OpenSFHistory is an Online Archive of more than 50,000 Historic Images of San Francisco and the Bay Area

OpenSFHistory, an online archive of over 50,000 historic images of San Francisco and the Bay Area, recently launched a project to integrate modern-day S.F. with its historic past. With walking tours halted and most historic sites closed, the folks behind the site are hoping their “guerrilla history posters” will give residents a little entertainment and education.

Church and 22nd as it appeared in June of 1916. The construction of the J-Church line can be seen on the right.

MyHeritage Announces New Colorization Settings for MyHeritage In Color™

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has announced that you can now customize the settings for MyHeritage In Color™ to achieve even better results for your colorized photos. Quoting from the announcement:

MyHeritage In Color™ is an automatic colorization feature that brings your old black and white family photos to life using sophisticated machine learning technology. It has become one of our most popular features recently, with nearly 11 million photos colorized in less than 3 months!

We are pleased to announce that it is now possible to customize the colorization settings of MyHeritage In Color™, to improve its results even further.

The quality of automatic photo colorization depends on many factors, such as the quality of the original photo, its resolution, lighting, contrast, sharpness, and so on. In most cases, MyHeritage In Color™ will produce excellent results. However, in some cases there is room for improvement. Adjusting the settings allows you to fine-tune the colorization process, giving you more control over your final image and resulting in a higher-quality colorized photo that you’ll be more than proud to share.

This beautiful couple, Jacquie and Norman Levy, were photographed together in 1947 in Denver, Colorado in this black-and-white photograph:

Previously Unseen Street Photos of Greater Manchester, England, in the Post World War 2 Decade

Back in 2018, Timepix embarked on digitising a collection of 46,000 previously unseen street photos of Greater Manchester, England, in the post World War 2 decade. The good news is that the collection is finally finished and the watermarked images are free to browse and share at

Main Post Office, Ordnance Survey Revision Point photograph in Greater Manchester

Vivid-Pix Launches “Your City – Your Story” 11 City Tour

The following announcement was written by Vivid-Pix:


Crosses U.S. to Showcase Patented AI Photo & Document Restoration Software and Education Programs for Family Historians, Genealogists, & Hobbyists

Vivid-Pix RESTORE Before & After Photo

Savannah, GA, February 18, 2020 – Vivid-Pix launched a 11 city “Your City – Your Story” U.S. tour to showcase its patented Vivid-Pix RESTORE AI photo and document restoration software that automatically restores treasured memories with just one-click. The Vivid-Pix journey includes the largest family history event in the world, RootsTech, held Feb. 26-29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

MyHeritage in Color™ Goes Viral: Over a Million Photos Already Colorized

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has obviously had great success with the newly-launched service that offers computer-generated color enhancement of old black-and-white photographs. See for the original announcement.

Photographs courtesy of David Allen Lambert

In the first 5 days since the service was launched, more than a million photos have been colorized — and the numbers keep growing. You can read more about the service and also see a number of colorized photos and testimonials published on various social media sites in an article in the MyHeritage Blog at

MyHeritage In Color™: Breakthrough Feature to Colorize Family Photos

Introducing MyHeritage In Color™ (Photo: Business Wire)

Introducing MyHeritage In Color™ (Photo: Business Wire)

Computer-generated color enhancement of old black-and-white photographs is a technology that has been available for some time at rather high prices. Now the same technology has been made at to the public at reasonable prices. That’s reasonable as in FREE.

Yes, that’s right. MyHeritage is offering to create COLOR COPIES of your black-and-white photographs at no charge. Best of all, the change to color is done automatically by computer software. I do not know of any other online genealogy service that has a similar offer.

I have tried the colorization process briefly this morning and am impressed. It allows you to do more than look at old photos — it lets you experience them, creating a deeper connection with your family history than you ever thought possible. I plan to use this process on ALL my old digitized black-and-white photographs.

How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Identify Thousands of Unknown Civil War Soldiers

Norman Spencer Pierce

Another great use of modern technology:

David Morin in Exeter, N.H. owns a collection of more than 260 Civil War military pictures. Until now, many of the men in the photos remained a mystery to him — but in the course of the last year, he identified many of them by using Civil War Photo Sleuth, a website that uses facial recognition technology, a form of artificial intelligence (A.I.), to identify the men in such photos. And in 2020 the site is planning to add a new feature, after a successful test: a way for users to get second opinions on potential photo matches.

“Today history is so much better documented and the chances of things living on are so much greater,” says Morin.

White House Photographer David Kennerly to Keynote RootsTech 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch, the organizers of RootsTech:

RootsTech 2020, the world’s largest family history convention, is pleased to announce David Hume Kennerly, Pulitzer Prize—winning White House photographer, as the featured keynote speaker on Friday, February 27, 2020, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kennerly will share some of his incredible stories as part of RootsTech 2020’s 10th anniversary celebrating genealogy and technology innovation.

David Hume Kennerly has a rich legacy of impressive contributions to photography and history. His photos have appeared on more than 50 major magazine covers. He has photographed 10 U.S. presidents and served as a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine and was a contributing photographer for Time and Life magazines. American Photo magazine named Kennerly “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography,” and Washingtonian magazine called Kennerly one of the 50 most important journalists in Washington, D.C.

My Photos from RootsTech/London

I wrote about the RootsTech/London conference in another article I published today at I took so many photographs, however, that I decided to post them here in a separate article.  You will notice there are a lot of photos! Hopefully, these will give you a “flavour” of what it was like at the conference.
Yes, there were crowds! However, the ExCeL Center is so large that it never seemed crowded.

Nick Barratt hosted the Keynote Speeches every day

The “Other Conference” Held at the ExCel London this Weekend

I have written extensively about the RootsTech/London conference held this past weekend. I mentioned the “ExCeL Exhibition Centre is capable of holding two or more large events simultaneously. Indeed that happened this past week.”

The attendees from both conferences often were walking in the same hallways and eating in the same restaurants within the exhibition centre. I haven’t seen these people at the other genealogy conferences I have attended. I thought I would show a few pictures from “the other conference.”

Comic Con London was full of special and celebrity guests from stars from your favourite films to game experts and voice over actors. It is a place to meet these special guests who are heavily involved in the entertainment industry that help craft it and produce it.

Attendees at Comic Con conferences often dress in costumes depicting their favorite video games, films, and comic book characters. Oh, excuse me. That last one should be called graphic novels, not comic books.

In any case, here are a few pictures I took in the halls of the ExCel London this weekend:

Thousands of Free Historic Photographs Online

Sometimes you can find valuable gems in unexpected places. One example is the UnSplash web site.

According to Wikipedia:

“Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims over 110,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 9 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 810,000 photos.[1] Unsplash has been cited as one of the world’s leading photography websites by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNET, Medium and The Next Web.”

I am amazed at the many photos about all sort of topics that may be found on Best of all, you may download and use the photos for all sorts of purposes free of charge.

For instance, while looking for photos I could use in this genealogy newsletter, I went to and entered a search for “Ellis Island.”

How to Digitize and Archive Your Entire Family Photo Collection

From an article in the reddit web site:

“Four years ago I decided that I should try and digitally archive my family’s photo collection dating from mid-nineteenth century up to today. It was a painstaking process but I learnt a lot doing it which may be useful for anyone else looking to attempt something similar. I used an iMac for this process and IMO it is the best tool for the job, but I am sure something similar could be done on another system.

“The vast majority of photos between 1850 and 2000 were still in a physical format, either prints or slides. And the photos since 2000 are largely digital already. I decided to start with the digital photos as I could make a big impact relatively quickly. My original photos were in folders like “Helen wedding”, “Scotland Holiday 2010”. I thought long and hard about how to organise them coming up with all sorts of incredibly specific ways of doing it before hitting on the solution; put them all in one folder. All 26,000 of them. So I went from having photos in a couple of hundred different folders to just one.”

Another quote from later in the article:

Nearly 37,000 Historic Photos from Central Illinois, Many Never Before Published, are now Available to Everyone with an Internet Connection, Digitally Restored and Preserved

Thanks to the McLean County Museum of History, which took on more than a million Pantagraph negatives several years ago and, with public and private partners, turned them from decaying celluloid to pristine digital files that can be viewed at the Illinois Digital Archives’s web site:

In the early 1930s, Pantagraph staffers started making 4-by-5-inch negatives with Speed Graphic cameras and “kept basically everything,” said Photo Editor David Proeber. That started the archive that the museum is now digitizing, beginning with 36,641 photos from 1933 to 1944.

Civilian Conservation Corps recruits pose outside the Bloomington Post Office on March 29, 1934. This photo and 37,000 others were restored from negatives by McLean County Museum of History and partners.


Click on the above image to view a larger version

That process took seven months but produced a database identifying more than 5,500 individual people across 22 Illinois counties.

Hong Kong’s Packed “Vertical Graveyards” on Hillsides

With space at a premium in the densely packed city, Hong Kong cemeteries are built into the surrounding mountains in an almost vertical fashion. Many of these terraced burial sites were built in the 1980s as a last-ditch effort to create more space in a city that is running out of places to bury the dead.

In fact, the government highly encourages cremation for these reasons, with 90% of the deceased in Hong Kong taking that path in 2013. Still, as Chinese customs call for loved ones to be buried close to their native land, people are desperate to ensure their family members have a proper resting place.

Footage With Authentic Audio From 1928 England

Old black-and-white movies from the 1920s are not that rare. However, almost all of them are silent movies. A recently discovered 90-year-old movie with matching audio recorded in real time? That’s truly special.

You can see a bit of life in England in the nearly 48-minute movie filmed in 1928 at or click on the video above.

Google Photos just got an Awesome Feature that makes it a Must-Have for Android, iPhone, and iPad Devices

This article isn’t about genealogy but it is about a new software tool that will be valuable for genealogists and for millions of others.

From an article by Chris Smith in the web site:

“Google Photos is easily one of the best apps you could have installed on your phone, especially if it’s an Android device, and especially a specific type of Android that comes with unlimited storage. Even if you prefer a different cloud or storage device for your photos, you should still consider getting the Google Photos app on your Android or iPhone right now, because the service is about to get a super convenient feature.

“That’s optical character recognition (OCR), a feature that allows Google to read the text in photos and turn it into text that you can search for, and even copy and paste into documents. That’s a handy feature to have on a phone, especially if you find yourself taking lots of photos of things that contain plenty of text that you’d want to be able to access later.”

Genealogy Sleuthing: How to Date Old Family Photos – Part II

Last week, I published a brief article about Genealogy Sleuthing: How to Date Old Family Photos that simply pointed to an article in the Legacy Tree Genealogists’ blog, entitled Genealogy Sleuthing: How to Date Old Family Photos – Part I. If you read the article and enjoyed it, I am sure that you ill also want to know that Part II of the article has now been published at

If you missed Part I, you can start there at

Genealogy Sleuthing: How to Date Old Family Photos

From part one of a two part series of sharing tips on how to date and identify old family photos, published on the Legacy Tree Genealogists’ blog:

“Many family historians have a collection of unidentified old family photos they’re not sure what to do with–but can’t bear to throw out. In this article, we’ll share tips for helping you accurately date old family photos.

Vivid-Pix Announces Adding Metadata Zoom/Transcribe Feature to its RESTORE Software

I have written several times about the very powerful Vivid-Pix image editor software. (See for a list of my earlier articles about Vivid-Pix.) Vivid-Pix RESTORE provides fast and easy ways to improve your images and add metadata that adheres to international standards. The software will improve the color, contrast, and clarity of your images. In announcing the latest version, Rick Voight, CEO of Vivid-Pix, stated:

“Up until now, this has been a tedious and difficult chore. With a couple of mouse-clicks, users can improve document legibility, zoom into the image to read important facts, notate these facts into the image metadata, tag key words for searching, and save this improved image quickly and easily.”

Here is the official announcement written by Vivid-Pix:

Vivid-Pix announces adding metadata zoom/transcribe feature to its RESTORE software at Allen County Public Library

Vivid-Pix launches update at largest public library genealogy center in America

Alpharetta, Ga. and Ft. Wayne, Ind. – Vivid-Pix, the inventor of easy-to-use image-improvement software, announced the latest Vivid-Pix RESTORE software enhancement – Zoom/Transcribe – will be launched July 9, at the Allen County Public Library, home to the largest genealogy center in a public library in America.

See Long Hidden Historic Photos of the Gritty, Compelling Lives of Tough Maine Fishermen

The Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine recently finished preserving, scanning and cataloging National Fisherman magazine’s massive photographic archive. The images previously were stuffed into filing cabinets at the publication’s Portland office for decades. Now, every image is online, in a searchable database, for the whole world to see for free.

“The broad ranging archive reveals the compelling, gritty world of commercial fishing. The collection of prints and negatives originally accompanied stories and advertisements. They show emerging technology, as well as everyday fisherfolk hauling nets, processing the catch, repairing trawlers, building boats and setting Coast Guard buoys.”