilege?

I opened Bayside Research Services in the summer of ’09 and started blogging shortly after that. I’d never blogged before, but I knew it would be a good marketing tool. It has turned out to be so much more. I love the Geneabloggers community and hate to hear there’s strife right now.

For what it’s worth, I’m not currently trying to make money off this blog — I don’t host ads or affiliate links. This isn’t because I don’t want to. I just haven’t had the time to devote to this yet.

Also, I actually have two blogs. This one is more of a personal blog where I discuss everything from my personal genealogy projects to new technologies I’ve discovered. My company web site also is a blog and there I post sale information for the photo solutions company that I work with (Creative Memories) and I post updates about my research projects. That is where I actually try to make money — by connecting folks to my CM web site and by featuring my investigations and skills so that people will consider hiring me.

As others have mentioned in their posts on this subject, it is difficult to find a way to live solely off of genealogy research. I have yet to find the magic formula that will work for me and so I haven’t given up the “day-job.” That pays the bills and provides health insurance and other benefits. I love my day-job too, but if I had my druthers I would prefer to spend my days in archives, brick-and-mortar or online, researching days gone by. It may yet happen.

As to the kerfuffle currently going on, I’m not quite sure what the trouble is. There certainly is room for hobbyists and paid genealogy researchers alike. I know we have a lot to learn from each other and we certainly can help each other out. Many hobbyists must rely on paid genealogy researchers to help them bust through brick walls or access far-flung records. Paid researchers enjoy networking with hobbyists at national conferences and local historical society meetings. Let’s work together to continue to build our community.

I’ve also seen at least one comment from a hobbyist considering “going pro.” It’s a scary leap, starting a business, with accounting and other tasks a business owner must undertake. That’s where you can learn from your fellow genealogists. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all genealogists are information professionals and if you are considering opening your own business, please look into the Association for Independent Information Professionals. There you will find not only several genealogists who are members, but professional accountants, marketers, business mavens and other types of researchers who are there to help. I can’t emphasize enough the value of this organization.

I also recommend picking up a copy of Mary Ellen Bates’ book, Building and Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional, Second Edition. It’s a step-by-step guide for setting up everything from your stationery to an LLC.

Preserving Family Recipes

Someone recently found my blog after searching for the phrase “preserving recipes through scrapbooking.” This is something I love to do — last year, my Christmas present to my sister was a book I produced by scanning in recipes hand-written by our mother and grandmother. I put them all together using digital scrapbooking software. (Let me know if you want to see the result!).

If this is a project that is of interest to you, check out these pre-designed pages just for recipes. Let me know if you need assistance putting it all together!