Help our family tree grow! Please contribute copies of old documents, letters, postcards, certificates and family photographs. Public birth and death records can only go so far. Those family momentoes stored away in your closet can provide important clues that help us find distant ancestors. They also help us understand our ancestors more as human beings rather than just names and dates.
Imagine a photograph of your great-grandparents inherited by one of their children. You have not seen it because it was passed from generation to generation within another branch of the family. If that photograph were published here, other family members could enjoy it too.
If you submit copies of such items, I will publish them here for wider distribution. You can copy photographs and documents at many office supply stores and copy centers. Please refer to my submission guidelines below for more information.
For posterity, consider submitting a portrait of your immediate family, as well as a portrait of each family member. These pictures appear on the family group sheets. It's a great way to recognize your cousins, and even follow family traits down through the generations. For the pictures I already have, I tried to use graduation, wedding or Christmas portraits. Otherwise I used snapshots. Please refer to my submission guidelines below for more information.
Also consider submitting your autobiography. This is an essay that summarizes your life. You can describe your childhood, education, employment, your children, trips, hobbies, the major milestones in your life and your views about world events as you lived them. Don't forget to describe your appearance, mannerisms, and favorite sayings. Your descendants will enjoy reading about you. If your parents or grandparents are no longer alive, submit a biography of their lives. No one knows them like you did and it's a good way to tell their great, great, great-grandchildren about them. If you are afraid of writing an essay, make it a simple list of recollections.
You can also contribute information about the spouse of a Voisin or Stewart relation. For example you may wish to contribute information about your spouse's parents, grandparents and so on. Not only will these collateral lines be of interest to your descendants, such information can lead to more about a Voisin or Stewart ancestor. Families related by marriage often immigrated together and lived near one another.
I would very much appreciate copies of any family momentoes you possess. I strongly discourage you from sending original items through the mail. They can be lost or damaged.
If you have a scanner...
A scanner is a device connected to your computer that allows you to capture an image of a document or a picture. If you have a scanner, you can easily make electronic copies of family momentoes such as photographs, certificates, letters, and journals.
To make copies for submission, I recommend the following scanner options. The terminology and options available with your particular scanner may vary. Due to the number and variety of scanners, I have not provided detailed steps. Please consult your scanner's reference manual for complete instructions.
Select "true color" mode for most items. This mode allows for later enhancement of an image, even if the item is an old black & white photograph or a letter or post card that is difficult to read. For relatively recent type-written documents without photographs, "black and white document" mode may be better.
Photographs: Select "600 dpi" resolution for old photographs. This results in a high-quality scan for archive purposes. If this results in an excessively large image file size, try 400 dpi, or 300 dpi. I don't recommend scanning photographs at less than 150 dpi.
Newspapers: For items like newspaper clippings, certificates and letters, 300 dpi is good.
Scan items at 100% of their original size. This ensures the best quality.
If you are scanning newspaper, select the Newspaper descreen filter, which is usually 85 lines per inch. Scanning items like a church history booklet may require a Magazine descreen filter value like 133 lines per inch.
Save the image as an TIFF file. TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format, which represents the internal structure of an image file. The file name will usually have a ".tif" extension. Please do not save it as a JPG (JPEG) file, which can degrade the image quality.
To save disk space, and especially if you will e-mail it, please compress the resulting TIF file using a compression program like PowerArchiver or WinZip.
When scanning photographs, please scan the entire image. Do not crop out the background. It often provides clues to the photograph's date and location.
Once the image has been scanned, please do not enhance it by changing the brightness, contrast, color balance, sharpness, and so on. Such enhancements can be done on a copy of the image, but they should not be done on the original scan. This allows maximum flexibility for enhancing the image later.
If you do not have a scanner...
You can copy paper documents like certificates, letters, and journals using an ordinary Xerox machine. They are available in many public libraries, office supply stores and copy centers.
To copy a photograph, many photo developers now offer a kiosk that can scan a photograph and make a print on glossy-coated paper. Many office supply stores and even Wal-Mart have these.
If you will be visiting...
If you are traveling, you are welcome to visit me. If you bring your family momentoes I will scan them and return them to you immediately. Please protect them from moisture, humidity and high temperatures while traveling. Don't leave them in the car where temperatures can reach extremes.
You can submit items to me in a variety of ways:
FTP. You can upload your image files to this website using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program.
E-Mail. Include image files as attachments to your e-mail. If they are large, please compress them using PowerArchiver, WinZip or a similar compression utility.
CD-ROM. If you have a CD-R/W drive on your computer, you can "burn" a CD-ROM.
Letter. You can use the US Postal Service.
Please refer to my contact information for the appropriate address and for FTP instructions. I will reimburse you for reasonable costs associated with duplication, postage and media, like CD-ROMs. Please indicate your costs, and whether you want any items returned to you.
Please include any information you know about the items you submit. Be sure to include any writing on the back of a photograph. If it's hard to decipher, consider copying or scanning the back of a photograph as well. Please try to identify the people in a photograph, even if you can only guess. These and any other clues will help.
Contact: Mike Voisin