Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Ruminations

Because I'm focused on Blurb bookmaking these days, my ruminations this month are a bit of a continuation from something I mentioned in last month's ruminations: digital photo archiving. And again, my thoughts are not quite in sync with the how-to methods you've read about from the experts.

Digital archiving as advised by the experts consists of scanning photos at 300 dpi and saving them as TIF files. An important pro of the TIF format is that it is not a 'lossy' format; in other words, no resampling of the pixels takes place if you should 'Save' the file over and over again. A TIF con is that the file size is considerably larger than that of the same photo scan saved in, say, the JPG format.

The experts' advice may be enough for you, as far as it goes. However, in the course of working on a book about my mother's childhood, I discovered that I was unable to use some photos as I wanted to. Why?

For an 8" x 10" book, the pixel dimensions for a full-bleed page image, such as the left side of the two-page spread above, are 2363 x 3000 pixels. I had previously scanned both of the snapshots above at 300 dpi, but a regular-sized snapshot scanned at 300 dpi is simply not adequate to enlarge that much.

Using small snapshots as full-bleed page images, as shown in the examples above, necessitated my finding the originals and rescanning them at considerably higher resolution. In most cases, 600-700 dpi was adequate, but in some cases I scanned as high as 1200 dpi in order to crop the photo as I wanted it, or to select some small detail to enlarge for closer study.

Fortunately, I do have access to most of my mom's old snapshots. There are many other photos in my digital collection, however, which I've scanned from photos which I no longer have access to. I hadn't foreseen that I would have need of higher-resolution images.

In the future, I plan to scan small photos and snapshots at a much higher resolution. Because saving them as TIF files would require an enormous amount of disk space, I'll save them as JPG files. When I open one of those files for use in a project, I'll make a copy to work on and then close the original file without using the Save command. That way, the pixels in the original file do not get resampled as they do when you Save. It's the resampling that causes a tiny loss of clarity every time you do it, unnoticeable at first but after Saving repeatedly, the degradation becomes noticeable. At least, that's my understanding from a number of articles I've read about digital images.

By the way, if you burn your photo files to a CD or DVD, a JPG file is not going to degrade any more than a TIF file. The only degradation would be that of the CD or DVD itself.

I find that every time I use a photo in a project, my needs are different--I may want to crop it differently, or change the color to sepia or some other tint, or maybe just desaturate the colors a bit, maybe erase the background... you just never know what your next idea might be. Consequently I always work on a copy anyway, rather than the original image.

My point, if I actually have one, is that you may want to consider what your purpose is in scanning old photographs, and how you might want to use the scans in the future. You may need to make some exceptions to the advice of the experts in order to serve your own needs better.


November Accomplishments
  • I managed to get a post up for Bill West's Second Great Local Poem and Song Genealogy Challenge. I've been waiting all year for that one to come around, and almost missed it due to seemingly endless fussing over the finishing of the book I've been working on.
  • I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it but at last, with six hours to spare before the deadline, I uploaded my first family-history-related book to and placed my order.
And in the other column . . .
  • There are still a few names remaining to be done on my Surnames page. This is a fine example of how I lose my momentum on a project if I take a break from it before it's completed. I'll finish them up eventually, but right now they're down some on my list of priorities. Sure would be nice if I could wrap that up before the end of the year, though!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Poem by John Cotton

[To my Reverend Dear Brother, Mr. Samuel Stone, Teacher of the Church at Hartford. 1652.]

How well, dear Brother, art thou called Stone?
As sometimes Christ did Simon Cephas own.
A Stone for solid firmness fit to rear
A part in Zion's wall, and it upbear.
Like Stone of Bohan, bounds fit to describe
'Twixt Church and Church, as that 'twixt tribe and tribe.
Like Samuel's Stone, erst Eben-Ezer hight,
To tell the Lord hath helped us with his might.
Like Stone in David's sling, the head to wound
Of that huge Giant-Church, so far renowned,
Hight the Church Catholic Ĺ“cumenical,
Or at the lowest compass National;
Yet Politic Visible, and of such a fashion
As may or rule a world or rule a nation.
Which though it be cried up unto the Skies
By Philistines and Israelites likewise,
Yet seems to me to be too near akin
Unto the Kingdom of the Man of sin.
In frame, and state, and constitution,
Like to the first beast in the Revelation
Which was as large as Roman empire wide,
And ruled Rome, and all the world beside.
Go on, good Brother, gird thy sword with might,
Fight the Lord's battles, plead his Church's right.
To Brother Hooker thou art next akin,
By office-right thou must his pledge redeem.
Take thou the double portion of his spirit,
Run on his race, and then his crown inherit.
Now is the time when Church is militant,
Time hast'neth fast when it shall be triumphant.

The Reverend Samuel Stone was my ninth great-grandfather.


Stop by West in New England on November 25th, Thanksgiving day, when the entries in Bill West's Second Great American Local Poem And Song Genealogy Challenge will be posted. I've read a few of the entries already, and this year's event promises to be as awesome as last year's.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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