Category: General

Discover Your History magazine - out now!

Category: General

Discover Your History MagazineJust a reminder that the Discover Your History magazine is now available in all good newsagents or you can subscribe online here. Existing subcribers of Your Family History magazine will automatically receive Discover Your History from now on.

Henry James Weaver's story appears on pages 26 and 27.

Follow Friday: Wartime Farm - another great BBC series

Category: General

I've been avidly watching the BBC series 'Wartime Farm' and loving it. Some might remember my blog about the 'Edwardian Farm' - the latest series features the same three presenters but is set in World War II. So far, there have been two episodes which, if you missed them, are available to UK residents on the BBC iPlayer. Well worth a watch!

[Why Follow Friday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Tech Tuesday: The Western Digital 'My Passport' Essential Portable Hard Drive

Category: General

My latest acquisition is a new external hard drive. I'm careful about backups and I keep more than one backup of my system and files, so when my spare 250 Gb external drive recently gave up the ghost I decided it was time for a new one.

I've always owned LaCie drives in the past. Mine have been chunky desktop ones and usually live on top of my computer. I don't have a particular need for a portable drive, as such, and this has always suited me. However, when I recently discovered my aunt's Western Digital 'My Passport' drive, I was smitten and decided to get one to replace the drive that was defunct.

The Western Digital My Passport Essential Portable Hard Drive
The Western Digital 'My Passport' Essential Portable Hard Drive

Here's what I like about it…
  • When it comes to operation, the 500 Gb Western Digital 'My Passport' Essential Portable Hard Drive doesn't rely upon a separate power supply and is just as convenient as using a memory stick in a USB port. It also comes with fast USB 3.0 connectivity and is backwards compatible to USB 2.0.
  • The drive is so small and neat and is, quite literally, portable. This, for me, means I don't have to keep it plugged in to my PC all of the time but can disconnect and store it away quickly and easily. In the event that my PC gets a virus or suffers an electrical surge, then it wouldn't affect any backups if the hardware wasn't physically connected at the time.
  • Because of its size and weight, you can easily slip the WD 'My Passport' into your laptop or netbook case, or even your pocket, and go. When not in use, you can put it away in a desk drawer.
The WD My Passport Essential Drive is so neat and small
The WD My Passport Essential Drive is so neat and small

Formatted for Windows, if required, the drive can be reformatted to operate on a Mac. Larger capacity models are also available and you can choose to make use of password protection and encryption for added privacy and security.

I've chosen to keep my 1Tb LaCie drive attached to my PC for daily backups and use my new 'My Passport' drive for additional backups. The 'My Passport' comes with a program which, once set up, will automatically and continuously back up vital files such as your Documents, Pictures, etc. and even your emails, whenever you add or change a file and will keep up to 25 different versions of a file if you choose to. If you make changes without the drive connected then it will perform the backup as soon as you attach it once again. You don't have to think about it at all so, for the technically challenged, this is a doddle. I've tried the software out but, after upgrading to the latest version, it kept continually catagorizing the files and using up lots of system resources so I've uninstalled it. You also need to bear in mind that the software doesn't allow for a full backup of the whole computer system. Nevertheless, I saw on my aunt's Windows 7 computer a Backup program within Windows which did this very thing. I'm still using XP and have been using Acronis True Image Home software for all of my daily, weekly and whole system backup solutions and will continue to use this on the LaCie drive. I will simply use Copy & Paste from time to time to back up data to the 'My Passport'.

The WD My Passport Essential Drive on top of my LaCie Drive
The WD My Passport Essential Drive on top of my LaCie Drive

I can rest easy in the knowledge that all of my family history files and photos are safe, not to mention all of my business data too.

Disclaimer - this is my own personal opinion and I have no affiliation to Western Digital.

[Why Tech Tuesday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Tech Tuesday: Quickly transcribe old wills and documents with speech recognition software

Category: General

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software is very efficient for use in converting the printed word into editable, machine-encoded text. But how do we deal with old, handwritten documents? My husband bought a dictation machine a few weeks ago and I thought I'd put it to the test by transcribing my 5 x great-grandfather's 4-page, handwritten will.

The Olympus VN-8500 PC Dictation Machine
The Olympus VN-8500 PC Dictation Machine
and a copy of James Rice's Will
(Click the image to see a larger version.)

The gadget is the Olympus VN-8500 PC Dictation Machine with Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking Recorder Edition software. Purchased from Argos, the machine itself is amazingly small and as light as a feather......Read more »

Flip-Pal in the UK

Category: General

Hoorah, hooray, my new Flip-Pal finally arrived yesterday! It's taken more than 3 weeks to come and I wouldn't recommend the company I bought it through but I had no other way of getting hold of a Flip-Pal in the UK. At over £140, I don't often indulge myself by paying over the odds but I decided to treat myself just this once and so I went for it. See the comments section in my previous post if you want to know where I ordered the Flip-Pal from.

Tuesday's Tip: Launch of the British Newspaper Archive

Category: General

Today is the launch day for the British Newspaper Archive - www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. The archive will offer access to up to 4 million pages, 65 million stories at launch, fully searchable online, featuring more than 200 newspaper titles (mainly dating from the 19th century) from every part of the UK and Ireland.

It's free to search but you'll need to pay to access the content. A 12 month subscription costs £79.95 for unlimited access. The cost of 3000 credits, valid for 30 days, is £29.95 and 500 credits, valid for 2 days, is £6.95. The following table shows how many credits each type of content costs to view for both Package options.

Type of Scanned PageCredit cost per page30 Day Package
Equivalent Cost per Page
2 Day Package
Equivalent Cost per Page
Published over 107 years ago (B&W)
Pages scanned from microfilm (B&W
5£0.05£0.07
Published over 107 years ago (colour scan)10£0.10£0.14
Published within last 107 years15£0.15£0.21

Be aware that UK citizens may already have free access to some of these publications through their local library membership. This doesn't mean you have to go to the library to view the material, you can do it online at home with your membership card.

[Why Tuesday's Tip? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Those Places Thursday: Thanksgiving 2011 at the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England

Category: General

Today is American Thanksgiving Day, which has strong ties with Plymouth, England. Plymouth is home to the Mayflower Steps from where the Pilgrim Fathers left England aboard the Mayflower to cross the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620.

To celebrate, two ceremonies were held to mark Thanksgiving Day this year, the Flag raising ceremony at the Guildhall and a Thanksgiving ceremony at the Mayflower Steps Memorial. The ceremonies were organised by American citizens living in Plymouth and were attended by the Lord Mayor and local Councillors.

I popped down to the Mayflower Steps and captured parts of the ceremony on my camera. Apologies for the sound quality of the video but it was quite a breezy day. You should be able to make out the sound of the seagulls squawking when the wreath was being layed and I particularly enjoyed the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.


Read more about the Mayflower Steps in my previous post.

[Why Those Places Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Thanksgiving Thursday: WDYTYA US Series 2 - Ashley Judd's Pilgrim ancestor

Category: General

Series 2 of the American 'Who Do You Think You Are' TV show hit our screens last week and last night's episode featured the film star, Ashley Judd. Of course, I know this is old news to American readers but I thought it worth commenting on anyway.

The first part of the program featured an ancestor of Ashley's who was in the American Civil War but it was the second part which most fascinated me. Timed to coincide with Thanksgiving, the program unravelled the life of William Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620.

Ashley travelled to England and visited York, Cambridge and Boston before ending up at Plymouth in Devon. The final scene showed Ashley and her father standing at the Mayflower Steps Memorial on Plymouth's Barbican, a place I'm very familiar with, being a native of Plymouth (see my previous post).

The story was very interesting but I find, in general, the American show skips along at a far greater pace than the English version. There isn't so much time given to the celebrity's musings about what they've discovered so far. Generations are quickly pushed to one side as they rush towards the story they're featuring. I imagine the reason for this is because of the need to build in time to show adverts in the US whereas the BBC has the luxury of being able to dedicate a complete hour to each episode.

So in summary, a great subject for the second show in the US 2nd series but it left me wanting more.

For UK viewers who missed it, the program can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer until 14th December.

[Why Thanksgiving Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Sorting Saturday: Flip-Pal can't sell me their mobile scanner

Category: General

The Flip-Pal Mobile ScannerAmongst the genealogy community I've read so much about the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and I can see the merits in having such a useful little gadget. In fact, I'm sold on having one except, wait for it, you still can't get one in the UK.

I've been in touch with the manufacturer and their response was...

"Unfortunately, we do not yet distribute in UK. Of course we are actively investigating what that would take. It is a matter of both the distribution/support processes as well as regulatory approvals. Currently, even if you could have a friend in the US or Canada order and ship it to you, the warranty is not valid outside of the US."

I replied that I didn't mind about the warranty but didn't know anyone in the US who could help me get hold of a Flip-Pal but the reply was much the same.

How disappointing that after more than a year (perhaps longer) since launch they still haven't come up with a way of sending the Flip-Pal abroad. I can't believe it takes rocket science!

The Flip-Pal Mobile ScannerAh well, I'll have to start looking around for an alternative so I can quickly and easily scan the numerous boxes and albums of photographs which I have in my possession. If anyone can suggest something similar that is available in the UK (not sure the hand-held ones are all that good), please could you let me know, either by leaving a comment or using my contact form.

[Why Sorting Saturday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Find My Past the TV show

Category: General

I can't believe I've overlooked the television show, Find My Past. 4 of the 10 episodes have already been aired but I shall definitely be watching as from tomorrow (Thursday).

I imagine it takes a similar format to Who Do You Think You Are but with ordinary people. Each episode features three members of the public who are connected to each other through an event in history. This week will be about the Mutiny on the Bounty.

The program goes out on Thursdays at 9pm on the Yesterday Channel: Freeview channel 12, Sky 537 and Virgin Media 203. I understand that repeats are aired the next day.
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