Start a Family Journal

Now is a great time to start recording your family history via a family journal.

You can use FamilySays.com as a quick way to capture the fun and memorable events of the day.

We use the Quick Thoughts feature to record the funny things our kids say. It is then easy to go back and pull those together at the end of the year to share in our family Christmas card.

We also love to post recaps of our family adventures and travels with pictures so our family and friends can see them on our FamilySays.com site.

By posting our memories, pictures, and daily happenings, we’ve created a family journal easily within our FamilySays.com site.

Time passes by so quickly, so start recording what is happening in your family so you don’t forget it! Start your family journal today.

MyFamily.com Is Closing – Here’s the Alternative

We heard this week that MyFamily.com is closing their service in September 2014.

This is a disappointing message for the thousands of families that have used this service for many years.

Myfamily.com Closing

Here’s the official wording from MyFamily.com’s recent email to subscribers:

Starting on September 5, 2014, MyFamily.com will no longer be available.

We understand the value this service has provided to keep your family connected during your time as a subscriber. To keep the family memories you’ve gathered on MyFamily.com, please log in to your MyFamily group site and request an export by clicking on the “Export Now” button located at the top of the page.

There are other services that may provide one or more of the features that MyFamily.com offered…

MyFamily.com Alternative

Fortunately for you FamilySays.com is one of those alternative services to MyFamily.com.

FamilySays.com has been serving families like you since 2006 and we know the importance of continually offering a cherished service to families around the world.

Here you can create your own private family website and share your news, stories, and information in complete privacy.

See what FamilySays.com can do for your family and sign up for a free trial today.

How to Add a YouTube Video to Your Blog

Here’s how to add a YouTube video to your FamilySays.com blog.

  1. Go to your video’s page on Youtube.com
  2. Below your video, click the “Share” link:
    youtube-share

  3. Click on the “Embed” link and you’ll see a snippet of code you’ll need to use on FamilySays.com:
    embedd-code

  4. Make sure the embed code is highlighted and copy it to your clipboard (Ctrl+C on Windows or Cmd+C on Mac)
  5. Return to your FamilySays.com site.
  6. Go to the “Write” tab and click the “Embed a Video” icon:
    video-upload-button
  7. Paste the Youtube embed code in the big box (Ctrl+V on Windows or Cmd+V on Mac) and click the “Insert Video” button:
    pasting-embed-code
  8. You’ll see a big yellow box in your message area that represents the video
  9. Once you publish your message, you’ll see the actual video embedded along with the rest of your message.

How to Get Email Updates When Someone Comments On Your Blog

You can easily get email updates when someone adds a comment on your FamilySays.com blog. This means you don’t have to constantly come back and check the site to see if there has been any activity.

To start receiving an email when a comment is made, just follow these steps:

1. Click the “Your Account” link in the upper right of the site:

2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and check the box that says “Send me an email when someone adds a new comment”:

3. You’re all set!

Now when someone adds a comment on your site, you’ll get an email letting you know.

The email will include:

  • Who made the comment
  • On which message was the commented added
  • The actual comment
  • A link back to your site so you can read all the comments on that message

How to Export Your FamilySays.com Messages

Sometimes it is nice to download an archive of your family’s messages that have collected on your Family Says site. For example, you may want to export your messages so you can backup your information to your computer or to turn your blog messages into a book.

You have two options to export your messages: one message at a time or a month at a time.

How to Export a Single Message

Visit a message page and look for the three icons under the message title:

icons

Print print icon

Click the printer icon and you’ll see a printer friendly version of your message. It will include all your pictures and comments.

Word word icon

Click the Word icon and download your message in Microsoft Word format (.doc). You can then easily make any changes to the file and save it for later.

PDF pdf icon

Click the PDF icon and download your message as a PDF document (.pdf).

How to Export a Month of Messages

To export a month’s worth of messages, visit the “Archive” tab at the top of your site.

Click a month from the list that appears.

On the individual month’s archive page, you’ll see all the messages from that month.

At the bottom of the page, click the “Download all these messages to a PDF file”:

month export

The Benefits of Photo Scanning and Tagging

A typical family household has thousands of photos, either taken with digital cameras, or in the form of photo prints and slides taken before the digital photographic age. They capture some of the greatest memories of your life, your ancestors, your relatives, and your family and friends. Yet most lay forgotten, hidden away in boxes or on your computer hard drive. Then when you want to look at them, you can’t find the photos you want!

To bring these memories back into your life, it is important to scan your print photos and slides into digital form, add these scanned photos to your photo collection taken with your digital cameras, and then organize your entire digital collection by tagging each digital photo.

Scanning is easily outsourced to companies that do this professionally. Tagging is more personal and does take some time and effort to complete. The effort is totally worth it however. Once tagged, you can employ power search tools to find the photos you want, and you keep critical information about the photo stored within the photo itself. With thousands of photos on your computer hard disk, you will quickly wonder how you ever survived without tagging!

Why Scan your Old Photos and Slides?

Scanning your photo and slide collection offers several valuable benefits. Once scanned, you can:

  • Protect your photo prints and slides: We all worry that photo prints or slides can be misplaced, damaged beyond repair, or destroyed in a catastrophic event. By having a digital archive of your originals, you have the comfort of knowing your scanned images can be reprinted at any time.
  • Restore them back to their former beauty: All photo prints fade over time and images get washed out. Slides and negatives decay. Loose photos get scratched, bent, or ripped through years of mishandling. Have a close look at some of your older photo prints and you will notice these changes. Professional tools such as Photoshop™ can reverse the years of decay and damage in your originals and make them look as clear and vibrant as the day they were taken.
  • Share them with friends and family: You are already sharing digital photos through “Family Says”. Now share your print photos as well!

Why Tag your Digital Photos?

Tagging involves storing information about the photo within the photo image file. You can tag any information you want, but standard tags typically include:

  • Location: Where the photo was taken
  • Time: When the photo was taken
  • Keywords: These keywords capture anything you want to record about the photo. Common keywords are people’s names, and event type (e.g., wedding, birthday)
  • Caption or Title: Tagline to go along with the photo

There are two main benefits from tagging:

  • Photo organization and search: Storing your photos in a series of folders quickly becomes limiting. For example, do you store your family 2010 vacation photos in a vacation folder, in a family folder, or in a year folder? Years later, which folder do you look in to find a particular photo? The problem gets exponentially worse as we collect more and more photos. Photo tagging lets you organize, then easily search for the photos you want. Imagine how nice it would be if you could immediately find “All the photos from our vacation in Italy” or “Just those photos that contain you and your kids” or “Photos of Jeff when he was 10 years old”?
  • Keeping critical information with the photo: I recently created a family tree. The only person who knew the people in the photos was my aging mother. Some photos had names written on the back, but most didn’t. In another case I had a photo of my daughter taken on one of our camping vacations, but I couldn’t remember where it was taken. Tagging lets you keep all that information with the photo for as long as the photo exists. You can edit it at any time, and update it with additional information at any time.

Most advanced photo library applications provide automatic facial recognition to help tag the people in a photo, and newer digital cameras will automatically tag (GPS) location and time into each captured photo, but on the whole, tagging is still mainly a manual effort. That means it can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you have lots of photos. The effort is totally worth it however. Once you have your photos tagged, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. With thousands of photos on your computer hard disk, it really is the only way to go!

One last note about tagging. It pays to experiment with various photo library applications before you embark on tagging your entire photo collection. The quality of tagging and search varies dramatically between photo library applications. Secondly, most facial recognition information is stored in the application’s database, which means you will lose the information when the photo leaves the confines of the application (e.g. uploaded to a website or emailed to a friend). I personally use Photoshop Elements because I can easily organize my tags, employ facial recognition, search for the photos I want, yet keep all of the tags within the photo file.

About the Author
This was a guest post by George Swan, Owner of Aberscan Imaging. Aberscan Imaging specializes in scanning your old photos and slides into digital form. We can handle any number or size of photos or slides. In fact, if it fits on a scanner, we can scan it: letters, scrapbooks, old documents, newspaper clippings, and much, much more. We also offer great scan quality, image enhancement and restoration using Photoshop™, and miscellaneous other services such as image tagging and DVD slideshows. Turnaround time is usually less than two days.

How to Invite Friends and Family to Your Family Blog

Your private family blog stays private because only the people you invite can see and access your site.

There are two types of people that you can invite to your site: authors and guests.

Authors can write messages. Guests can only read messages and leave comments.

This video shows how to invite friends and family to your family blog:

How to Add a Message or Post to Your Family Blog

Adding a new message or post to your private family blog on FamilySays.com is quick and easy.

You can write a message for your blog by clicking the “Write” tab in the menu at the top of your site.

This video will show you how to add a message or post to your family blog:

How to Customize Your Family Blog

There are several options to customize your family blog on FamilySays.com.

You can customize your site’s colors, name, design, and pictures.

Your design options are accessible via the “Site Management” tab and then the “Design” link.

Here is a short video showing how to customize your family blog:

7 Essential Family Blogging Tips

Family blogs are a great way to share your latest family news and happenings with others. To make sure you get the most out of your family blog, keep these family blogging tips in mind:

1. Choose Your Audience

For whom are you writing your blog? For the grandparents? For friends?

Decide who you want to read your blog and write accordingly. Perhaps family will want to see videos and pictures. Remember to share the story and context of these pictures so people know what is happening.

2. Choose What to Share

Think about the highlights of your day or week with your family. These are the things that you should share on your family blog. If you document absolutely everything that is happening, you’ll get burned out.

3. Let People Know About Updates

Make sure you let people know when you’ve posted something new on your family blog.

You can manually email family and friends but this may be tedious. Look for a family blogging service that will send out automatic email notices sent to subscribers or provides a feed that people can use in their blog readers (like Google Reader).

4. Post Regularly

Your family blog is a wonderful way for others to see what is happening in your family. Keep your family and friends aware of what is happening in your life by posting to your blog regularly.

5. Encourage Comments

You can encourage people to comment on your family blog posts by asking questions. Questions will prompt others to answer. Additionally, you can share some amazing family pictures or video to spark conversation.

6. Write For You

Think of your family blog as a family journal. This is your chance to archive what is happening in your family. Write posts and share information that you’d like to know about when you look back a few years from now.

7. Have Fun

Posting to your family blog shouldn’t be a chore. Keep things fun by including funny anecdotes about your family, stories of a fun family trip, or a video that made you laugh.

By following these family blogging tips, you’ll be on your way to having an amazing family blog that your friends and family enjoy reading.