Find My Ancestor Blog

St. George Family History Expo – February 25-26, 2011

I can't believe it has been almost a year since the last Family History Expo in St. George, Utah. Time flies!

This year's Family History Expo is February 25-26, 2011 at the Dixie Center. This year's theme for FHExpos is Where O'l Dogs Learn New Tricks. I am very excited about the theme for this year. As many of you know I focus a lot of my blog posts and topics on using technology to be able to find our ancestors. Technology has made genealogy so much easier and convenient and I think it is great how many older generations are willing and excited to learn how to use it! Anytime my grandma asks if I will show her how to do something on the computer I am more than willing, and the same goes for anyone else who is wanting to learn new techniques and resources using computers, mobile devices and the Internet. At this year's conference I am going to be teaching three classes, participating as a Blogger of Honor, excited to learn of more resources and techniques as well as one of my favorite parts about these conferences - meeting fellow genealogists and have the opportunity to network with you. The classes I will be teaching this year are:
  • How to Produce a Family History CD
  • Mobile Apps for Genealogy
  • Mac Genealogy - Tools for Researching on Your Apple Computer
Over the next week or so I will be sharing some posts on my classes and some things you can expect to learn while attending the conference. I will also soon be announcing a contest to give away two free registration tickets to the conference. Stay tuned for contest details! For more information on Family History Expos and to sign up for the conference, visit their website at


Pleasanton Family History Expo Review

Once again, Holly Hansen, President of Family History Expos and her wonderful team pulled off another successful conference! I first want to give a big thanks to Holly and everyone who helped put together such a great event for us to get together and learn more about how to trace our roots.

I find the expos a great place to also socialize and network with other genealogists. One of the funnest things is to talk with other avid genealogists and discuss the new events, websites, technology, and other great resources available to us.

It was great to finally meet Elizabeth O'Neal from the Little Bytes of Life blog. She is one of the many bloggers who I know and follow via the internet, but have never met until this conference.

It was also great to see everyone who I have previously met at other conferences over the past year.

There was such a great diversity in the classes taught here at the expo. Classes range from African American research, Hispanic research, multiple classes on social networking, genealogical organization, software, and  much more!

Butch and Jean Hibben from Circle Mending played their great folk music both days during lunch. It is really fun to watch Butch play his saw - yes, I did say saw! Below are some pictures of them playing their fun music

One of the great highlights of the expo was the live recording of the Genealogy Gems Podcast done on Friday night! Lisa Louise Cooke, producer and host of the podcast did such a great job once again doing a live recording. On the episode she had a couple of the writers for Shades of the Departed online genealogy magazine talk about what the magazine is, articles they write about, and how you can access the magazine. Craig Manson was her first guest on the show and he discussed what the magazine is and he also talked about the creator and amazing graphical designer of the magazine, footnoteMaven. FootnoteMaven has done such a great job at putting together a wonderful and fun magazine for all of us to enjoy. To learn more about footnoteMaven, visit her website at Lisa's second guest was Sheri Fenly who is another great author of the magazine. Sheri Fenly also has a really fun and education blog. It is so educational, it is called The Educated Genealogist! Also attending the podcast was author Denise Levenick, also known in the magazine by Penelope Dreadful.

Now, for those of you who remember reading my article after the last Family History Expo in Salt Lake City about the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, I have some updates for you. I talked with the guys at Flip-Pal at the conference and they say that they are still going to be shipping the scanners by the end of this month! You can go online and order them now, and by early November, if not sooner, you will be able to enjoy your new little toy! I have talked to many who said one of these would make a great Christmas gift! You might want to keep that in mind for your friends and family! It's also a great idea to add that to YOUR Christmas wish list. You never know what your kids and grandkids might get you! To read my previous post on the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, check out the following article: Scan Your Genealogy Documents Anywhere. To pre-order your scanner go to

Thanks again Family History Expos for another great conference! I am looking forward to the next conference I can attend. While I won't be able to make it to their next conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I know there are going to many great exhibits and classes there! For more information on that conference, and to register, visit the Family History Expos website.


Pleasanton Family History Expo – The Beginning

The Pleasanton Family History Expo is underway! The exhibit hall is starting to be filled with so many excited people eager to learn more about family history!

Sitting at the Bloggers Area of the exhibit hall I can see many new exhibitors who I have not seen yet at other conferences. Be sure to check back today and tomorrow to hear more about the exhibitors and various classes taking place here.

If you are in the area, come on over and say hello! There are a number of great bloggers here including Elizabeth O'Neal from Little Bytes of Life, Lisa Alzo from The Accidental Genealogist, Amy Coffin from The We Tree Genealogy Blog, Thomas MacEntee from High-Definition Genealogy, Kathryn Doyle from California Ancestors, Sheri Fenley from The Educated Genealogist, Becky Wiseman from Kinexxions, and I'm sure there will be many more!


Scan Your Genealogy Documents Anywhere

Some of you may have heard lately about the new mobile scanner produced by Flip-Pal. This last weekend Flip-Pal was at the Sandy Family History Expo showing off their cool new product. Though the scanners are not yet available, I was able to sit down and play with one at the expo.
Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

I am so impressed with these little scanners! I must admit, when I first saw and heard about them I was a little skeptical. I thought to myself there is now way a little scanner like that could produce such a great quality image. I have changed my mind!

This scanner is very light-weight and the perfect size for taking it around wherever you go.
You can see how small and mobile the scanner is.
Below are Flip-Pal specifications:

Maximum scan area
4 x 6 in. single scan.
Virtually unlimited stitched scans.
Scan Resolutions
300 x 300 dpi
600 x 600 dpi
Dimensions10.25 x 6.5 x 1.25 in.
Weight1 lb. 4.5 oz. (580 gm) without batteries
Scan speed
300 dpi: 6 sec.
600 dpi: 11 sec.
1.7 in. color LCD. 
Displays a thumbnail of the scan in progress and thumbnails of scanned images stored on the SD card.
Two brightness levels.
Number of scans150 scans are expected from one charge of alkaline batteries. 500 scans are expected from one charge of photo lithium batteries.
Supported SD cards
Standard SD cards (up to 2GB) and SDHC cards (4GB and higher) are supported.
DCF (Digital Camera File System) compatible.
Compatible with wireless Eye-Fi™ SD cards.
File sizeA 300 dpi scan results in approximately a 1.5MB JPEG file. A 600 dpi scan results in approximately a 3.0MB JPEG file.
Included softwareFlip-Pal™ Toolbox for Windows with stitching and color restoration
Added features
Removable lid
Transparent bottom
Stitching overlap guide marks
Business card pocket
Non-slip rubber feet
AccessoriesThe Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner comes with one 2GB SD card, software included on the SD card (no CD required), four AA alkaline batteries and a USB to SD card adaptor. Additional packs of window protector sheets can be purchased from Additional SD cards and batteries can be purchased separately.
Power4 AA alkaline batteries (included). Compatible with: Alkaline, Photo Lithium and Recharageable.
Maximum color depth30-bit (3 channels of 10-bit)
Interface connectionThe SD card may be transferred to any compatible SD card device. An SD to USB adapter is provided for devices without an SD card socket.
Environmental Compliance
Operating temperature range: 5°C to 40°C (41°F to 104°F)
Operating humidity range: 15% to 85% RH
RegulationscUL, FCC Part 15-Class B, ICEF-003

Above are some pictures showing different buttons and components of the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner:
The Flip-Pal comes with a 2GB Secure Digital (SD) card for saving your scans to. On the card also comes the software for color correction and photo stitching. Since the software comes on the card all you have to do is insert the card into your computer and the software automatically loads and asks you whether you want to stitch a photo together or make a color correction. If you ever lose your SD card, you can download the software from their website and put it onto another SD card.

Some of you may be saying to yourselves right now "I don't have an SD slot in my computer or a reader that I can use with my computer". For those of you who do not have an external reader or a built in reader in your computer, Flip-Pal also includes a USB reader that you simply put your SD card into and then insert the USB reader in to your computer. 

The Flip-Pal has a little display screen for changing the scan resolution, either 300 dpi or 600 dpi. You can also change other settings here on the screen. Of course, the screen will show you a preview of the image you just scanned. This makes it so you can decide whether you want to keep that scan or do another one.

One of the coolest features that I find is that you can take off the lid or the top of the scanning bed so you can then turn the scanner upside down and scan a book! There have been a couple of times where this would have been really handy for me! I have gone through a couple of old scrapbooks my grandma and mom have made, and with each of them I have had to carefully take apart the scrapbook in order for it to fit onto my flat-bed scanner at home. With the Flip-Pal you don't have to do that anymore! 

For photos and documents that are larger than the scanning screen all you have to do is "stitch" them together. Now in the past, it required quite a bit of time, talent, and proper software in order to do this. With the Flip-Pal its as easy as scanning the images and telling the software which images you want to stitch together. Flip-Pal does the rest! I have to admit, this photo stitching software is the best I have seen with how simple it is. I don't have an actual example of an image that was stitched together, but trust me, it was good! You couldn't even tell that it was scanned in multiple sections and then put together into one!

Now, this software I have been talking about is only for Windows Operating Systems. However, the makers of Flip-Pal told me that they are working on a Mac OS version of the software and that it will be available for download from their website once it is released. So, for those Mac users out there (like me) we won't be able to use the software that comes on the SD card, but you can still use the images that were scanned. All you have to do is access the SD card drive from your hard drive when you plug it in.

All the images saved from the scanner are in JPG format which work on both the Windows and Mac operating systems.

Also another really cool feature I find with the Flip-Pal is that you aren't limited to 2D scans anymore! With the Flip-Pal you can scan 3D objects such as coins, military medals, and even water bottles! Now you may be asking yourself why you would ever want to scan a water bottle?? Well, you might have an old soda pop bottle or an old tin can of an ancestors that you would like to get an image of what is on it. You can always take a picture, but the photo would be distorted according to the contour of the bottle. With the Flip-Pal you can get a flat image from a circular object! Below is a video that they demonstrated for me there how this is done and an example of the result.

You can also view the video on my YouTube Channel.