Lately I’ve been blogging here and on my professional website, 4yourfamilystory.com, about how important it is to get everyone in your family involved in genealogy and family history. Somehow. But that's not always easy because they just don’t care about how you found out something. They just want to know the good stuff.
Also, most people are visual and many can be swayed by pretty and shiny things. [Even I’ve been known to do this. Can you blame me? Jewels? Hello?!?] And when it comes to genealogy and family history, stories with lots of pictures seem to be the bling that gets everyone’s attention.
And that’s okay. Don’t be frustrated by this. Go with it. Use it to your advantage. For example, if the only thing that captures your Uncle Jerry’s attention is the photo of his grandfather from World War I that you found, and he starts telling you stories about how it used to freak him out when his grandpa would forget to put his teeth in the morning and he (Uncle Jerry) had to go fetch his teeth from the drinking glass sitting on the nightstand next to grandpa’s bed, does it matter? How about when good ol’ Uncle Jerry suddenly remembers he has this box of grandpa’s up in the attic and he thinks there’s some stuff from World War I that he wouldn’t mind going up there and getting for you?
I don’t know about you, but I’d be showing the genealogy and family history bling to all of my relatives as much as possible. In fact, I’d shine up the bling a wee bit. You know, make people “Ooh!” and “Ahh!” over it. Make people talk about it. Make people talk about their family. Make people talk about their stories. Make people talk about their history. [Plus win points with the older folks in the family.]
So, by now you’re probably thinking, “I get it, Caroline. It’s okay if my family members don’t appreciate all the sweat and tears I put into my family history research, but how do I make my photos and stories into genealogy and family history bling?”
Well, you know for a while now that I do digital scrapbooking for my blogs. Some have commented on it, and many have asked me how I do it. I do a lot of it from scratch using Photoshop Elements 7, but that’s not easy. It’s taken me forever to figure everything out. Two big books and 3 years later, it’s still not easy, and I get distracted because there are too many options. It’s not something I’d recommend for the faint of heart.
But don’t despair. Several weeks ago, MyMemories.com contacted me and asked if I’d review their scrapbook software, My Memories Suite. Hello?!? That’s a no-brainer for me. Play with some scrapbook software given to me and in exchange give my honest unbiased opinion about it? Duh. “Sign me up,” was my reply.
And? Loved it. What I like best about it is that it’s intuitive and e-a-s-y. It’s made to do one thing. Digital scrapbook. Unlike photo editing software powerhouses like Photoshop, you jump in and create an album with however many pages you want then decide what kind of “output” you want. The “output” being:
- JPG image to export to your hard drive [and then other places like your blog]
- Interactive album
- iPod movie
- DVD video
That’s right. You create it once then you can use it many times in many ways. [We’re bound and determined to get those family members interested. Whatever it takes. Remember?]
Because I always have so many people ask how I did certain layouts on my blog, I decided to show you 4 different kinds of layouts that I did using My Memories Suite all using the JPG image export option. That’s right. Examples of how to bling up your genealogy and family history stories and photos on your blog.
1. One aspect that I like about My Memories Suite is that you have the option to use pre-made “Quick Pages” where all you have to do is enter the photo(s) and some writing [“Some” is the key word. Heaven forbid you make your family members read too much, right?] Anywho, this was kind of hard for me to do because I’m creative, and I don’t like giving up the control. However, once I did it, I realized it was kind of freeing not having to do anything but stick the photo in it and add some words. [Who knew?] The following is a photo given to me by a distant cousin [and I’m using it with permission]. It’s small and scanned at low resolution and orange-y, and as researchers you know that photos come to us in all shapes and sizes. So, with a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude [And OMG, it’s a photo of my 3rd great-grandparents enthusiasm.], I found a “Quick Page” layout ~"Splendor"~ that complimented the orange-y-ness. [So there.] I think it took all of about 3 minutes to do. [Seriously.] Now, you tell me. What family member isn’t going to ask me about this [Click image for a bigger view.]:
So, even if you aren’t creative, you have no excuses for not exhibiting some family history bling using Quick Pages on your blog. It’s so easy, even my Pug, Millie, could do it. [Okay. She can’t. It’s that whole no “poseables” thing. But? You have thumbs. No excuses.]
2. In this second example, I did a kind of hybrid layout using their "Ancestors Legacy" kit. It wasn’t completely “done” for me. I chose the photo layout part from a list in the software then added the digital paper and elements and drop shadows. So, I didn’t have to think about how or where to place the photos. That was done for me. [And doesn’t it look professional?] But I got to design, to create, and to play. You know, the fun stuff. I really enjoyed doing this. And doesn’t my Paw Paw [Yeah. Big Paw Paw’s 4th wife ~ after being his mistress. *rollingeyesheavenward* ] look absolutely gorgeous? [After seeing these pics, it’s not hard to see why Big Paw Paw’s wandering eye wandered onto her, is it?] [Click image for a bigger view.]
3. In this example, I decided to show the capabilities of the software without using any of their kits [either bought or the ones that come with the software]. You might recognize one photo that I posted previously on this blog. The one of the 2 views of a pocket watch. Since I did that post of my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather’s [A.O. Williams’] pocket watch, I received a photo of him from Great-Uncle Donald last year. So I cropped the photo of A.O.Williams in My Memories Suite, added it to the pocket watch photo, and added his name. And presto! An instant winner with the family, eh? [Click image for a bigger view.]
4. Now, for my last trick. I decided to show you how you can take a boring document [Well, not boring to me and you, but boring to our family members. Remember: document = reading = family members get bored.] and make it come alive. Here is Harve and Pearl Pointer’s original mortgage paperwork for their farm in Story County, Iowa. [Pearl was A.O. Williams’ daughter.] So, I added 2 pics of the farm [which is no longer there] and a pic of Harve and Pearl from about 6 years before this mortgage. Makes it real, doesn’t it? I challenge any family member to say “Whoop-de-do,” to this. [Seriously.] All photo placement and decorating was done by me using the "Family Memories Pack" kit that I purchased from MyMemories.com. [Click image for a bigger view.]
MyMemories.com has given me an extra My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software [RV $39.95] for one (1) lucky reader. [Feeling lucky?]
How to enter:
You must go visit MyMemories.com and do some “window shopping,” find the digital scrapbook kit that you absolutely positively cannot live without, come back here to Family Stories, and tell me in the comments below which kit you picked and leave me your email address. You can use the word "at" for @ and "dot" for "." to reduce spam. [I’ll need to notify you if you win. I’m not psychic. Unfortunately.]
Want some additional entries? [Optional]
Below are some additional ways to enter. Remember, though, these aren’t valid if you do not first go and pick the digital scrapbook kit of your dreams at the MyMemories.com store and tell me which one it is in the comments below. [I’m ornery like that.] Each one is worth 1 entry.
- Follow @FamilyStories on Twitter [1 entry]
- Friend me on Facebook [1entry]
- Follow my Family Stories blog through Google Friend Connect in sidebar [1entry]
- Like this blog post [at bottom of post] [1 entry]
- Tweet this blog post [at bottom of post] [You can tweet this blog post once per day, make a comment each time, & each 1 counts as an entry.] [1entry per day]
- Go make a relevant comment on my Why Aren’t We Doing It? #FGS2011 blog post on my other site, 4YourFamilyStory.com [1 entry]
- Like MyMemories.com on their Facebook page [Plus? They have a $5 coupon over there for their store.] [1entry]
- Follow the MyMemories.com blog on Google Friend Connect [1 entry]
- Follow MyMemories.com on Twitter [1 entry]
- Subscribe to MyMemoriesSuite YouTube Channel [1 entry]
Also? For each additional entry, you must enter a new comment. For example:
If you’ve picked “Ancestors Legacy Kit” as your fave from their store; followed me on twitter; liked the MyMemories Facebook page; and followed my blog on Google Friend Connect, then you’d make 4 separate comments and that would give you 4 entries into the contest.
Want 3 additional entries? For you overachievers, link to this contest blog post from your blog. [Don’t forget to make 3 separate comments leaving me a link to your blog post where you’ve linked to this blog post for these entries. And if you understand & complete all that, you definitely deserve 3 entries.]
If you already follow me on twitter or somewhere else that’s listed above, then that counts and just say you’re already doing it in a separate comment.
This contest begins Monday, 19 Sep 2011 and ends Monday, 26 Sep 2011. Winner will be announced Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011. [Or perhaps earlier if not many enter. But? Why wouldn't you enter?]
Don’t want to wait and see if you win in order to start making family history bling on your blog? Okay. MyMemories.com has given me a coupon to give to y’all worth $10 off the purchase of My Memories Suite Scrapbook software. Just enter in this code at checkout STMMMS76098 (For best results, just copy and paste it). And? You also get a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store when you purchase the software.
Wait. There’s more.
Don’t forget there’s a $5 coupon towards any of their kits in their store waiting for you when and if you go like the MyMemories.com Facebook page.
So. What are you waiting for? You only have to enter once by telling me your fave kit from the MyMemories.com store in the comments below. There will only be one randomly-picked winner. But remember: the more entries you make, the more chances you have of winning. Questions? Click the red “Contact” button in the left hand corner of your screen.
[Disclosure: MyMemories.com gave me a free copy of My Memories Suite software to use and review and to promote this giveaway. All of my opinions are my own. MyMemories.com is also providing a free copy of the software for the lucky winner of this giveaway.]