Posted in News

MeWe – The Next-Gen Social Network

Facebook’s days of telling us to ignore that man behind the curtain are over. It’s obvious that our privacy means nothing in their world. Fortunately we have options. One of them is a delightful social network called MeWe. Their privacy policy is short and to the point:

Your personal privacy and the privacy of your data is paramount to us at MeWe. We have prepared this Privacy Policy to clearly explain how we protect you and your data at MeWe.

With MeWe, your content is yours. You won’t find tracking cookies collecting information about us or how we use the MeWe network. As you can see here, your account isn’t bombarded with advertisements either.

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How do they do it? They offer a “freemium” service. You can get started at no cost. Each user has 8GB of free storage for posting photos, documents, videos and other files. If you need more space, you will be charged a monthly fee based on the amount of storage you select. There are other premium features you can choose to use – or not. For example, you can purchase additional emoji collections or add an extra layer of security for one-on-one chats with Secret Chat encryption.

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The My Cloud section is fascinating. It displays all my posts, photos, videos and voice messages. From here I can select any item to download, share or delete. In the left sidebar is a panel showing how much space I’ve used and how much is available. If I need more space, I just click the button to purchase it.

I just had a very pleasant video chat with a cousin via MeWe. She has been a member for a while and once I had given MeWe permission to share my contacts, I popped up in her My Chats panel. They only display your contacts to people who are MeWe users so, for now, it’s just the two of us. I have connected to several other users since creating my account and they also show up in My Chats.

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Groups are impressive yet easy to navigate. The group’s timeline is front and center. Each post has an area for comments – which can include photos, links and files. MeWe uses hashtags (a keyword prefaced with a hash mark) to make searching even easier. Use the Group Chat box in the right sidebar to start a discussion and the Events calendar to organize online events for the group.

I have moved the Storytellers Studio group to MeWe and have found it delightful. It’s easy to navigate, has a Files library where I can post PDF user guides and provides not just commenting, but one-on-one chats and even group chats. They have announced an upcoming video option which will make it possible to present demonstrations and other fun goodies.

If you are looking for creative ways to share your family history, join us here and at the Storytellers Studio group on MeWe.

 

Posted in Journaling

Lost Memories

The hurricanes that devastated the Carolinas have left many of us stunned at the horror Mother Nature can inflict.

While most of the damage can be repaired or replaced in one way or another, there will be many precious treasures that can never be replaced. The family photos and treasured ephemera from generations past are often victims of disaster. Storing them in archival quality containers can protect them from a normal environment, but not disasters such as these.

Photographing treasures, scanning photos and documents won’t save them from destruction but when those digitized items are saved in a secure location (or multiple locations) their memory will live on. And, with a little extra effort, you can also tell the stories of these precious things. These photos and their stories can be passed on to future generations.

Journaling TreasuresThe wicker chest you see in this screenshot was taken using my iPhone and the Day One journaling app. Day One is more than just a daily journal of events. It is also a delightful way to capture the people, places and things that are part of our lives.

The Day One app is available for Mac desktops as well as iOS and Android devices. The apps are free, but a premium subscription ($3.99/mo or $34.99/year) is needed to take advantage of features including unlimited encrypted cloud storage, unlimited photo storage, multiple journals and cloud synching between devices. The cost of a premium subscription is well worth the cost. Having copies of your journals – and the photos included in them – safely stored far away from the disaster insures that this memories will not be lost.

The premium subscription supports multiple journals. You can create a journal just for your treasures. Use the app to photograph those treasures along with a note describing it, where it came from and any history that goes along with it. Don’t stop with furniture. Things like art work, Christmas decorations, wedding gowns, antiques and even toys all have their own memories.

One more thing . . . Day One also has a publishing feature so you can create custom books to share with others. Premium users get a 25% discount.

My treasured wicker chest and other special items may someday be lost in a disaster, but their memory will live on thanks to Day One.

Posted in Project Ideas

Build A Family Heritage Cookbook With Paprika

The Paprika Recipe Manager is the perfect example of a 21st century cookbook. It is available for Windows and Mac desktops along with iOS, Android and Kindle devices. And, while it makes it easy to capture, organize and share recipes, it also does a lot more. You can plan meals, build grocery lists, scale recipes to fit your serving size and even automatically detect and set timers from a recipe’s directions. Yes, it’s a delightful tool for people who love to cook. It’s also a great way to capture your family’s legacy recipes and the stories related to them.

I fell in love with Paprika when I first installed in on my iPad. It has a built-in web browser set up with bookmarks to an impressive collection of online recipe sites. Are you a fan of the Pioneer Woman or The Food Network? You’ll find them already bookmarked. If there are other sites not found in the Paprika list – like the Apron Recipes at Publix – you can add them to your bookmarks. Using the built-in browser, you can cruise through these sites and when you find something you’d like to add to your recipes, all you do is tap Download and enter a category (main dish, dessert, brunch, etc.). Paprika does the rest.

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Adding your personal recipes takes a bit more effort. Enter the ingredients and the instructions, add a category and even a photo if you wish. There is a field for entering personalized notes about the recipe. This comes in handy if you are posting a legacy recipe. Use it to describe the cook and how he/she fits into the family “tree”. Is it a recipe that is traditionally served for a specific event like Thanksgiving, Christmas or anniversaries? Include that in the notes too.

The recipe above is one of our favorite family recipes – Minorcan Clam Chowder. Instead of a photo of the dish, this recipe has a picture of the chef (my father). He had a unique way of making this dish which is well documented in the Notes section. The recipe is listed under the Soups and Stews category but it is also listed in the Legacy category. This way we can easily find our family favorites at any time.

The recipes in our Legacy collection look a bit different from the others. The photos in these recipes are usually focused on the cook or the event where it is frequently served. The notes area is used to describe why this recipe is a family favorite.

The Paprika app is available on Windows ($19.99) and Mac ($29.99) desktops along with iOS, Android and Kindle Fire mobile devices ($4.99). I have been gifting the mobile version to family members for some time so we can take advantage of Paprika’s sharing option to pass our favorite recipes around. Paprika has also become my favorite gift for bridal showers. In addition to the app, I also add the exported collection of Legacy recipes which the new bride can easily import to her app and learn a bit about the history of her new family.

Recipe sharing continues long after the wedding. Our family is constantly sharing recipes and Paprika makes it so easy. Don’t stop there. Paprika is an delightful way to document and share your family’s legacy recipes, but it is a lot more. The features for meal planning and grocery lists are also quite impressive. This $5.00 app will quickly become a tool you can’t live without. Try it an see for yourself.

This article was originally published at Moultrie Creek Gazette.

Posted in Project Ideas

Miss Kate’s Autograph Book

 

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I created this little book to preserve and share Mary Katherine Link’s autograph book which I inherited from my grandmother. Miss Kate was her aunt – her father’s sister. My grandmother was only 5 years old when her mother died and Miss Kate stepped in to take on the task of surrogate mother to four young children. She did this while continuing to teach school. She was quite an amazing lady.

Miss Kate’s autographs date from the late 19th century, showing the affection and respect she she enjoyed in her community. The book’s binding is disintegrating and many of the pages are now loose. Before packing it away in an archival box to protect it from further deterioration, I scanned the book with plans to create a booklet from the images so any interested family members could have a copy of their own.

The book was created using OpenOffice.org’s Writer app and Photoshop Elements. My images were cropped and re-sized, then inserted into the booklet document. I added a short biography written by my cousin, Nancy Murphy, and the only photo I have of Miss Kate. After adding a cover and exporting everything to PDF, I uploaded the result to Lulu. Not only does Lulu offer both print and download options, they provide the storefront allowing family and friends to order/download their copies without having to go through me first. By offering the print version at cost, I could provide the download version for free.

We all have family ephemera in our collections. Consider using them to build e-pubs to share with family members and to publish on your blog which could help attract research cousins. Miss Kate’s autograph book won’t change the world, but to descendants of the Link family and the Tennessee community where they lived it helps bring their ancestors to life.

Here’s a look at Miss Kate’s Autograph Book via Scribd.

 

Posted in Project Ideas

Famicity – Getting Started

Famicity is a private social network designed for families. It’s designed to provide a safe way to share news, photos and videos. It’s also a great place to stay connected in a secure environment that won’t sell your information to the highest bidder.

How do you get started with Famicity? Actually, it’s quite easy.

Go to Famicity at https://www.famicity.com/en/welcome. Take a few minutes to get a feel for the site. When you are ready, click the Sign up button in the upper right side of the screen. When the sign-up screen opens you will see several registration options. You can register using your Facebook login (not recommended), your FamilySearch login or create your own with your email address and a password. Before pressing the Start key, it’s a good idea to review the site’s terms of service.

Once you click the Create Account button, you will be taken to a page where you enter your name, sex and date of birth. Once that’s done, you are ready to start building your family tree and trying out the various components of Famicity.

Sample Famicity screen

You won’t have any stories or photos yet, but it won’t be long before you’re adding photo albums, videos and stories. Right now, you need to check out the toolbar running down the left side of the Famicity screen. The News button at the top of the bar displays your Famicity site’s timeline. As you invite others to join Famicity, this is the place to view all the latest posts to the network.

Story area

The Story button takes you to your profile screen. It contains information about you along with each of the items you have added to the site. This could include photos, videos, photo albums and stories. The name “stories” is a bit misleading. While writing stories about yourself and others are always encouraged, stories will often include short captions, announcements and news. You choose what your stories will be.

Albums are just that . . . A place to display multiple photos associated with a particular event or topic.

Famicity also includes a family Tree. You can either build it from scratch or import a GEDCOM. The tree is used to show your Famicity members how they fit within the family structure but it is also used to invite family members to join your Famicity group. The birthdate information maintained in your family tree is also used to automatically announce birthdays in Famicity’s News section.

The Inbox makes it possible to communicate with your family members via private message.

Contacts is the directory of members. This can be used by members to contact each other. It is also used by administrators to send family members an invitation to join Famicity and it is used to organize members into groups – like the Florida group and the California group.

The My family section contains a directory for all the members of your Famicity family. The directory can be used by members to find contact information. For network administrators, it is a great way to manage groups and invitations as well as contact information.

Before you start inviting your family to join you at Famicity, post photos, videos and even a story or two. This will help you get a feel for how things work in Famicity and it will give your family something fascinating to look at when they first view the site. The Help button in the toolbar takes you to the Famicity help center where you will find detailed instructions on how to use the many features available.

Once you are comfortable with the site it’s time to start adding others. As they get comfortable with Famicity, start encouraging them to add their own photos and stories. You’ll be surprised how quickly they will settle in.