Preserving a Female Ancestor’s Photographs with Vivid-Pix Memory Station

Are precious details about the lives of your female ancestors hidden in old family photographs?  Most of us have bins or boxes of treasured memories just waiting to be uncovered and shared. 

Photo of Sr. Mary Camilla Alzo
Photo of my aunt, Sister Mary Camilla Alzo 

As a long-time genealogist, I have been researching the maternal lines in my family tree for more than 30 years. I wrote my book, Three Slovak Women as a tribute to my maternal grandmother and mother. Along the way I accumulated quite the collection of photographs, documents, and memorabilia. Since 2019, I have been on a mission to sort, scan, and share digital copies of the prints with my relatives.

Since March is Women’s History Month, I have decided to focus on the pictures that depict some of my female ancestors. But, where to begin?

With hundreds of photographs to process, I realized what a monumental task I had ahead of me. I needed a system to make things easier. I decided to follow a four-step process:

1. Sort – Organize photographs by family and then by date or event when possible.

2. Scan – Digitize the photographs using a scanner and correct any problems or imperfections using software (see below for details).

3. Store – Initially save the digital images to my computer (then move to an external hard drive with backup to cloud storage). 

4. Share – Share digital copies of the images with my cousins and other interested relatives.

I won’t bore you with the details of the sorting process, but I usually set aside an hour or two each week to go through the boxes and bins, sort the photos by family and then year/event where possible, and make sure they are put into archival safe storage boxes. The bigger decision for me was how to approach the scanning and storing. While I have a very nice Epson flatbed scanner to do the job, lifting the lid up and down is a bit cumbersome. And using my smartphone did not seem like the best option either. 

Enter the Vivid-Pix Memory Station

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out the Memory Station [affiliate link]. This is a combination of a Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 + Vivid-Pix RESTORE software. In the bundle, Vivid-Pix includes FileShadow cloud archive if desired, providing storage for 1,000 images for free and additional fee for more storage).

The ScanSnap was easy to set up (I use it with a Windows laptop but it works with Mac too). I created a folder called ScanSnap Scans on my computer. I followed the instructions outlined on the Vivid-Pix website to get the best resolution and other specifications for saving the scans as high-quality JPEG image files. The ScanSnap allows for continuous scanning and for image correction if so desired. Each scan takes just a few seconds and can be done with either a simple press of the “Scan” button on the unit, or by clicking on the SCAN button in the ScanSnap software. Before I began the scanning process, I downloaded and installed the Vivid-Pix RESTORE software [affiliate link] – just $49.99 for a one-time fee and the ability to install on 2 computers (Mac and/or Windows). RESTORE is on sale this month, just $39.99 during the month of March, 2022 and they also offer a trial to fix 10 images for free. 


I tried out the Memory Station on a treasured scrapbook of photographs that belonged to my father’s sister, Anna, a Roman Catholic nun (she changed her name to Sr. Mary Camilla after taking her vows) who lived in Victoria, Texas most of her life. I called her “Auntie.”

I previously wrote about this scrapbook in a March 8, 2010 blog postThe album pages are falling apart and many of the photographs are faded, so I knew this was the perfect scanning project.  With the ScanSnap I could scan multiple photos, benefiting from the overhead scanner on these delicate items, and the ScanSnap separates them out so I can name them. 

Once scanned, the photos can be imported into Vivid-Pix RESTORE to restore the images with 1-click. There is also an option to fine-tune with easy controls. Below is a sample scanned photo of my Auntie and her two sisters (Betty and Helen) taken on Easter Sunday in 1941 in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. 

Photograph scanned with MemoryScan (not cropped)


The Vivid-Pix software adjusted color, contrast, lightness and sharpened the original photograph. As people have different perspective on “keeping age” (fade), less fade (or even back to the original black and white photo), below is the original and the 2 variations. [Note: I left the original photo on its black album backing but can crop the images as desired.]

My goal for this March is to scan the entire photo album and then create a digital version that I can share with others. I will likely share some of the results here on the blog as I work through the process.

Want to know more about the Memory Station?  Click here for more information.

Copyright 2022, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved.


[Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by purchasing any products mentioned above, which are a part of the income stream for my writing/genealogy business].



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Fearless Females Blogging Prompts Series Back for 2022

 In March 2010, I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the “fearless females” in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. I’m happy to say that this series is still going strong and is back for a 12th year.

Fearless Females Badge courtesy of Denise Levenick with edits by Lisa A. Alzo


So, to mark National Women’s History Month (beginning Tuesday, March 1), I’m listing the 31 prompts below. 

Also, you can download the free badge above to use on your blog to indicate your participation. [A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, who created the original version of this badge especially for me for the 2016 edition of Fearless Females].

The theme for National Women’s History Month 2022 is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” According to the The National Women’s History Alliance, this theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.” So, it is a perfect time to start writing about your female ancestors.   

Watch this blog for other ideas, prompts, and tips to learn about your female ancestors, as well as special coupons for discounts on books, courses, or other products related to researching your female lines.

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Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month


You can choose to do some of the prompts, or all of them–there’s no pressure–it’s meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told! 

[Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c00288]

Blogging Prompts

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines. Post an image of it or link to it.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Fold3 Memorial Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you’ve selected and why and then post a link to what you’ve created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Want Even More Prompts and Tips?

If you would like additional writing prompts and tips for researching and writing about your female ancestors, pick up a copy of my eBook Fearless Females: 31 Writing Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History. Click here to order a copy and get 25% off the $3.99 purchase price with coupon code fearless2022 (coupon good through 31 March 2022 11:59 p.m. Eastern time).


Also during the month of March you can save 30% off the Finding Your Female Ancestors course on my online education website, Research Write Connect (regularly priced at $99;  now $69.30 with discount). Click here to register and use coupon code FEARLESS2022 to claim your discount through 31 March 2022. The course is self-paced with no start or end date so you can purchase at the discounted price and start the course whenever you choose.

Copyright, 2022, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved
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Back for 2021: The Fearless Females Blogging Prompts Series

In March 2010, I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the “fearless females” in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. I’m happy to say that this series is still going strong and is back for another year (the 11th).

Fearless Females 2021
Fearless Females Badge courtesy of Denise Levenick with edits by Lisa A. Alzo


So, to mark National Women’s History Month (beginning Monday, March 1), I’m listing the 31 prompts below. 

Also, you can download the free badge above to use on your blog to indicate your participation. [A special thanks to my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, who created the original version of this badge especially for me for the 2016 edition of Fearless Females].

The theme for National Women’s History Month 2021 is once again “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.” According to the The National Women’s History Alliance, “Since many of the women’s suffrage centennial celebrations originally scheduled for 2020 were curtailed, the National Women’s History Alliance is extending the annual theme for 2021.” The theme honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.” So, once again, it is a perfect time to start writing about your valiant female ancestors.   

Watch this blog for other ideas, prompts, and tips to learn about your female ancestors, as well as special coupons for discounts on books, courses, or other products related to researching your female lines.

###

Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month


You can choose to do some of the prompts, or all of them–there’s no pressure–it’s meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told! 

[Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c00288]

Blogging Prompts

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines. Post an image of it or link to it.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Fold3 Memorial Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you’ve selected and why and then post a link to what you’ve created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Want Even More Prompts and Tips?

If you would like additional writing prompts and tips for researching and writing about your female ancestors, pick up a copy of my eBook Fearless Females: 31 Writing Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History. Click here to order a copy and get $2.00 off the purchase price with coupon code fearless2021 (coupon good through 31 March 2021 11:59 p.m. Eastern time).

Copyright, 2021, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved

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Which Female Ancestor Inspires You? Celebrate International Women’s Day and Share Her Story

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day–a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. [See https://www.internationalwomensday.com].

I am grateful for all the women in my family tree whose stories inspire me every day.  Women who seemingly lived ordinary lives, but rose above difficult circumstances and challenges with extraordinary faith and determination. 

Here is a little video tribute I created using Animoto to honor some of my female ancestors.



Which female ancestor inspires you?  Consider sharing her story in a video tribute or a blog post during this month of March. 

If you would like to learn more about researching your female ancestors or writing their stories, I can help. 

Two Days Left! Save 40% on the Finding Your Female Ancestors Course 

Finding Your Female Ancestors available at Research, Write, Connect! 


This course is packed full of information from my 30+ years of researching female ancestors! 

Limited Time: Save 40% Off the Regular Price

Register today and save 40% off the regular price of $99 (now just $59.40 USD) View the full course outline here.

Use coupon code: FEARLESS40

Offer expires 10 March 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time!




Save 50%: Finding Your Female Ancestors (Volume I) Webinar Bundle

Through 31 March 2020 you can purchase my Finding Your Female Ancestors (Volume I) Webinar Bundle – a collection of three of my popular webinars – for 50% off the regular price (now just $9.95)

Offer expires Tuesday 31 March 2020 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  

OFFER GOOD ONLY ON FINDING YOUR FEMALE ANCESTORS WEBINAR BUNDLE VOLUME 1




Click here to purchase – use coupon code: MARCH2020
Includes:

1. Ladies First: Finding Your Female Ancestors (webinar + handout)

2. Ten Ways to Tell Your Female Ancestors’ Stories (webinar + handout)

3. Three Slovak Women: Telling the Story of One Slovak-American Family Using Oral and Social History (webinar + handout)



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Celebrating Women’s History Month:1 March 2016: Fearless Females Who Have Influenced, Informed and Inspired Me

Today is the start of National Women’s History Month. Yesterday I announced that I am running the Fearless Females Blogging Prompts Series here on my blog again this year.


For my own 2016 posts, I have decided to write about those women who have influenced, informed, and inspired me.  I plan to write about family, friends, colleagues mentors and other women whom I admire. 

For my first post I have chosen to write about my mother, Anna. This year will mark 16 years since mom passed away, but I feel her presence and influence every day.  Her voice is always there in my ear guiding me in my daily decisions. I often find myself wondering how she would handle a particular challenge or difficult situation, and I follow my heart. My mother never went to college, but she was so smart, and very good with details and she always pushed me to do my best in school and in my work. I remember calling her from college whenever I had a tough day or thought I did not perform well on an exam. She always asked “Did you do your best?” When I said “Yes,” then she would reply, “Then don’t worry, I am sure all will be fine.” And it was. Usually, the perceived failure was all in my own mind and the next time we talked I happily told her I received an “A” on that exam. 

My mother also inspired me with her kindness. She helped her family in any way she could whether it was giving of her time or her money. I try to do the same whenever I can. 

Although my mother never had the chance to see the career I have built as a writer and genealogy professional, I hope that she knows what a role she has played in my success. In my post Ten Genealogy Lessons I Learned from My Mother, I listed some of the life lessons she taught me and how I have applied them in my work. My mother was the best role model.

Thank you Mom, for influencing, informing, and inspiring me.

Copyright, 2016, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

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