Sunday, 1 January 2023

Read and Listed in 2022

A year of books

Each year I read about 100 books and record them on LibraryThing. It appears that I recorded 104 books on that platform this year. When I read books that I think are not worth recording they don't make it to my list, so I probably read at least another 10 not added in. Then there are the times when I have returned books to the library and forgotten to record their titles

Having just seen Jill Ball's post about books she had read in 2022, I looked for the cover display of the most recent 100 books I have read. 

The covers below display some books from most recently read back to January 2022.

Lots of fiction, some favourites this year in no particular order but historical fiction dominates.
  • The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters 
  • Dawnlands by Phillipa Gregory
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson
  • The Brightest Star by Emma Harcourt
  • The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
Some crime and mystery fiction enjoyed
  • The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
  • The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
  • The Way it is Now by Garry Disher
  • Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

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Sunday, 20 November 2022

Writing quick Ancestor biographies

Here’s a quick tip to stop one revising and spending editing time on every sentence written. Get the draft written by voice.
  • Open your timeline of research on an ancestor, whether it is in your genealogy software, in a spreadsheet or an online database.
  • On your phone open a Google doc or any notes app or Office and tap the microphone.
  • Talk about each fact in the timeline adding as little or as much as you want.
  • Now you have a draft document you can return to, edit and enhance later.
This works for me, have you tried it? 

This post first appeared on

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Scanning tools and adding text to photos

#NFHM2022 Week 3 - Two tools

Recently I have been re-scanning some old family photos and paying greater attention to the correction details available within the scanner's software. So this post is about two tools I find very useful for family history.

1. The Scanner

My Canon LIDE300 flatbed scanner provides a range of tools for making colour correction to those old faded photos from the seventies and eighties. It is also simple enough for excellent correction to be made to old sepia and black and white photos.

I'm sure most scanners' software would have these functions, it is just a matter of taking time to find them. The temptation to just choose Photo for a simple scan does not reveal all the tools but simply saves the scanned photos to a designated folder.

Using the scanners' software gives me many of the correction tools I would otherwise need to use in a program such as Photoshop.

From the opening screen one selects ScanGear to reveal all the possibilities. 
Scanner menu

Place more than one photo on the platen and preview.
Choose individual settings for each photo before final scan.

In the screenshot of the Preview screen above the photo on the left is from the 1970s with fading correction set to medium and the one on the right from the mid 1980s with fading correction set to low.
Further adjustments can be made to each photo prior to the final scan using the saturation/colour correction, brightness/contrast, black/white points or tone curve tools.

2. Paint by Microsoft

This small utility program comes pre-installed with Windows. When I have a photo or newspaper clipping that I want to add text to, this is a simple method.
Find Paint by searching in the bottom bar on Windows. 
  1. File >Open to navigate to your image, or copy and paste an image in.
  2. Use the dot displayed at the centre bottom of your photo to pull down to extend the canvas
  3. Select the text tool and draw a text box in the white space now available
  4. Type in the box
  5. Save file as jpg or png
Paint is also a simple free way to add arrows and other shapes to screen clippings as in the Scanner images at the beginning of this post.

Here is a short demonstration of how to add text using Paint, to any image file

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