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In this Archive Sep~Oct~Nov~Dec 2003
Volume 20 Number 3 of 3
Time in Rhyme
Scanning for Family History

Current Issue

Time in Rhyme

Family history books are priceless treasures and we are indebted to all the brave souls who produce them. The Reynolds family though has special reason to be grateful. Thanks to the poetic talents of their family historians, many parts of their history book are written in poetry.


William and Nancy (Cassel) Hacker
"An Old Photo Album"
Pictures are a blessing, a blessing in disguise,
Albums are a treasure, a treasure in my eyes.
The pictures are just black and white, and some are made on tin,
But they're all precious, and they're priceless, because their all my kin.
Lumber, sawmills, seamstresses, farmers and Reverend's to,
Accordion and fiddle player's, who play the old soft shoe.
Slave sellers and loafers, right down to the core,
Prostitutes and moonshine runners, who could ask for more.
My Great Grandparents album, is now in my hand,
I'll keep it safe and warm, along with Moms wedding band.
This album will be a keepsake, I'll treasure till I die,
I think of the hands that touched it, and sometimes I even cry.
It's old and it's worn, which I’ll treasure just the same,
And I appreciate the pictures, cause that's from where I came.
There's a picture of Great Great Grandma and Great Great Grandpa too,
And many of their offspring, of which I never knew.
When Mom's Grandma died, she left the photo album for my Mom,
My Mom has passed away, so now my time has come.
I've got the photo album, cause I'm climbing the family tree,
So if I come a knocking, Beware, it's only me!
by G. Reynolds-Crosland


"Finding Grandma's Fiddle"
Gloria and I like to go to the States,
Each time we go we find new relates.
We drive around from place to place,
Family history, we are trying to trace.
Mom lived in Iowa when she was little,
Nancy, her Grandma, played the old fiddle.
When we were at Opal's last year in May,
We couldn't believe what Carol Ann had to say.
We were going through binders when right in the middle,
Carol Ann said, "My brother has Grandma's fiddle."
Well you should have seen the look in Gloria's eyes,
What Carol Ann said was a great surprise!
So Gloria asked Carol Ann if she could,
Send her a picture and she said she would.
Now with a picture of the fiddle that Grandma played,
It really paid off for those trips we made.
Mom would be tickled pink to see what we found,
That the fiddle her Grandma played is still around.
It was quite a shock for Gloria and me,
But now we have a picture for our family tree!
by J. (Reynolds) Robertson

Can You Decipher This Pictograph?

"This was written-drawn by Arthur Reynolds, he enjoyed giving his kids something to think about. He only told us what it said once, he was trying to teach us Memory, which none of us got. It has taken quite a while for me to figure out what it says and I'm sure my version is different than yours, so feel free to write down your own version of deciphering. One thing I am sure of is that Dad's up there just a chuckling!
My Version By: G. Reynolds-Crosland
Dear Emily, Writing a line picture here
And listen to the tale I bear,
Devils led by ghosts anchor can still house fear
Lest awl be castles in the air."

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Scanning for Family History
Tuesday May 13, 2003
J.M. Cuelenaere Library
by N. Carswell

A scanner systematically uses light to register the color of a tiny area that it then turns into a pixel of information for the computer. The pixel knows its color and place and together all the square pixels make up an image like a mosaic.
Scanner software is getting smarter and this one puts a "plug-in" in my photo editor, Adobe Photoshop 6. File-->Import-->(your scanner) The current version of Photoshop is very expensive but this scanner came bundled with an older version that is very powerful. Whatever your photo editor, most of what I do tonight I believe is doable in your software.

Fortunately as computers advance, the question of space is no longer a critical one but it is still important. When scanning the safest question to ask is "Am I ever going to want to print this photo?" When printing a photo, you want at least 300 dpi. (Dpi is "dots per inch".) The 300 dpi is a baseline end result.

When scanning to print approximately the same size, consider starting with 400 dpi if you are doing photo editing as this allows play and it is safer to throw away the extra than to have the computer guess at pixels. This Microtek scanning software is in its advanced setting. If you don’t see a dpi on your scanner software, look for on option for advanced settings.

After "preview" or "overview" select the area of the photo that you want to scan.

Pick a corner, then click and drag "kitty corner" or diagonally adjusting the marquee as necessary.

When you are at home, try out higher and lower dpi and compare the results from your printer or if you are working with a commercial printer, ask them first! If you want a) to enlarge, b) have a very small image or c) are selecting a small part of a photo, you may wish to scan at 600 dpi or higher. There is a balance though as the larger the dpi, the slower the image editing will be and the more space your file will take. If your image is a black and white photo, scanning as grayscale is 1/3 of the space. To keep sepia tones though, use color.

Look for rotate canvas or similar option to give your photo the proper orientation. Ctrl-zero is a common keyboard shortcut that fits the photo in your window. To make a 4x6, I can set the crop tool. I do encourage you to crop till you drop-- and two other rules are hands in and then "knees in, feet in"—if there are no feet crop above the knees.
At this point, my scan will disappear if the computer crashes and I haven’t saved it. Tiff is the safest if you don’t have Photoshop. One of the things about a .psd file, or Photoshop file, is that it is useless in most word processors and on the internet. You can send a .psd file but your recipient will need Photoshop to open it and it is huge.

When done editing, I can save this as a .jpg file and take it in to Walmart on a CD or floppy and get a 4x6 print for 42 cents. Jpg is a wonderful format but it is "lossy". It takes a short hand of the file information and the lower the number, 1-12, the more information lost. For example, 5 pixels, all different dark blues as pixels would be mapped by your scanner as B2, B4, B1, B3, B5. In jpg format level 3 the 5 blues may be read as 5-B3. That is 4 less pieces of info. Great for the web, but disaster for quality printing. Jpeg is always the last thing you want to do because it is accumulative—saving again as jpeg will shorthand the shorthand. It can be absolutely wicked on skin tones.
Let’s try a photo that is problematic. I just want a 4x6 of an 8x10 so I’m adjusting the dpi to 200 and I want the sepia tone so I’m changing it to color or RGB (red, green, blue are the primary colors for light). CMYK is the printing primary colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Before cropping the image size is more than 9x7 and 8.7 MB. This means it won’t fit on a 1.44 MB floppy. After cropping a 4x6 at 300 dpi it is 6.9 MB so my 200 scan probably isn’t asking the computer to guess too much.
There are numerous ways to approach this depending on your software. Look for "variations", "brightness and contrast", or "levels". In this Photoshop they are under Image -->Adjust. Remember if you save a copy of your scan you can play with it as much as you like without having to rescan. Photoshop has a history feature that allows multiple undos.

To clean up, try looking for a clone tool. Also called a rubber stamp it allows you to pick up one area, for example a good sleeve, and clone it over the damaged sleeve.

Although you can do photo editing like the National Enquirer, I ask you to consider the ethics. Placing people in a photo who were not there at the time may cause unforeseen difficulties for your descendents. Consider putting them in an inset frame.

Photos from digital cameras can look great on screen but then when you print it out it looks rough. My vintage '98 digital camera at best is 144 dpi at 640x480. 144 is far short of 300 dpi. Also, this means if I want to print a 4x6 picture the computer has to guess at 21,504 pixels. New digital cameras are wonderful but I still prefer my 35mm camera because I get a negative and a photo I can scan in.
(Presenter note: A member had a 3.2 megapixel digital camera and photos at this program and it was the first group of photos from a digital camera that I would have thought equal to 35mm.)

If you are scanning for monitor, work towards a monitor size. Most monitors are now set to 800x600 with some at 1024x768 and others at 640x480. How much space do you want your image to take up on the monitor? This is a tough question if you don't know the receiving monitor's setting. If you don't know, work with 800x600 but if you are doing for web keep 640x480 in mind. Scanning at 150 dpi will work most times. Again, this allows editing play.
If you are scanning for monitor, jpg is the best. Use around level 6 if it is for the Internet as this amount of compression will be appreciated by the viewer for its quickness but will not affect the quality. If it is just for viewing on your own computer and space is not a concern the level can be higher than 6.

Because a photograph is a chemical process with 100% color, photos scan very well. The problem with printed materials—magazines, family history books and other images from printers is that they are done in dots not squares and the scanner can pick up the white space between the dots. Scanners compensate for this and can do a good job of printed materials if you look for the terms "descreen" or "reduce moire".

Scanners can be used to recognize text if they come with OCR or Optical Character Recognition software. Scan in at 300 or 400 dpi lineart. Lineart is truly black and white. Each pixel is scanned as black or white. Then run the tiff through the OCR software and see if you've got a decent word processing document. This can save a lot of time typing.

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created Jan 2001 modified Sep 2003