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Hooking the next generation on family history

September 25th, 2015

How did you get hooked on genealogy?

NextGenBadge1-1I became interested in my family history when I was very young. My grandmother was a Yankee who lived in the same town that her family had been in for generations. Making regular visits to the local cemetery was a normal event for her and was how she felt connected to family members who had died. When I went for a visit to her house she would take me for walks through the cemetery and tell me stories about the people buried there. Since then I’ve always viewed cemeteries as wonderful places with interesting stories attached – perfect training for a budding family historian!

If you know of anyone in the 10-12 age range who might be a good genealogist in training, let them know about a workshop being held by Emily Schroeder at the Maine State Library. The program will teach young people how to put together a family tree and start a family legacy album. Some construction materials will be provided. Participants should bring at least one interested adult with them, family information they have gathered so far, and copies of any documents, articles or photographs that they would like to put in a scrapbook.

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 6-7PM
Place: Maine State Library Studio, 230 State St., Augusta Call or e-mail to register: 287-5600, or<>

Happy research and here’s to developing the next generation of genealogists!

Borrow a scanner from Curtis

August 7th, 2015

Continuing with the theme of last week’s blog (preparing for a genealogy field trip), did you know that Curtis Library has two portable scanners that you can borrow from the library just like a book? These scanners are idea for field trips because (once charged) you don’t have to plug them in to make them work. This makes them ideal for trips to courthouses, historical societies, and other locations where opportunities to plug in technology might be hard to find.

flip hand 300The first scanner is a Flip-Pal flat-bed scanner. It is perfect for scanning objects that can’t be opened up and put through a feeder such as books or antique photographs. The Flip-Pal is also very useful for large objects. You can take multiple pictures of the large object and then use the scanner’s software to “quilt” together a picture of the whole. Flip-Pal as particularly useful when you want to scan something delicate – you can place the scanner directly (and gently) on top of the object with no harm to it.

iris-iriscan-anywhere-2The second scanner is an IRIScan mobile scanner. It has a feed that allows you to put multiple items through the scanner in a relatively short period of time. I find it most useful for paper documents or photographs that are flat enough to go easily through the feed. It also allows you to scan quickly.

Why scan instead of photograph? Some institutions will not allow you to photograph an item but they will let you scan it (I don’t know why, that’s just the way it is!) Photographing paper is somewhat challenging but scanning is easy and you can set the resolution to 600 dpi if you want a very detailed copy of an object. I think it really boils down to preference but scanners are definitely another good tool to know about if you are diving into field genealogy research.

The scanners at Curtis are both in heavy demand so the library is now in the process of purchasing another version of each. If you are interested in borrowing a scanner, go to the Reference Desk on the library’s second floor and talk to the librarian at the desk. Each scanner comes with directions and they are very easy to use. Good luck and happy research!

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