10 Jan 2014 – Follow Friday sassy jane genealogy family photos (OPR) is the topic of today’s Follow Friday. OperationPhotoRescue is a charitable organization of volunteer photography enthusiasts who help rescue and restore damaged photos, particularly after natural disasters. “Insurance doesn’t restore memories, but we do” is their tagline. sassy jane genealogy family photos

Courtesy makes two to three “copy runs” per year, usually to locations in the U.S. that have suffered major disasters. OPR organizes outreach both photo restorers and those who need to get their damaged photos treated. OPR uses public libraries and other community spaces for their copy runs.


26 Nov 2013

Thanksgiving and Family Photographs – Tuesday’s Tip

Thanksgiving and family photographs go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s coming up on Thanksgiving again (in America), so it’s time to 1) reflect upon your life to give thanks and 2) eat as much as you possibly can. If you’re exceptionally fortunate, some time this weekend you may perhaps acquire some family photographs you’ve never seen before.

thanksgiving sassy jane genealogy

Thanksgiving dinner with the Landis family, Neffsville, Penn.., 1944. (courtesy Library of Congress)

If you do do your own scanning, scan at a minimum of 300 ppi (pixels per inch) and preferably 600 ppi.

Choose the tiff format and label the scan sequentially. Store your masters together in one location on your computer.


15 Oct 2013

Preserving Home Movies is Tuesday’s Tip

Preserving Home Movies

Courtesy Center for Home Movies

Other posts in the Sassy Jane Preserving series are here.

Preserving Home Movies

October 19 is International Home Movie Day 2013. The celebration began in 2002 by film archivists concerned about preserving home movies shot on film during the 20th century. Boxes full of family memories are sometimes not seen for lack of a projector, or out of fear that the films were too fragile to be viewed.

So haul out those home movies and have a family film festival. And after that pause for a moment and think about how you are saving home movies. Is the format outmoded? Is the film brittle? Are transfers on CDs unplayable? Are they still in shoeboxes in your attic? If you’re like me, you probably have some you hope never see the light of day. But I promise your family will find you adorable even in that awkward stage in junior high.

International Home Movie Day is a celebration of amateur films where family historians can meet with local film archivists, find out about the archival advantages of film over video and digital media, and—most importantly—get to watch those old family films! Because they are local events, Home Movie Day screenings can focus on family and community histories in a meaningful way. They also present education and outreach opportunities for local archivists, who can share information about the proper storage and care of personal films, and how to plan for their future.

Click on Home Movie Day events to find programs near you on 19 October. Most are free and offer expert evaluation of films brought in by participants. The Center for Home Movies is the organizing institution behind International Home Movie Day 2013. Their site says, ”If you have home movies on film that you’ve never seen, or haven’t watched since you inherited them from your grandparents–don’t let your films decay! Take them to Home Movie Day!”

Transferring home movies to DVDs is fine, but don’t expect that new digital copy  to last forever. Original films (and the equipment required to view them) can long outlast any version on VHS tape, DVDs, or other optical media. Not only that, but contrary to the stereotype of the faded, scratched, and shaky home movie image, the original films are often carefully shot in beautiful, vibrant color—which may not be captured in a lower-resolution video transfer.

What can you do if you don’t live near a Home Movie Day event? Frequent readers of this blog know that I always urge genealogists to take special care of their priceless family records. No-cost steps for saving home movies include:

• Store in a stable environment. No attics, no basements, no garages where the temperature and humidity cycle constantly.

• Steer clear of environments with exhaust, paints, or other chemical fumes

• Keep magnets (including the ones in cell phones and stereo speakers) away from films with magnetic soundtracks.

• Avoid storing near heating vents or on shelves that get direct sunlight.

• Retain original film even after you transfer it to another format

The Center for Home Movies also provides this list of resources:

2 Oct 2013

Fall Sale at Hollinger for Archival Supplies for Genealogy

hollingerfilefolderssassyjanegenealogyThe fall sale at Hollinger for archival supplies for genealogy is starts today. Get 20 percent off everything at Hollinger Metal Edge, where professional archivists buy their supplies.


I am dismayed when genealogists tell me they buy acid-free supplies  for their priceless family papers at discount stores, home parties, or other outlets that aren’t in the preservation business. That isn’t where libraries or archives shop and neither should you. Archivists swear by Hollinger, the leader in this field since 1945. If they say it’s acid-free, you can count on it.

Products I really like include: