N E W S
Volume 1, Number 4
took on the production of this newsletter, it was a temporary assignment. I
intended to edit the newsletter only long enough to get it off the ground. That
has happened and it's time to find a more permanent editor. The editor is
responsible for soliciting articles of interest to USGenWeb Project members and
combining them into a brief newsletter each month. Writing, editing, layout and
leadership skills are all necessary. Circulation is handled by the Election
Committee via the project membership list. Applicants may contact the
FROM THE ELECTION COMMITTEE
Ellen Pack, Chair
reminder: The USGenWeb National Election is right around the corner. The
nomination period will be June 1-14, 2004, and the voting period will be July
In order to vote in this election you must be Registered with the
Election Committee no later than May 31, 2004. New registrations will not be
accepted after May 31 until the end of the election period.
the EC WebSite for more information, particularly the National 2004 Election Pages. If you have a question, please take a few moments to read the
encourages everyone to Register and Vote!
YEARBOOKS, QUICK & SIMPLE
Darilee Bednar, owner of the largest yearbook collection west of the
years ago I used to buy 20 to 50 high school or college yearbooks a month from a
big thrift store in Seattle, WA at 98 cents each. The store was happy I was
purchasing the books because for years they were throwing them away.
throwing away the single best way to locate a portrait picture of a young
grandparent born around the turn of the century outside of raiding an attic. OK,
so the pictures are small but those pictures can be scanned. If done correctly
and with a little luck luck, you can have a photo ready to be framed.
history of yearbooks. School yearbooks have been published in the US since
1806 when Yale College put out a book. These early books were usually
biographical sketches of alumni instead of pictures. In 1845 the first high
school yearbook was published for Waterville NY. In the 1880’s halftone printing
and letterhead presses made affordable yearbooks with pictures possible.
turn of the century there were two types of yearbooks besides the alumni
directories. These yearbooks were the consolidated one and the quarterly
magazine type. These books covered most of the same material with an emphasis on
sports, an alumni list, and the graduating Seniors. Senior calendar, Senior
activities, and Senior prophecies.
two important items in the above paragraph: 1. The Alumni Lists were very common
up to the 1930’s. The list usually gave the current residence and occupation of
the alumni and the women’s maiden and married names. These lists also covered
the pre-yearbook period. 2. The School Calendars reflected school and home life.
In an 1896 Duluth, MN high school yearbook there is a Memorium for 5 students
who died during the year. The calendar includes a reference to the Scarlet Fever
Club for all those students who lost hair during their battle with the disease.
1930’s most schools were including group pictures of underclassmen. Some of
these pictures actually identified the students by surnames. Club pictures are
available with identifying surnames.
type yearbooks with their paper covers had generally been replaced by the single
1950’s schools began including identified portrait pictures of all students in
alphabetical order by class. These books were still in black and white. Colored
glamor shots for the Seniors started to appear in the late 1960’s.
find yearbooks. Usually yearbooks come on the market because of some
catastrophic event such as a death, move, or loss of a storage shed. Very few
people intentionally give away these books. Thrift and antique stores are still
my main shopping area although I do buy occasionally online at auction. In 18
years I have only bought 4 books at a yard sale. I can no longer buy a book for
What to do
with them. Scan them and put them on-line. I had started a project a few
years ago to put older yearbooks online. I intended to scan 1920 and earlier
books so I wouldn’t have to worry about copyright issues although I hold to the
belief that yearbooks for public schools are paid for with public funds and
should not be copyrightable.
Of course, I
ran into problems with scanning these pages. I am not going to pretend I’m a
professional or a techie so my explanation is going to be a 101 level.
printing process requires that the surface of a glossy picture be broken up into
dots by a screen so when scanned the yearbook picture looks blocky or has a
moire pattern.. The producers of scanners know this and created software to deal
with the problem. For example, in advanced mode my scanner has a "descreen"
option. I’m very untechish, so I use the default setting. When I tell my
scanner I’m scanning an "Art Magazine" and it will automatically descreen the
picture for me. Descreening is a process to use nearby color tones to fill in
viewing only requires 72 dpi (dots per inch) These jpgs are manageable in size
but they don’t print out well. To get printable pages I needed to scan about 300
dpi, which gave me huge files—often times into mgs—not counting the fact that
online these pictures were huge also. I did discover a program by XAT that
allows me to resize, crop, and optimize my jpgs into manageable files.
When I am
scanning a small individual picture, I crop to the shot and then I use a dpi
setting up to 1200 dpi and then pray the “screening” process didn’t take out
formating. This is truly a matter of taste.The way I like is using
thumbnails and a clickable index. Thumbnails with a clickable link allow the
reseacher a quick view of the pages and an index page allows search engines to
locate the name of the student and book.
All my pages
are jpgs and I’ve been asked about pdfs and the answer is I understand jpgs
better then I understand pdfs. I recently did a talk for the Whatcom
Genealogical Society and that talk with illustrations is available here.
because USGenWeb is committed to making genealogical records available to
everyone at no cost, we are sensitive to any project that charges fees for
access to those records. Sometimes our bias against fee-based services can even
lead us to suspect the worst of them. That has happened recently in response to
a new project from Ancestry.com called OneWorldTree (OWT).
OWT is a tool
for searching family history records beginning with the huge Ancestry World Tree
database made up of files submitted by family historians like you and me. These
family trees are in the form we submitted them. We can add, change, or delete
sections or even the entire file, but Ancestry.com does not edit the contents of
files (except to remove data about any individuals they consider to be living).
Many files have no sources listed for the information in them. Many contain
errors and guesses ranging from educated to wild. Many incorporate copies, not
always accurate and always with permission, of other people's research. In other
words, these family trees provide preliminary information that has to be
carefully verified before it's accepted as true. An analogous product is
WorldConnect, developed by RootsWeb, "the oldest and largest FREE genealogy
site," which is now financed by Ancestry.com.
World Tree and RW's World Connect have been available to everyone to search
without a fee. Some GenWeb participants fear that what was free may not continue
to be free for long and to object that information submitted in the belief that
it would always be freely accessible should not be used to make a profit. They
are urging everyone who submitted family trees to delete them.
to these concerns and rapidly-spreading rumors Ancestry.com assures everyone
that OWT is only "an exciting new tool that searches across our site to find and
combine records on individuals making your family history work faster and more
rewarding." Everyone can continue to search both Ancestry World Tree and World
Connect for free, and modify, delete, or comment on them (with Post-ems). In
addition, with a paid subscription people will now be able to use this new tool
(OWT) that will link records that appear to be related. Over time the records to
be searched will include others, such as census records and birth, marriage, and
death records. According to Joan Young, who administers a number of mail lists
and has multiple ties with RootsWeb, "what is being sold is CONVENIENCE and not
For a family
tree to be included in the new OWT it must meet some conditions: it must include
at least three generations; it cannot contain loops; and it should not have a
large percentage of entries with no names nor dates. The deadline for submitting
changes to your family tree or for deleting it if you do not want it included in
OWT was set tentatively for May 21. Instructions for submitting and deleting
trees will be found on the Ancestry.com page.
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED
webMaster and assistant webMaster have been chosen and are hard at work
revamping the Project's website. Keep checking--a
visually and technically-improved site will be on-line shortly.
the new webmaster, is on leave as webmaster for the University of Arizona and is
SC for AZGenWeb.
McGrew-Ayers, assistant webmaster, is head of the Internet Marketing/Search
Engine Optimization department for beyondemail.com and is CC for Monroe,
Putnam and Fayette counties in
response to the many members who wrote in supporting our current logo, the
Advisory Board has cancelled its efforts to find a new one. Many thanks to the
members who submitted new logo ideas.
You are receiving this newsletter because you are a member
of The USGenWeb Project. For address changes, or to be added to or removed from
the mailing list visit the EC WebSite and contact your EC Rep. To submit articles, letters and
ideas, write to USGenWebNews@cox.net The USGenWeb NEWS is archived at
Editor: Isaiah Harrison
Editor: Greta Thompson
Contributors: Ellen Pack, Darilee Bednar,
© 2004, The USGenWeb Project.
Permission to reprint articles from this newsletter is granted when the author
and The USGenWeb Project News are credited.