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RootsTech: Sharing your family history using multimedia

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

Michael J. Leclerc, chief genealogist at Mocavo, taught family historians how to present their genealogy using multimedia in a workshop Thursday in Salt Lake City.

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There are three main parts to consider when integrating multimedia into family history, said Michael J. Leclerc, chief genealogist at Mocavo, gave at the RootsTech conference Thursday.

His workshop broke down the creation of a multimedia genealogy project into those three main parts — story, content and format.

Story

When creating a multimedia project, Leclerc said, the most important part is deciding which story you want to tell. "The story," he explained, "drives everything else that happens with the project."

Possible stories for a multimedia project might be birthdays, holiday celebrations, family reunions, a biographical life story or a variety of other topics.

Once a topic is decided, a family historian may want to ask several questions. Is there a particular aspect that should be focused on? Are there specific traditions surrounding that subject, such as a favorite family food or a specific location where an event is held? Another way to approach a topic would be to research how ancestors' traditions contrast with present-day circumstances.

Content

When brainstorming potential content for a multimedia story, it is important to determine how the story will be told. Will it be told using family photographs? Video? Audio, such as an oral interview or music?

Image-editing software is an important resource when using photographs. Leclerc discussed several options in his presentation, including Adobe Photoshop, Aperture and simpler software like iPhoto.

Leclerc stressed the importance of considering the software's ease of use and how much time (and money) one wants to invest. He recommended taking a class to learn how to use the software or downloading a trial version before making any expensive purchases.

A simple yet popular way to share images is through social media. Pictures can be shared through a number of sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Pinterest, Imgur and Reddit. Videos can be shared using services like YouTube, Flickr and Vimeo.

Format

The final step discussed in Leclerc's workshop was finding an appropriate format for the work. Multimedia in its final form can be presented in many ways.

Some examples of effective formats might include:

Audio only

Images only

A narrated slideshow

A slideshow with music

A slideshow with music and narration

A narrated video

A video with music

A video with music and narration

"An appropriate format will set the tone for the project and determine which emotions are conveyed," Leclerc said.

Leclerc, who lives in the Boston area, has been working in the genealogy field for more than 25 years.

Email: achristensen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: atownmania

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