Seeking AV Digitization Equipment

Giants is currently working on setting up a media digitization station for members to digitize their VHS, Hi8, digital8, etc videos. We hope to preserve important video for our community and for local families on a large server that we hope to make accessible to our community for genealogical and historical purposes over the internet. Specifically, we need a VHS player with s-video, component, and RCA out or even better firewire or HDMI out (if they even make these). Secondly, we could use 2-3 flatscreen monitors and perhaps a computer that has firewire/1394 in and an Esata port. Finally, we could use a small business server with expandable/swappable hard drives that could hold many terabytes of info.

IT Blog

Giants of the Earth is excited by the power that computer technology brings for storing, editing, and sharing older community videos. While and provide a great framework for uploading your ancestral images, they currently do not have the storage space to upload all your high definition videos to.

Giants is seriously considering providing a digitization station for Giants of the Earth members at our Heritage Center. This might be one or two stations with a VHS VCR, and one in which people can attach their own video cameras in VCR mode, whether they be digital 8, hi8, or something else.  Because demand is likely to be high for these stations, we may need to develop at first a policy in which those videos most related to the community have digitization preference. These include videos which have community events, interviews with senior citizens, trips to Norwegian family farms, important speeches and sermons, etc. In addition, pre-1995 videos that are community related are of particular importance. These are degrading quickly as the years pass and must be digitized to prevent them from degrading to the point of not being watchable.

We are currently deliberating how we might store the digitized data, and while we will certainly return the original tapes, whether or not we can initially afford to make a double density DVD copy of every video that gets brought in. Currently, Windows Movie Maker allows for very high resolution digitization, resulting in the use of 13 megabytes per hour of video. At that rate, one family that brings in 19 hours of videos could quickly fill up 1/2 TB of space (using RAID storage). Currently, the price of a terabyte of space if we went with an external hard drive is a little over $100. Thus, if we figured that we had about 40 families and that we would need to have additional space for edited projects for public Spring Grove movies that would be displayed at the Spring Grove Cinema, one could imagine that within two years we could fill up a server with expandable and hot swappable drives sufficient eventually to hold 40 TB of community videos. Alternative ideas would be to buy online storage space, but the limiting agent there is uploading, downloading, and editing, since even with a high speed connections, 13 GB per hour equals 3.6 MB/s–something that would use up much of the bandwidth for the center. Further, editing online would be limited to crawl rates unless we compressed and degraded the quality of the videos, which would be undesirable if we ever wanted to view them in higher definition.

In contrast to slow online storage, having a media uploading and editing station within the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center building would be lightning fast.  If we had an external hard drive or server with eSata connection we would get 200MB/s interaction with the media and not use up any Internet bandwidth at all. We could make videos available over the Internet to families, but this would probably require a passwords for everyone, so we would have to look into IT software which would do the work for us while maintaining people’s privacy. A starting 7.5 TB server currently runs about $2200. I have included a link below to one that could possibly suit our needs and be hot swappable so that we could expand later as we needed more drives with minimal additional expenses or changes. If families wanted to buy their own swappable drives that they could take home with them for private storage, that might help defer the cost and provide people with a sense that they had more control over what they decided to share. Again, the fastest type of connection is eSATA, so getting hardware with this connection speeds things up a lot. Personally, I would imagine that many people’s videos would contain scenes of public importance interspersed with private videos that they might not want to share. Thus, the best way for us to collect these videos would be for residents to bring in pre-made digitized media on an external hard drive that contained only those clips (at the best resolution possible) that they wanted to share with our public. Alternatively, with a server, they might be able to edit their videos at home and upload them to the server space. This might require investment in the services of an IT professional or perhaps user friendly software that does the work for us.

Finally, feel free to comment on the risks associated with different types of storage during unforeseen disasters. For example, although RAID technology helps allay fears of drive failure cauusing a loss of data, do we need to back up everything additionally online in case there is a fire? Or do we need to physically remove a backup drive/drives from the building every night? What about lightning strikes to the building we are in or other power surges? What kind of surge protectors will we need? Also include more remote concerns and affix links to help people understand new potential threats such as electromagnetic pulse weapons, computer viruses, spam, etc.

Speaker April 27th!

Foreword from  

The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America  


by Scott Wolter  

who will be speaking Spring Grove on April 27, 2010-for details click here  

or for a printable flyer, select one of the options below: 



Kensington Runestone shown to be older than 200 years old

History needs to be rewritten.   


The North American Continent is awash with evidence of pre-Columbian visitors who left their imprint on the landscape and their writing on stones and boulders as markers for those who followed.  Ogham and Runic inscriptions tell a story of Celtic and Viking penetration into the very hinterland of the New World (North and South America).  


These early seafarers must have felt very much at home as they found one watercourse leading into another with a never-ending string of lakes replete with fish and waterfowl to meet their inner needs.  They had found a Paradise – a Garden of Eden – which was rich in wild grapes, blueberries and huckleberries, and which was so teeming with game that the word wild seemed to be singularly inappropriate to describe animals who had still to learn to fear the sound of gun-shot.  


What happened to bring an end to this idyllic scene? Historians have been singularly slow in finding an answer or, when they can’t explain the presence of runic inscriptions, they describe them as ‘fakes’ which, as will be seen, is a convenient excuse to hide their own ignorance.  Fortunately, there are those who have been prepared to challenge such arbitrary findings so that we might have a better understanding of those who left their imprint on pre-Columbian America.  One such man is Scott Wolter, whose new book The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America, is a masterly combination of science and logic, as well as being a gripping detective story which leaves no stone unturned (literally as well as figuratively).   


Scott’s book is guaranteed to make us take a fresh look at the rich evidence which lies beneath our feet and which, even when discovered, has been brutally pushed aside by the academic establishment for no better reason than to protect the ‘status quo’.   


I have read Scott’s book. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the perseverance and determination which he has shown in bringing an important part of America’s early history to light. In his book, he quotes an inscription which is to be found in the Sinclair family chapel at Rosslyn in Scotland. In ends with the words: “The truth conquers all”. There can be no better summary to describe Scott’s richly revealing and richly rewarding manuscript. It deserves to be read.  

                                                                   – Niven Sinclair  


Niven Sinclair, born in Scotland in 1924, is chairman of the Friends of Rosslyn (the chapel featured in the film The Da Vinci Code), Founder of the Niven Sinclair Library and Study Centre at Noss Head, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland). Mr. Sinclair is a businessman, filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and has traveled throughout the world. He served as a Major in the Seaforth Highlanders and Kings African Rifles in Ethiopia and Burma during World War II. Prior to his work with the BBC, he farmed in Tanganyika for thirty years.   



Please, don’t throw away those old images in your attic. Even if you don’t know, right now, who they are, WE WILL HELP YOU IDENTIFY AND PRESERVE THEM, at some point.

Georgia Rosendahl shares her great knowledge of Spring Grove's family tree with others at Spring Grove's Uffda Fest.

Ideally, you have a scanner and you can scan the images and submit them to this site in the Blog. Alternatively, you can become a member of and preserve these photos on that site.

Eventually, we are working to create a physical place where you can bring your old images and scan them. We are hoping to have an individual there who will be of assistance to you in preserving and classifying those images which we hope to use in the creation of a Spring Grove Bygdebok, or book about our community and all the families and individuals who have ever been a part of our community.

“Genealogy for Beginners” class


“Genealogy for Beginners” class offered through Spring Grove Community Education

 When: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 2010 6:00 – 7:30

Topics: March 2 – What does Giants of the Earth have to offer genealogists and non-genealogists?

March 9 – How do I add my family story to the Spring Grove Collaborative Database and to my family history?

March 16 – What other resources are out there and how can I take advantage of the subscribership sources as well was the free sources?

March 23 – What can i do now to further my search for my family history?

Fee: $5 for Giants of the Earth members $10 for nonmembers

Site: Spring Grove High School Computer labs located on the lowest floor of the high school on the south end of the building.

Spring Grove has been a starting point for Norwegian immigrants in America. Local genealogists have compiled a database of more than 30,000 names using as a host. These records represent decades of research. Giants of the Earth is committed to providing help to genealogists of all skill levels. These sessions will teach how to use this database and well as how to contribute to the database. Our local writing guru Mary Deters will be available to assist those who wish to write their family stories on March 9th. Attendees will have time to explore various family trees from as well as free genealogy resources on the net.

Questions about the class may be directed to Bill Fried at or by calling 507 498-5611 after 5:00 pm.