Is Scanning Enough? Introducing StoryScans™ Talking Images

Therese McGinnes Austin and John Ralph Austin, abt 1950

Therese McGinnes Austin and John Ralph Austin, abt 1950 – Click to listen to the story behind this photo!

Is Scanning Enough? Introducing StoryScans™ Talking Images

The photo above, of my great-grandparents Therese McGinnes Austin and John Ralph Austin is one of my favorites since it brings back so many memories and family stories. Not only did these two amazing people help raise me in upstate New York, but they encouraged me to trace my family history including records, photos and stories.

So what do you see above? A sunny summer day, an older couple enjoying each other’s company – perhaps taking a break from gardening or doing repair work at home?

What I know about this photo and you don’t, and only because I’ve preserved the family stories both in writing and in my memory, is this:

  • The house is their retirement home in Grahamsville, NY, about 100 miles north of Manhattan where they lived up until the late 1940s.
  • They helped raise 12 grandchildren, including my mother, at this summer place. My mother saw the house, which was built in 1840, and all its outbuildings as a refuge from the craziness of New York City.
  • There used to be a porch over that door in the background . . . until a large stampeding herd of dairy cows came running down the hill and tore it off one afternoon!

Have you ever wished that a photo – digital or print – could just start talking and tell stories? Well now you have that chance with StoryScans talking images with the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Click the image above (or here) and you can listen to a short recorded narration about the photo.

Some StoryScans Talking Images Examples

What about a beloved family recipe written in your grandmother’s handwriting on a recipe card? You know there just has to be a story about the recipe . . . so why not record that story and include it with the scan ? (Click image to play)

StoryScans Recipe Example

“Granny Nina makes the best Cotechino in the world. One Sunday we went to her house for dinner and got there early enough to help her make it. Whenever we go see her, I always bring my Flip-Pal with me, just in case. The first thing I did was use my Flip-Pal to scan Grandma’s recipe. I then used my smart phone to record Grandma talking about her recipe. Whenever my family is in the mood for Italian food, I find Granny’s recipe on my tablet, play back the audio from that afternoon and just smile as I make it myself. It feels like she’s right there in my kitchen making it with me.”

Want to see StoryScans talking images in action? Click here for several examples of photos scanned using the Flip-Pal® mobile scanner using the StoryScans feature.

FREE StoryScans Webinar!

storyscans webinar

What sparked the idea for scanned images that talk? What are some examples? What are the nuts-and-bolts on how to create talking images, and what tools are available?  What should you buy for your particular type of computer or mobile device? Gordon Nuttall, the inventor of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, discusses these questions and more in this 12 minute webinar. Click here to view!

SPECIAL DEAL Flip-Pal® mobile scanner! Get the Flip-Pal® mobile scanner, deluxe carrying case, and a Story Scans Activation Key PLUS a free PDF copy of Preserving Your Family’s Oral History and Stories by Thomas MacEntee, normally $199.97, now just $174.97 PLUS FREE SHIPPING in the continental US! Click here for more information - via Flip-Pal® mobile scanner.


Get the Flip-Pal® mobile scanner, deluxe carrying case, and a Story Scans Activation Key PLUS a free PDF copy of Preserving Your Family’s Oral History and Stories by Thomas MacEntee, normally $199.97, now just $174.97 PLUS FREE SHIPPING in the continental US! Click here for more information. OFFER EXPIRES October 31st!

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy and Coffee Equals a Happy Me!

I just can't do my genealogy research without a cup of coffee - no matter what time of day! Here's a great sale at Starbucks - 30% off PLUS FREE SHIPPING

I don’t know about you, but my coffee addiction is about as bad as my genealogy addiction. In the morning, a cup of java get me going and I’m off doing research online at Ancestry or one of the other genealogy sites. At mid-day I might be out at a local archive or library like The Newberry Library here in Chicago and I’ll need a pick-me-up espresso. And late at night, when the house is quiet, there’s nothing better than a smooth decaf and evidence evaluation.

Save 30% on Starbucks Coffee PLUS FREE SHIPPING -Don't coffee and genealogy just go together? Here is an amazing deal from Starbucks online . . . place your order and use promo code ENJOY30 for 30% off the all products . . .if your order is over $30, you also get FREE SHIPPING (expires Oct 10th) - click here to save - via Starbucks

Save 30% on Starbucks Coffee PLUS FREE SHIPPING Here is an amazing deal from Starbucks online . . . place your order and use promo code ENJOY30 for 30% off the all products . . .if your order is over $30, you also get FREE SHIPPING (expires October 10th) – click here to save – via Starbucks

And while you are shopping, why not click here and shop the Genealogy Gifts Store on Zazzle and get the nifty coffee mug shown above – use promo code VIPOFFER4YOU and save 30% (TODAY ONLY!)

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved. “Reinventing the way you look at ancestry”

23andMe has released a new television ad campaign featuring Mark Wahlberg of Antiques Roadshow - has DNA testing become the new Ouija board? “Reinventing the way you look at ancestry”

Have you noticed more and more commercials on television advertising DNA test kits for genealogy and family history? Besides the plethora of AncestryDNA commercials extoling various finds so earth shattering that you’d trade in your lederhosen for a kilt, there’s a new ad from 23andMe which aired starting this week:

With Mark Wahlberg, of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow fame as host, here is a transcript of the 30-second commercial:

Wahlberg: “When it comes to finding out about family and ancestors, we might look at old portraits and photographs, or sift through historical documents, or even search through public records. But now, there’s another way. 23andMe is reinventing the way you look at your ancestors using the science of genetics: your DNA. With just a small saliva sample, you’ll learn about your ancestry through your 23 pairs of chromosomes that make you who you are. With, you could find out your percentages of the DNA from 31 populations around the world. You can even see how much DNA you have in common with family or family. And, if you want, you can find DNA relatives – those people who share some of your DNA and choose to message them. With 23andMe, you can experience your ancestry in a whole new way.”

Voiceover: “Order your DNA kit today. To receive 23andMe’s ancestry service available now for $99 at[1]

Is a DNA Test Kit Now the Easy Button for Genealogy?

As a genealogist who has been researching ancestors before the advent of the Internet, I have to say it does irk me that the new 23andMe commercial appears to offer up DNA testing as a “substitute” for tried and true methods of research. At least they didn’t state “there’s a better way.” I’m hoping that anyone who takes a DNA test for genealogy research purposes will pursue further research rather than simply enter a revolving door. The tendency is to believe that the DNA test results are an adequate substitute for traditional genealogy research.

What the newcomers won’t realize—or will realize much later— is that there is much more to family history than a new-fangled test. Once people are in this revolving door, we need to make sure they stay and start exploring family stories, photographs and source documents to build a solid genealogical foundation.

And Did You Get the “Dig” at Ancestry?

Look closely at the closing screen on the commercial above? 23andMe clearly states “no subscription fees” to set itself apart from AncestryDNA’s push to cross-sell its customers a subscription to What the entry-level or novice would not know from the commercial is that there are not many genealogy research tools at 23andMe as compared to Ancestry and that 23andMe testers rely solely upon community connections for research. Those of us who’ve been at this for years understand that, yes, Ancestry is using its DNA tests as an entry point for those who are “curious” in the genealogy market; however, an Ancestry subscription can help facilitate a more rewarding experience when it comes to tracing one’s roots.

The Interesting Use of the Term “Ancestry” in DNA Marketing

If you listen closely to the commercial, you will hear the term “ancestry” used several times. As I listened, I was curious as to the status of the Ancestry trademark. Thanks to Dick Eastman, here is some clarification on using the term “ancestry”: AncestryDNA filed a trademark complaint against DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (”DDC”) for using the term “AncestrybyDNA” which it had done since 2002. The Federal District court ruled that since Ancestry entered the DNA market almost ten years later (2012), that is usage was “junior” to that of DDC.[2]

According to the latest quarterly report from dated 30 June 2016, they have filed an appeal and a decision is pending:

“On November 16, 2015, Operations Inc. and DNA, LLC (collectively “Ancestry”) filed a complaint against DNA Diagnostic Center, Inc. (“DDC”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and breach of contract (Case No. 1:15-cv-00737-SSB-SKB). Ancestry’s claims relate to DDC’s unauthorized use of Ancestry’s registered Ancestry and AncestryDNA trademarks in its advertisements for a competing product and its use of close variations of Ancestry’s registered trademarks, which Ancestry contends has created consumer confusion. Ancestry’s claims are also based upon DDC’s breach of a prior agreement with Ancestry that it would cease the allegedly infringing conduct and false advertising. On January 19, 2016, DDC filed its Answer to Ancestry’s Complaint and filed several Counterclaims, including Counterclaims for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and for cancellation of Ancestry’s registered AncestryDNA trademark. DDC’s Counterclaims are based upon its use and registration of the mark AncestryByDNA, notwithstanding Ancestry’s prior use of the Ancestry trademark since 1983. Ancestry moved to dismiss several of DDC’s Counterclaims and that motion to dismiss is pending. On March 7, 2016, DDC also amended its Counterclaims to add a request to cancel a trademark registration Ancestry owns for “Ancestry,” which was issued in 1990. Ancestry has also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on its claims, the preliminary injunction hearing was held on January 29, 2016 before the Magistrate Judge, and DDC has filed an opposition to the motion. On February 16, 2016, the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation granted Ancestry’s motion in part, enjoining DDC from using the trademarks “Ancestry,” “Ancestry DNA” and/or “DNA Ancestry.” On April 25, 2016, the District Judge issued an order reversing the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation and denied the motion for preliminary injunction. On May 6, 2016, Ancestry appealed the District Judge’s order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the appeal is currently pending. While the Company cannot assure the ultimate outcome of this litigation, it does not believe it will be resolved in a manner that would have a material adverse effect on its business.”[3]

In the meantime, it seems to be that everyone is adding, or will soon be adding, the term “ancestry” with “dna” when marketing DNA test kits.


More and more DNA test kit marketing makes the entire process seem like some “parlor game” similar to the Ouija board my family would pull out of the closet (usually after a few adult beverages). A curiosity, fun and good for a few laughs.

Most genealogists and family historians who are serious about research, now that a DNA test kit “adds to” the tried and true methods of research. DNA tests are not “kids’ stuff” or fun and games. An entire sub-industry of the genealogy market has popped up selling everything from test kits, to webinars, to books and other forms of education.

And just like the old Ouija board, those testing purely out of curiosity should make sure they know what they are getting into.  Careful what you ask for!

* * *

Genealogy Bargains has a variety of DNA test kits and educational materials ON SALE with exclusive discounts including 23andme, Family Tree DNA and more. Click here to shop!

©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

[1] 23andMe, “23andMe: Reinventing Ancestry,” video (, accessed 4 October 2016).

[2] Eastman, Dick “ Loses a Trademark Case Against DNA Diagnostics Center for the Marketing of “AncestryByDNA,” 3 May 2016 (, accessed 4 October 2016) citing “Federal Court Upholds DNA Diagnostics Center’s Use of “Ancestry” for DNA Testing and Rules that Caused Marketplace Confusion,” press release by  DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. dated 3 May 2016 (, accessed 4 October 2016).

[3] Ancestry. (2016). Quarterly report filed 29 July 2016 for the period ending 30 June 2016 (, accessed 4 October 2016.