Book Review: BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating A Digital Genealogy Scrapbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating A Digital Genealogy Scrapbook
By Barb Groth
89 ppg. Published by BarbwireDigi/Barb Groth

Word has it that there was an emphasis on storytelling at the FGS/RootsTech conference this year.

To assist the genealogist who is ready to publish, there is an abundance of “How-To” guidebooks out there on the market. I’d say it’s a good idea to determine exactly where you’re at in your abilities to publish, then buy a guidebook suited to your immediate needs.

Ms. Groth has published a guide for creating a digital scrapbook, specifically targeted for the users of Adobe Photoshop© Elements. This program is an excellent photo-editing software for many genealogists, most especially for beginners. It’s fairly easy to learn, and does an excellent job of preparing photos for viewing and publication, adequately meeting the needs of most of us. Besides removing red-eye and cropping photos, I use photo-editing software to enhance contrast and modify light values on fuzzy scanned documents for improved readability and clarity. And, most importantly, Elements is affordable.

The first chapters of Creating a Genealogy Digital Scrapbook review the advantages of creating digital scrapbooks over the traditional scrapbook methods, then recommend the basic tools you’ll need: computer, scanner, digital camera, and the like.

Ms. Groth describes the step-by-step process, using Elements, of putting together a digital scrapbook. She suggests her favorite software for template designs, and shares her experience using the templates to fashion attractive and distinctive pages. She describes how to arrange the photos, images of documents, and other items of interest to your story onto the pages, and she offers, if you’re lacking family items to scan into your book, alternate ideas for illustrating your story.

Following chapters describe how to present the text journaling that expands the stories represented by the photos and images, and the use of embellishments to add your personal touch to the book.

Last chapters describe how to create the title page, table of contents, and an index page, and finally, how to save your work for later editing and final publication.

Ms. Groth’s experience with Elements in creating her family scrapbooks may inspire other Elements users to get started, and more significantly, to move along and finally finish their own projects.

BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating A Digital Genealogy Scrapbook may be purchased from Maia’s Genealogy & History Books at as well as from Amazon as a Kindle ebook at


The book sounds interesting. I tried to find the price at Maia’s link and the search gave no results. It’s strange as when I found the BarbWireDigi website it also said it was at Maia’s. I guess no one told Maia.


We just recently visited a relative who had dutifully stored all her family images using American Greetings Creatacard software. That software won’t operate on her new 64-bit laptop, and the PC they’re on is on it’s last legs. We’ve saved them to cd-rom, but those files are effectively lost to us since I am unable to find conversion software for that format.

(I wound up photographing some printouts from the calenders she had created with the software.)

I hope this book advises users to store their images in some of the more universally recognized formats, and only use backups of those files to create the scrapbooks with.


A former historical society director stored several years of scanned images in psp format, which no program on any of our computers can open. Not a fan of proprietary formats.


    *.psp is the format used in Paint Shop Pro. The program is easy to find on the web and often in stores as well, often for less than $80. *.psp format is a format recommended by the programs maker because it allows several do/undo options if you intend to manipulate/restore or otherwise adjust the scanned image. With the program installed on a pc you can open, adjust if necessary, and save the image into one of dozens of formats for printing and etc. For archival purposes choose one of the less lossy formats such as *.tif, or *.png. *.jpg & *.gif are ok for web viewing (in most browsers) only and do use pdf’s for text storage.


    Thank you Carla for your description of Paint Shop Pro. We now prefer tif and jpg formats, but will look for PSP to rescue old scans. IrfanView also worked.


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