Use Amazon Family Vault to Share Your UNLIMITED Photo Storage With up to Five People

This isn’t genealogy-related but I suspect it will be popular with genealogists and a few million other people as well: save and share an UNLIMITED number of photographs. Anyone in the United States with an Amazon Prime subscription can now upload an unlimited number of pictures to Amazon Prime Photos at NO EXTRA CHARGE.


I guess it isn’t really free because the service requires a (paid) Amazon Prime account. However, anyone who is a Prime member can store unlimited photos at no extra charge. As a Prime member, you also receive FREE Two-Day shipping (or better) on most Amazon orders, and exclusive access to movies, music and Kindle books, again at no extra charge.

Rare Photographs at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture

sgt_josiah_whiteAt the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, a small object is getting a lot of attention. An album of Civil War photos portraying 17 men of Company G, 14th Regiment, United States Colored Troops was a gift from the descendants of Captain William A. Prickitt, the white officer commanding those black troops, and the person most likely responsible for writing the names of the men in the album. These names make the album quite rare, since few of the 200,000 African American soldiers who served in the Union Army have been identified in photographs.

Amazon Photo Printing Service

amazon_printsThis isn’t a genealogy story but I am aware that many genealogists also like to digitize and duplicate old family photos. Therefore, I suspect many genealogists will be interested in Amazon’s recently announced photo printing service. You upload your digital images online to Amazon’s servers and then the company prints them on very high quality photo printers and mails the printed photos to you in old-fashioned postal mail. The result is much higher quality photos than anything you could ever print at home on standard consumer-quality inkjet printers. Amazon Prints is available only to Amazon Prime and Amazon Drive customers.

The big news is that Amazon Prints photo printing service has pricing that is much cheaper than its major competitors: Shutterfly, Snapfish or your local CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, or other stores. For instance, Amazon’s photo printing fees are 55% cheaper than Shutterfly. The new pricing is so aggressive that Shutterfly’s stock dropped by more than 12% in the NASDAQ stock exchange in one day following Amazon’s announcement.

Burbank in Focus: a Digital Archive of Historic Burbank, California Photos

The Burbank Public Library has a new online web site called Burbank in Focus. It contains hundreds of hundreds of historic photographs saved by the library and by the public. Whether you are interested in browsing by collection, searching for photos of a particular person or event, or even searching by location, this is the place to celebrate the Media Capital of the World and the people who have made it great.

Burbank's First Two-Story Office Building 1911

Burbank’s First Two-Story Office Building 1911

Burbank in Focus is available at

Repairing Old Family Photos with Photoshop

For genealogists who have old family photographs, a new article in the MakeUseOf web site should be required reading. The article by Harry Guinness says:

“Everyone has old family photos lying around. If they’ve been sitting in a box for a few decades, though, they’ll be discolored, faded, and probably scratched or bent. With Photoshop, you can make them look as good as new.

Family having a picnic in the woods

Collage, The London Picture Map

Launched last week, Collage, The London Picture Map allows you to trace London’s visual history street by street. With more than 150,000 pictures mapped across the city, the digital photo archive of the city of London is a huge resource showing what London looked like over the years. Yes, if you have London ancestors, it is likely that you can now see what they saw. The project is the result of two full years of digitizing and mapping images from the London Metropolitan Archive and the Guildhall Art Gallery, which together possess the largest collection of London images in the world.

Whitechapel High Street- looking east about 1890

Whitechapel High Street- looking east about 1890

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Do you have old black-and-white family photographs? A new service on Algorithmia uses a deep learning algorithm to add color to the photos. Yes, it works. The colors may not be perfect but they are almost always better than black-and-white. The service is easy to use and, best of all, is available FREE of charge.


For instance, here is one well-known black-and-white on the left and a computer-enhanced color version on the right. Algorithmia can do the same for your photographs.

Does This Photograph Belong to Your Family?


A woman rummaging through a box of post cards at an Olympia, Washington, flea market found a one-of-a-kind treasure Sunday: a beaming young couple captured in a black-and-white photograph. Kresta Duncan said she has no idea who it belongs to, but would love to reunite the photo with its rightful owners.

Photographs of Men Who Fought in the Revolutionary War

LemuelCookYes, you read that right. Photographs of Americans who fought in the Revolution are exceptionally rare because few of the Patriots of 1775-1783 lived until the dawn of practical photography in the early 1840s.

Utah-based journalist Joe Baumam spent three decades researching and compiling the images. These early photographs – known as daguerreotypes – are exceptionally rare camera-original, fully-identified photographs of veterans of the War for Independence – the war that established the United States.

You can see the photographs in an article in The Daily Mail at

If one of them happens to be your ancestor, right-click on the image to save a family heirloom!

Save, Organize, and Share Your Digital Photographs Forever

With a free account on, you can edit, organize, store, and even (optionally) share your photos, videos, and more in the cloud. You can create and print photo books as well as convert your old media to new digital formats. With a paid account, your content will always be safe in your permanent digital home at Forever. All of this is possible because of the Forever Guarantee and the company’s easy-to-use web, mobile, and desktop apps.


Actually, you can find a number of online services that will help you file, sort, organize, and save your digital photographs. What sets Forever apart from its competitors is the capability for a paid account to keep your precious memories protected for generations. Yes, the company promises to keep your items for your lifetime plus 100 years. To back up that claim, the company has a rather impressive plan to make sure your items remain available; their stated goal is to keep your content safe and available with the company’s patented vault technology.

US Women in World War I in Photographs

The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has released an online collection of photographs showing the role of women in World War I and their impact on the Women’s Rights Movement of the early 20th century.


As stated in NARA’s Unwritten Records Blog:

At the outset of World War I in 1914 women were not allowed to serve in the military. They were not even allowed to vote nationwide. Prior to the U.S. entering the war, most women were relegated to domestic life as wives or servants. Some worked in textile manufacturing, retail, government, and education. Many wanted more and saw the war as an opportunity for women to prove their worth. The suffragist movement was in full swing as tensions with Germany escalated following the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania in 1915 and the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram in 1917. The United States entered the war in 1917, immediately drafting nearly 3 million men into military service and drawing unprecedented numbers of women into the workforce.

Women on the Home Front

Historians Searching for Information About Victorian Criminals

Historians have been handed hundreds of mugshots of Victorian criminals. Now, armed only with the pictures and names, they are searching for the stories behind the stares, putting a crime to the face. Each image shows the arrested individual with their name written in chalk either on a board held in front of them or, in later years, on a slate above their heads. The later pictures also feature the arrested with hands raised to the chest to capture any identifying marks, tattoos or missing digits, and a mirror to reflect their profile. However, none of the entries give any identifying information about the people in the photographs nor is there any information about their crimes.

Wait a minute, is that great-great-uncle Harry on the left in that picture?

170,000 Great Depression Images Are Now Online

In the 1930s, the U.S. government sent photographers to all the states to capture America “at her most vulnerable.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s team wanted a record of what was going on — and images of real lives and struggles to help rally support for his New Deal policies. Over 170,000 images were taken.

Yale University and the Library of Congress have just made the entire collection available online on a site called Photogrammar at

I found the interactive map at Photogrammar to be very useful. The map plots the approximately 90,000 photographs that have geographical information. (Not all of the 170,000 photos taken included geographical information so only those with the information could be indexed.) The interactive map allows the user to customize the search by photographer, date, and place.

The picture shown above is from Fort Kent, Maine. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Billy the Kid Photograph Purchased for $2, Should Sell for $5 Million

Check your attic. You might have a valuable photograph there amongst the old photos you haven’t looked at in ages. A rare photo of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, purchased in 2010 in a bunch of old photos for $2, could now fetch $5 million.

Billy the Kid is shown on the left in the above photograph taken in 1878.

Multiple Redundant Backup is the Best Way to Safeguard Your Photo Collection

I have written numerous times about families who lost their photo collections due to a disaster. That includes physical photographs as well as digital images. Yet when I read about the recent loss suffered by Oakland, California photographer Jennifer Little, I gasped.

Jennifer had 21 hard drives — containing some 70,000 photos spanning more than 10 years — stolen from her apartment. Gone. She had no other backups. Her multiple hard drives WERE her backups. Unfortunately, they all were kept at the same location and all disappeared at the same time. She had no off-site backups.

1906-1912: Ellis Island Portraits

Ellis Island in New York harbor processed more than 12 million immigrants before being closed in 1954. At the station’s peak in 1907, more than one million immigrants passed through in a single year, with 3,000 to 5,000 entering every day, mostly from Europe and its periphery.

Dutch Woman

Augustus Francis Sherman was the chief registry clerk at Ellis Island, and an avid amateur photographer. He had special access to the immigrants who were temporarily detained while waiting on escorts, money or travel tickets. Sherman persuaded many of these immigrants to pose for his camera, encouraging them to put on their finest clothes or national dress. A collection of his photographs are now available online at A larger collection can be seen in person at the New York Public Library.

Preserving Memories for Decades to Come

Generally speaking, people take and share far more photos today than at any other point in history. It’s only natural to want to capture as many precious memories as possible. Digital content is fragile. Every computer user has experienced the sting of losing photographs due to changing phones, accidental deletion or a computer failure.

Rare African American Family Photo Albums Give Glimpse of 19th Century Albany, NY

The Arabella Chapman Project provides two photo albums assembled by an African American woman and her family in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The pages are filled with layers of family, community, and politics. Assembled in Albany, NY and North Adams, MA — tintype, carte-de-visite, and snap shot images — Arabella Chapman’s albums tell histories both intimate and epic.

Black Americans, including Arabella’s family and neighbors, sat for and then assembled their own images, crafting counter-narratives that challenged a rising tide of racism. At the same time, in their images are a politics of pleasure. From careful sartorial choices in formal portraits to rare scenes of leisure, the Chapman albums provide us an intimate glimpse into how black Americans embodied the lived pleasure of everyday life.

Hands on with Google Photos using Unlimited Storage

Have a lot of photographs? If so, would you want to save backup copies of them in the cloud? Would you like to optionally share some of those photographs with friends and family? How about saving as many photos and videos as you wish without ever running out of space? How does the price tag of FREE for unlimited storage sound?

I wrote about the brand-new Google Photos service in the June 1, 2015 newsletter. (See The service was so new that I only had a chance to use it briefly before writing the article. I have now uploaded more than 34,000 photos from my cell phone and from my desktop computer’s hard drive, photos I have saved over the years. The collection includes more than 100 photos taken during my recent trip to Jerusalem. I thought I would write about my experiences.

What Your Town Looked Like on Penny Postcards

Years ago, postcards cost 1¢ to mail within the U.S. Postage was temporarily raised to 2¢ from 1917 to 1919 to cover the cost of World War I and the increase was rescinded after the War. In 1952, the required postage was raised to two cents and has slowly escalated ever since. Today, mailing a postcard cost 34¢. (Reference:

Over the years, many postcards were printed with view of a town or other area, then sold in stores within that town or area. Many of these postcards have been preserved and often provide an interesting glimpse of what life was like in “the good old days.” Possibly your ancestors saw these same views in person.