While trying our best to track down our family heritage and build our tree, one of the biggest obstacles is tracing their movements from one place to another. It may be nearby or across an ocean. The obvious question is, "why?" Then you realize that the bottom line answer is that they were in search of a better life. Their homeland was horrible or just didn't allow them adequate opportunities. They were running from something. They were forced and eventually freed. Maybe they were just adventurous! In the end, they were in search of new possibilities.
Tracing the footprints that eventually led to you can be shown in several ways in your family history video. Part 10 shows one that comes with your software, is easy to use, and easy for your future generations to watch and comprehend. If you haven't watched it yet, click here.
Today's blog entry is another video in our series. We'll use our Rotopen feature in Corel VideoStudio to follow our family as heartbreak or growth pushes them to move from one place to another. Any map will work so even if you've traced your ancestry back to the Dark Ages, you can use a knight in shining armor to show your descendents their journey.
Click here to watch the video Part 10 Making Your Own Family History Video.
As we look for our ancestors, we often find that they moved around. Part of their story is why. What makes a person, or a family, leave their home and make a new home elsewhere? The reasons are as diverse as the people. You can spend years researching the reasons and the path. Once you have even a portion of a trail to where each family ended up you’ll want to save it for future generations.
That’s our subject this week. Maps. We can trace an exodus, a covered wagon trail, a ship, a train, or even a plane from country to country or county to county. In our example family, we’ll simply move within just a few states in the U.S. Although we know that the families came from Ireland, Germany and England, we don’t know when or why yet. But since genealogy research always moves backwards, we need to trace back as far as we can firmly substantiate. Censuses, passenger ship lists, military papers, directories, rite records, and even gravestone locations can all be clues as we trace back in time and place.
This is also a great way to explain a battle or campaign. In our subject family, the father was in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of WWI. Are there any wars or battles in your family history that affected a relationship or prompted a family to move? Maybe you need to explain a hero’s path, or follow the Trail of Tears or the building of a railroad or canal.
Get your maps ready! There are Public Domain maps on Wikipedia or davidrumsey.com.
In this week 26 of our project of making your own Family History Video, we’ve learned how to get creative with overlays. Have you thought about whether you have a letter, verse, sheet music, story that has been written by someone in your family? Maybe a favorite seasonal poem or story that is read each year? A saying, or list of different sayings that you heard all the time? Even jokes that a loved one told over and over and typed up in a fun font can make for a great overlay atop a smiling photo of the witty relative.
Using those same techniques, you could also transition one photo to another. You can also use a still photo as overlay on top of a video. So your ‘to-do’ this week is to:
Using a video of someone reading a letter along with supportive still pictures of the writer and those they write about, is the topic today. Because yesterday was Veterans Day, we have used a real-life example from WWII. Today's blog is a video of working with overlays to create those familiar 'letter over photo with someone reading the letter' overlays. Click here to watch Part 9 in our video series.
We’ve touched on how to apply a graphic or photo to an overlay track on Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7. This week we’re going to dive further into that topic and show other creative ways to show your family history. Since tomorrow is Veterans Day, we’ll be using a military theme but the same techniques would apply to other themes.
During your interview with a family member, a good practice whenever they speak of military service is to ask about letters. Handwritten or telegraphs are most dramatic but typed or even emails will work. Have your interviewee read a letter aloud. They don’t have to look at the camera while they read. Scan or take a picture of the letter they are reading. Ask for a photo that supports the letter, in our military example it might be their military in-uniform photo.
You can also use stock video. A simple DIY (do it yourself) would be to film a national flag waving in the wind for a military theme. However, there are great resources for stock footage that is mostly open copyright – of course, it’s ALWAYS up to you to confirm use of someone else’s work. However, personal, non-profit work (which your personal Family History Video will probably be) is relatively a safe avenue, especially if you credit the work as presented on the video or in the credits. Check out archive.org or commons.wikimedia.org. Check also the local libraries of a town or county you are researching. Within any of those resources, you can search for specific years, wars, or item (“waving flag”), etc. In the U.S., for explanations and a list of other resources, go to www.publicdomainsherpa.com. Explore. Enjoy.
Vow to refocus on your Family History Video. Make and take some time each week to work on it. Your efforts today will be truly appreciated tomorrow.
We’ve paused to recap and refocus on our Family History Video project. If you’ve stepped away because life got busy, it’s time to step back. Slowly allow memories to regain a spot in your mind. Make notes of them to recall later. Use your smart phone, a camcorder, or a voice recorder, or a simple pad of paper and pencil to save your thoughts. Sketch out your tree as you know it. Look through photo albums or old trunks for inspiration.
For my genealogy friends, don’t forget to look beyond the tree to the people. Write down your impressions of the family members you’ve found. Why do you think they moved from one place or another? (If they hadn’t moved, you wouldn’t have any trouble finding them and you probably wouldn’t be interested in genealogy.) What stories have you learned about them? What have you learned about yourself while searching your family history?
Imagine if 50, 100 or even 150 years ago, these family members had written their own thoughts and you found them. How would you feel? I have a precious book from my great-great grandmother. In 1861, after some kind of loss it seems, she started keeping a journal of sorts – a guest book. When any of her friends visited her or she visited friends, they wrote in her book. (See photo – check out the handwriting!) Here’s a passage:
Amid the sunshine and shade of this life there is one star that beams benignantly upon our pathway. It is friendship’s star. It cheers us in prosperity and adversity, and opens up in our hearts, a fountain of perpetual love. When long dead and laid away in the cold, cold grave, how pleasant – mournfully pleasant – it is to read the thoughts and see the names of those who have journed in the rough paths of the world by our side, or even of those to whom we have become endeared by casual or frequent intercourse. As a shrine for the deposit of these sacred mementoes this Album is dedicated. May owner and contributors share each others sincerest regard in time, and through grace, in eternity, share the smiles of him in whose “presence there is fullness of joy and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Southport, N.Y. Feb 2nd, 1862 Thos. Mitchell
There are pages and pages of dear friends writing kind notes to my GGgrandmother. I have to assume that she was a kind person to amass such respect and support. The pages also take me from 1861 to 1889, through New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kansas where I was born. She was married in 1863, had 4 children between 1866 and 1880. In among the pages I found a note that my great-grandfather, her son, had written explaining his connection to the book, mentioning where he was born (Kansas), his birth date, and even noted the first day he started working for the railroad.
What a gift! Leave a gift for your great-great grandchildren. Create your own Family History Video. Helping you do that is what this blog is all about.
It’s time to pause, recap, and refocus. It has been 8 weeks! The first 6 weeks got us gathering and began our digitizing. Then for 7 weeks we digitized everything we could – even those odd shaped negatives and old 8mm silent films. This last 8 weeks has focused more on the overall vision and how to realize your video.
Week 16. We learned why VideoStudio Ultimate X7 by Corel is the ideal software for the genealogist that may never have edited video before. It is affordable, easy to use, has what you need for a family history video and offers support for free through various sources.
Week 17. We visualized our project. Each video should have a focus – event (50th wedding anniversary?), one family member, one family unit, one year in time, memorializing a person, or your tree research journey. Imagine being your great-grandchildren who have come across this video. What would you appreciate from 50-75 years ago? That’s the same kind of thing you want to strive to pass on.
Week 18. We began learning video editing. In the first video of our training series, we looked at the software for the first time and got to know how it is set up. (Your Family History Video – Part 1) The second video showed the actual video of Part 1, how to add a title to the people you introduce, how to use the options page, and how to place a graphic. Your Family History Video – Part 2 also showed you how to download free content from Corel.
Week 19. Then we began our own Family History Video. Part 3 shows how to name your project, adjust the settings, how to add things to your library. Part 4 shows you how to break your video assets into smaller manageable clips. Then we shared free search tools through www.familysearch.org
Week 20. We started the process of bring it all together – the vision and the assets. Your Family History Video – Part 5 showed how to give your project a name, set the preferences, add an anchor photo and a graphic with a title to begin our video. We talked a bit about the “Ken Burns” effect and suggested you take some time to watch some of The Roosevelts noting how he introduced the people interviewed with names and credentials, how there was a mix of narration, interviews and still photos, and we watched for “era” footage.
Week 21. We looked first at using the family tree or an image as your anchor. Your Family History Video – Part 6 shows you how to pan and zoom an overlay track. Then we made a “pretty” family tree to use throughout our project.
Week 22. We followed the tree. We first looked at the importance of the tree and how it can be used. Then Your Family History Video – Part 7 showed you how to stabilize shaky film, zoom in on an entire clip, and trace the family tree using Corel Painting Creator in VideoStudio Ultimate X7.
Week 23. We learned about storyboarding. We learned the difference between storyboarding for theater movies and family history videos. Your Family History Video – Part 8 – Storyboarding shows several tips on how to organize your project.
That brings us up to date!
This blog is to help you gather, capture, digitize and assemble your family history into a video and/or book so we can archive it for you. That way your great-great-great-great-granchildren can access your stories.