Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Genealogy Journeys Sponsors at Jamboree, Burbank, CA, 31 May - 2 June 2018

How exciting to see the following folks and their businesses in the Jamboree exhibit hall in Burbank, California, 31 May – 2 June 2018 . . . stop by and tell them “Genealogy Journeys” sent you!

A Court Research/GeneaCreations, tables 412-413

DNA Central, Blaine Bettinger at the Genealogy Authors Table, table 311

Genlighten, table 118

Southern California Genealogical Society, foyer

And, of course, Genealogy Journeys, table 103 (stop by to see all the information on our other sponsors . . . lots of great information to be obtained!)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Meet our 2018 Sponsor: Vivid-Pix

This Spring, Sara Cochran had a chance to ask Rick Voight of Vivid-Pix some questions about the company and its products. This is Vivid-Pix’s first year as a Genealogy Journeys sponsor and we are pleased to welcome the business to our Gena and Jean Blog.

SARA: I’m excited to have a chance to get to know Rick Voight, of Vivid-Pix today! Rick,
I hope you’ll allow me to start by welcoming you as a sponsor of Genealogy Journeys!
Genealogists tend to have a real soft spot for photographs, so I’m sure many of our readers are
eager to learn more about Vivid-Pix and the services you offer.  
But first, tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to start Vivid-Pix?

RICK: Hi Sara (and Jean), it’s our pleasure to be a part of Genealogy Journeys!  
Yes, I have a soft spot for photos as well – in fact all the members of our team do.
 All of us have been involved in photography for many decades each.
This includes the fields of science, software development, professional photography,
marketing, and sales.
S: What a great beginning! There are many companies out there that offer digital restoration
and editing options.  What makes Vivid-Pix unique?
R: Terrific question. There are various softwares on the market, but we decided to create
“you press the button, we do the rest,” extremely easy and intuitive software.  
Our patented process analyzes every photo and applies the correction to improve each
particular photo – this is quite unique. We then provide easy-to-use sliders to fine-tune if desired.  
Randy holds over 150 patents in color and image science. Ken, is a software developer
and accomplished professional photographer. And I’ve been developing and marketing
photo solutions since the beginning of digital (and before).
S:  While browsing your website, I noticed that you have partnered with Flip-Pal, providing
clients with an easy and convenient way to scan their photos. I have already started
scanning the family collection, as have some of our readers, so I think we’d all like to know
if your restoration software works on photos even if they weren’t scanned with a Flip-Pal?
R: Yes, our RESTORE software improves any JPEG or TIFF photo, whether from Flip-Pal
or any other means.  We partnered with Flip-Pal to create a reasonably priced solution
that met a very broad range of needs: scanning any size photo, even in photo albums;
improving scanned color prints and slides, black & white, and sepia; and then actually
recording a voice story that attaches to the photo to save and share. Here are some visuals
of what I am talking about:

S: Since you do have the Flip-Pal Bundle on the website, is it safe to say that your software
can improve the quality our collections of older, badly faded photos, as well as photos which
were taken underwater?  Any tips for people who fall into this category to ensure we see the
best possible results?
R:  We’ve been developing and selling software for over 5 years and have sold our SCUBA
improvement software in over 100 countries.  Due to this technology, people asked if we
could improve old, faded photos. We decided to tackle the challenge and RESTORE
Picture-Fix software is the result.

S: Since Genealogy Journeys is on a cruise, one our group might be tempted to pick up an
underwater camera and go scuba diving while we are away, now that they have a way to
ensure they will have beautiful photos!  Which software package would you recommend to
these folks, who will almost certainly have older photos as well as new underwater photos to
restore and improve?
R:  That would be terrific if we can inspire folks to go scuba diving – it’s an amazingly beautiful
world that I’ve been enjoying for over 40 years.  If a photo was taken underwater, Vivid-Pix
LAND & SEA SCUBA should be used – with new or old photos; improving underwater photos
is a unique system . . . as is improving old “topside” photos – where Vivid-Pix RESTORE
should be used.

LS Plus Logo
S:   Sounds like you’ve created a one-stop shop for scanning and restoring our photos, no
matter where or when they were taken! I find that the most rewarding part of working with
my family photos is sharing them with others.  What options does Vivid-Pix offer users to help
them share their memories?
R: Thank you. Yes, we’ve tried to provide software that helps folks improve their most treasured
memories.  We offer the printing of these photos through our printing service: Having spent many years in the photo printing world, we’ve developed
the capabilities to provide the best quality prints and photo gifts from land, sea, and old photos as well.
S: I noticed that your Flip-Pal bundle includes Story Scan.  Could you tell us more about that service?
R: A picture says a thousand words, but sometimes those words are really important – for
example, to explain who was in the photo, the relation to others, the story behind the photo,
and even the excitement.  StoryScan fulfills this need with recorded audio that is combined with
the photograph. We feel this fills an important family history need. In my family lineage, my
mother knows many more people than I do. At some time, hopefully many years from now, that
knowledge will probably be lost; but StoryScan allows the story and knowledge to live on.
S: Is there anything else you would like to add?
R: I guess the only thing I’d like to add is Family History is so important and the photos that
make up our story will provide more than a snapshot of our lives.  They provide a chronology
and history of those who came before us – and to those who will come after us. As we transition
from analog (printed) to digital photography, it is extremely important we prepare for the future
with Scanning, Restoring, Recording, and Sharing our memories.  Please start . . . and we’d
love to be a part:

Click the Vivid-Pix logo to the right to access their full website. I think Sara and Rick did a good job of letting all of us know that there are other options out there. Check out the videos and the Blog that can be found at the website <>

Monday, May 14, 2018

Genealogy Journey's Podcast #52: Railroads

Railway Station-Stanmore. NSW Archives via Flickr
Podcast #52 is about railroads. Gena and Jean talk about railroads and their history. Do you have railroading ancestors? Gena has 4 generations of  railroad employees in her family tree.



Barnhart, Robert K. (Ed.) Chambers Dictionary of Etymology. New York: Chambers, 2003.

Funk, Charles Earle. Heavens to Betsy & Other Curious Sayings. New York: Harper & Row, 1955.

Garrison, Webb B. Why You Say it: The Fascinating Stories Behind Over 700 Everyday Words and Phrases. New York: Abingdon Press, 1955.

Hendrickson, Robert. The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Rev. & Expanded Ed. New York: Checkmark Books, 1997, 2000.

Holt, Alfred. Phrases and Word Origins: A Study of Familiar Expressions. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1961.

Mordock, John, & Korach, Myron. Common Phrases and Where They Came From. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2001.

Morris, William, & Morris, Mary. Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.


Basic history
John F. Stover, The Routledge Historical Atlas of the American Railroads, New York: Routledge, 1999.

--Jean Wilcox Hibben

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Meet our 2018 Sponsor: Linda's Orchard

Recently, our partner, Sara Cochran, had a chance to interview Linda Okazaki, with Linda' Orchard, to learn about her business. Linda is a first-time sponsor for the Genealogy Journeys Cruises and has a unique company and service that is very specialized. Perhaps your needs will correspond with her services or perhaps you know of someone who can benefit from these. Either way, check out their "conversation" below:

QUESTION: Linda, Welcome to Genealogy Journeys! We are thrilled to have you as a sponsor and are excited to have an opportunity to get to know you a little better.  When did you first become interested in family history?

ANSWER: I first became interested in family history when my second-grader had to create a family tree and I didn’t know the names of all my great grandparents. Winning a Broderbund Family Tree Maker helped kick-start my new interest. That was 1997 or 1998.

QUESTION: I haven’t met too many people that specialize in Japanese, or Japanese-American Genealogy. How did you come to be interested in this particular area of research?

ANSWER: My husband was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Japanese-American father. Ted (hubby) and his brother were born stateless, not Japanese, not American. They grew up on an air force base and were granted U.S. citizenship when they turned 21. I wanted to know more about this situation, which was related to the laws of the time and their ancestral history in the internment camps.

QUESTION: Our readers come from a variety of backgrounds, and it seems every group has interesting “quirks” in the records that can make researching a real challenge or a real joy.  Assuming that researching Japanese and Japanese-American individuals is no different, would you be able to share a few examples that you might have come across?  

ANSWER: There are countless stories of joy and of tragedy. The experience of Japanese Americans in the internment camps was a tragedy, but the records are a genealogical gold mine. It seems that the worse the experience, the more prolific the records. Uncovering these records is an emotional experience for family members.
Asian exclusion laws, including alien land laws, made life very challenging for the Japanese immigrants. I'm currently researching a fellow who immigrated first to Sandy, Utah, then moved to Colorado in the 1920s where he was able to buy a ranch. There were no alien land laws in Colorado, so his experience was vastly different from the Japanese Americans on the west coast.
From 1910-1940, Asian immigrants to San Francisco were “processed” through Angel Island. Sometimes called the Ellis Island of the west, it was also called the Guardian of the Western Gate, with the intent to limit Asian immigration. About 10,000 picture brides came through the island. Not all of those files survive, but the ones that do are held at the National Archives in San Bruno. The photographs are remarkable.  Can you imagine finding a photo of your ancestors along with the transcript from the interrogation and perhaps a marriage certificate? Below is a photo from the case file of Kane and Kinusaku Mineta, the parents of politician Norm Mineta.

QUESTION: The profile on your Blog mentions you are a fourth-generation San Franciscan, which probably means that your personal research was affected by the infamous 1906 quake.  Would you be willing to share a short success story of working around the records lost as a result of that disaster?

ANSWER: One set of 2nd great grandparents immigrated to “the City” in 1867. Not only did the 1906 earthquake destroy their records (land, vital, court, etc), their home, their business, these ancestors also changed their names due to their nefarious behavior in Australia. City directories and newspapers from both the U.S and Australia, as well as Y-DNA, cracked that case, connecting the family to descendants in Australia and proving this line back to the 1700’s in England. I also used the book, Raking the Ashes by Nancy Peterson, as a resource for pre-1906 San Francisco research. The book is also useful for learning work-arounds for any location which suffered record loss.

QUESTION: I admit, I asked that last question partly because we have readers from all over the world, and there are some who have California roots, even though they may live elsewhere.  Do you ever take on research requests from individuals seeking their non-Japanese ancestors from the San Francisco area?

ANSWER: I really enjoy researching those with California ancestry but have had a full client-load of Japanese Americans for the past few years. Maybe I’ll have an opportunity to take those research requests in the future.

QUESTION:  When a client comes to you with a genealogical dilemma, asking to hire you, what are some of the first things you tell the person about your services, approach to the work, etc?

ANSWER: I like to create a collaborative relationship with my clients. Before I take on a project, I meet with the client in person or remotely. It might be described as a pro-bono consultation. This gives us a chance to determine if we will be a good fit for each other. I assess the expectations of the client, and the client also assesses me. I explain what I can do, but more importantly, what I cannot do. Sometimes the client wants me to do all of the research, other times the client wants to learn how to do the research themselves. If we come to an agreement, I create a contract. I always ask the client if I can include findings or samples of documents in my lectures. 

QUESTION: I’m sure some of our readers would like to know how to get in touch with you. Aside from your blog at, how might they get in touch? Or is that the best way to reach you?

ANSWER: The best way to reach me is by email: or

QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like to add?

ANSWER: I especially enjoy teaching others about Japanese ancestry. This includes Japanese Americans as well as fellow genealogists. As our country becomes more diverse and ethnically mixed, more genealogists will encounter individuals with Japanese roots.
One more thing, the Nichi Bei Foundation is an organization which promotes cultural and educational experiences for the Japanese American community. In October, they host a pilgrimage. This year, on October 13, they will again host a pilgrimage to Angel Island. I have been part of the pilgrimage planning committee for the past four years. Volunteers from the California Genealogical Society provide 1:1 consultations during the pilgrimage, helping Japanese Americans to discover their ancestral roots. Here is a link from the 2015 pilgrimage.