I'm looking for Arthur Rogers Nickerson, a career U.S. Navy officer born in Massachusetts. In Ancestry.com, I click on "Search Historical Records" on his page, then choose "Newspapers and Periodicals" from the left column to narrow the results, and click on an item of interest. This is what I get:
The search terms are highlighted. This can be especially helpful with small items, which can be devilishly hard to find on a full page of newsprint. There's a way around that to remove the highlighting from your final product. The navigation buttons are highlighted in red: click the arrow to go forward one page, then back one, and you get the same page without the highlighting.
To fit the article better on the screen rotate 90 degrees. (This matters more with articles that are a little longer than this one.)
We're now ready for the screen capture. On my PC laptop, screen capture is Alt-Fn-PrntScrn/F11; on the desktop, it's just Alt-PrntScrn. This saves whatever shows on your screen (or the current window) to your clipboard. Macs have a wider array of options.
Now it's time to open the file in PhotoShop.
Open the program, then Ctrl-N to launch a new file, which opens this dialog screen. If you've got a screen capture in your clipboard, this will default to that image size and no changes are required. I find it helpful to name my file now, but that is optional.
Once you click OK, you'll get a blank file template. Ctrl-V will paste the screenshot (clipboard contents) in that frame. Please note that I have customized my PhotoShop which is also an older version of the program, CS3. Your workspace will look different, but all the functions are still there.
On the left side of my workspace is a vertical bar known as the toolbox. Many of its functions also have keyboard shortcuts. The name of each can be found by hovering the cursor over its icon; many have more than one option, which can be seen and selected by clicking on the icon. First thing I'm going to do is to crop away some of the parts I don't need. Letter "c" is the shortcut for that. Click & drag to define the area you want to keep. You can adjust if you don't get it right on the first go, and use the arrow keys to move it.
I've left some room at the top so I can add information about the newspaper the clipping is from. I use the erase tool, keyboard shortcut "E", to clear that part of the image away. You can adjust the size of the eraser and the hardness of its edge by right clicking over the image. I go for 100% - the hardest edge - for this task. If you hold down the shift key while erasing, it will move in a straight line either vertical or horizontal.
The article says Mrs. Nickerson died on "Tuesday" and that she was born "in this city." You need to know the newspaper, day of the week and date to get all possible data points. I'm going to add that information to this clipping with the Text Tool. Note: Keyboard shortcuts for other tools don't work while you're using the Text Tool.
First we'll get ready by looking at the character palette (see right). To find it, click on Window
on the Menu Bar at the top of the screen and then choose Character
on the drop down menu.
There's a lot of options in that little box. You can pick a font, and set its size and color. You can, amongst other things, change the spacing between letters, stretch or compress each letter's height or width, the spacing between lines of text.
You can change your text after entering using the character palette. Just highlight whatever text you want to change, and set the attributes. That's all it takes.
So, now it's time to enter the text. To do so, just click on the toolbar, select at the top of the screen what kind of justification you want (I'm going for centered because the name of the newspaper is long so I'm putting two lines of text.)
With the date (including the day of the week) and name of the paper, we've got exact information about a variety of dates and relationships in the story. It's time to rotate the image back to the correct vertical orientation. For that, it's Image > Rotate Canvas > 90o CCW
It's a little bigger than is needed for easy viewing, so I'll size it down using Image > Image Size
(Alt-Ctrl-I). It gives you a pop-up box. I filled in 500 for height. If you click Constrain Proportions
, the width will be automatically scaled.
The screen capture is almost done now. There is one more thing: The background behind the text is a light gray, rather than white. And I've seen online newspaper clippings where they background is a distracting darker or brighter hue. For this, an adjustment layer is the thing: Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels
. On a non-complex file like this one, naming the layer doesn't matter much, nor does it matter much to click Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask
. But it's something I almost always do; it isolates the effect of the adjustment layer to that one layer it's attached to.
Once you click OK, you get this box to do your settings. It shows the distribution of pixel brightness from pure white to full black. The slider circled in red is at the white
end of the spectrum. The green one at the opposite end of the spectrum is for black. You can see how almost all of the pixels in this image are white or nearly white, or else black. The Preview box, toggled off and on, can show you the effect of whatever adjustments you've made.
In this case, sliding the right triangle to the left, and the green ones to the right sharpens up the contrast of the clipping.
And here's the result:
Now, all that's left is to save the file. For that, it's File > Save for Web and Devices
, which brings up a screen full of options. The essential part is to the right:
The two essential settings are circled in red. The one set at GIF could also be set as JPEG, PNG, WBMP. GIF is a good setting for this essentially two-tone black and white image. It makes small files, and the Daily Kos image library's automatic compression isn't so harsh as it is with JPEG images. For a photograph, either B&W or color, JPEG will be the better option. (Daily Kos compression is less harsh with a PNG file, but those are also very big files, and rarely the best choice.) Since this is only B&W, 16 colors is plenty enough. You can change the image size - pixel dimensions - if you click on the tab circled in green. The size the file will be when saved is shown circled in turquoise.
When all is done, you have a sourced file with a variety of genealogical information. It can be attached to all the relevant persons in your database, printed out (you'll want a larger file size for that), or stored by whatever file system you employ for such information. Since I use Ancestry.com, I add the files to the media gallery for each person the clipping provides information on. It's worth remembering, too, that just because you find something on the web now, that's no guarantee it will stay there permanently. A screen shot means you have the contained information for keeps.