Photography

Russia in Color: Photos of Life Before the Revolution

The photographs of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky provide a fascinating study of the Russian Empire from 1909 to 1915. They will be especially interesting with ancestors from these paces as the photos show the every-day lives of the Russians. Unlike most photographs of that period, Prokudin-Gorsky’s photos are in color.

Russian settlers in what is now Azerbaijan, 1910

As stated on the web site displaying the photographs:

(+) Embedding EXIF Data in Photographs

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Congratulations if you have scanned your old family photos and documents or invested in a digital camera to preserve today’s pictures for future family historians. Before resting on your laurels, take a moment to recall all the old photos you’ve come across that you wish had labels describing the people, places, or events pictured. Your digital images have a built-in capability to create such labels – descriptions that won’t get separated from their subjects – with ease that would amaze our forebears. With today’s image files, what you see is only part of what you get! Let’s take a look “behind the scenes” of your digital photos.

All sorts of information can be stored inside the digital file itself, such as:

  • Date and time information. Many digital cameras will print this on the picture, but they also can save it with the image file.
  • Camera settings. This includes static information such as the camera model and make, and information that varies with each image such as orientation, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, metering mode, and ISO speed information.
  • A thumbnail for previewing the picture on the camera’s LCD screen, in file managers, and in photo manipulation software.
  • Descriptions and copyright information.
  • Longitude and latitude where the picture was taken
  • Any information about the picture or its subject that you choose to add, using one of the free or cheap photo editing packages I’ll describe in a bit.

This extra information is called metadata. Simply put, metadata is “data about data;” that is, it describes the context, content, and structure of a file.

X-ray Beam Illuminates Long-Forgotten Faces on Damaged Daguerreotypes

Anyone who wishes to restore or repair old photographs has a new tool available for use. As long as it is a Daguerreotype, experts at the Canadian Light Source, a high-energy X-ray facility in Saskatchewan, have discovered how to restore important details from daguerreotypes that have been written off as beyond recovery.

On the left is the image as it appears to the eye. On the right is the X-ray scan that reveals where mercury was deposited on the metal plate when the daguerreotype was originally produced.

Plains to Peaks Collective Shares Historic Collections from Colorado and Wyoming with the Digital Public Library of America

From the Colorado Digital Library:

The Colorado State Library is happy to announce that historic collections from Colorado and Wyoming are now part of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The DPLA website (dp.la) is a free portal that allows visitors to discover over 21 million unique items from across the United States and then go directly to the digital collections held at the home institution. Visit the Colorado and Wyoming collections in the DPLA here.

The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad’s roundhouse and shops in Salida, Colorado. Click on the above image to view a larger version.

The Plains to Peaks Collective (PPC), the Colorado-Wyoming Service Hub of the DPLA, is a collaboration between the Colorado State Library and the Wyoming State Library that brings together descriptive information about collection material held by our libraries, archives, and museums, and makes it freely available to the world. Through the PPC institutions can now share their unique digital collections with a wider national audience of avid researchers, genealogists, students, teachers and history buffs. It is our hope that every institution in Colorado and Wyoming has the opportunity to participate in the DPLA through the PPC.

Families Gather to Recreate 1939 Photo of Ancestors

You might want to try this at your next family reunion. It would be a great way to remember your deceased relatives.

In the fall of 1939, five friends, “The Boys of Magnolia” gathered for a picture on the corner of Main St. in Magnolia, Ohio. The photo consisted of two sets of brothers and a close friend, Tony Tozzi, Daniel (Chappy) Cascioli, Mike Costello, Mike Tozzi and Lawrence Cascioli. The photograph was taken shortly before each of them was sent off to fight in World War II.

In the fall of 2017, another five men, all relatives of “the Boys of Magnolia” gathered at the same corner of Main St. in Magnolia, to pose for the recreation of a picture their ancestors had taken in 1939. The men in the modern photograph all dressed in clothing similar to what their older relatives had worn in the 1939 photo.

You can see the two photographs and read about the ten men in them in an article in the Free Press-Standard web site at: http://freepressstandard.com/families-gather-to-recreate-1939-photo-of-ancestors/.

Your Ancestors: the Swimsuit Edition

If Sports Illustrated can have an annual Swimsuit Edition, why can’t a genealogy blog or web site do the same?

Today’s picture of bathing beauties comes from the Shorpy.com web site, a site that specializes in displaying high-resolution images of old photographs. Entitled Bathing at York Beach, Maine, this photograph was taken around 1906.

Click on the above image to view a high-resolution version.

A New Database with Pictures of 18th and 19th Century Ireland is Launched

From an article by Micheál Ó Maoileoin in the Galway Daily:

“How was Ireland depicted in illustrations produced by travellers from 1680 to 1860? A new database of images drawn from travel accounts answers this question.

“Based on years of research by a group of investigators at NUI Galway led by Professor Jane Conroy, Ireland Illustrated is now available to view online.”

“Ireland Illustrated, 1680-1860, is a database of over 500 images of Ireland – woodcuts, water colours, engravings and other illustrations – with related text, drawn from more than 50 manuscript and printed works, and highlighting several neglected or rarely accessible sources.

Idaho Transportation Department launches ‘Travel Back through Idaho History’ Photo Collection

If you have ancestors or other relatives in Idaho in the past 100 years, you may be interested in a newly-released collection of photographs from the state. There are so many historical photos that really belong to the people. All these state agencies, we collect these over the years and they reflect our history,” ITD spokesperson Reed Hollinshead said.

The ITD launched its 30,000-photo archive on May 1, making historic photos of the state of Idaho available to the public.

New Brunswick Provincial Archives is Offering to Restore Photos and Documents Damaged by the Recent Flooding

The Provincial Archives in New Brunswick is offering to help residents restore or copy heirloom photos and documents damaged by recent flooding. Items to be considered for restoration include diaries, letters, maps, architectural drawings and photos. Photos can also be printed on paper, tin or glass.

The province says repairs of single documents will be done free of charge. Larger document recovery projects will be given quotes on a case-by-case basis.

Automobiles in Old Family Photographs

Sometimes we take certain things for granted. We often don’t stop to realize what life was like for our ancestors. We may have skills that our ancestor did not possess. Recently I stumbled across some old photographs that made me stop and think.

In 1905 the automobile was a novelty. Very few people had ever driven one, much less owned one. After looking at a couple of photographs, I realized that most people did not know how to drive in those days.

Today most adults are familiar with driving automobiles. However, 100 or more years ago, that was not true. In fact, the idea of someone driving an automobile was so unique that commercial photographers of the time often took advantage of the automobile to sell more photographs.

How can I Store my Digital Photos Forever?

Sure, it is easy to create digital photographs with today’s smartphones and digital cameras. But how do you keep them forever so that future generations may view them?

Actually, the process is simple and is well described in an article by Jack Schofield in The Guardian web site at http://bit.ly/2EGtWJL.

Schofield writes:

Snapshot of Ireland a Century Ago: an Online Photographic Archive

If you want to see what your Irish ancestors saw 100 years ago, you might want to look at the new Snapshot of Ireland on Ancestry.co.uk. The digitally restored black-and-white photographs date as far back as the Land War of the late 1800s. The historical prints and photographs include more than 120 images taken in Ireland, offering an insight into daily life in Irish cities, towns, villages and countryside between the late 1800s and the 1950s.

The collection is part of Ancestry’s UK Historical Photographs and Prints 1704-1989 set, which features more than 40,000 photographs. The full collection of photographs and prints is available to view online at ancestry.co.uk, and will be available without charge over Easter weekend.

Details may be found in the IrishTimes web site at: http://bit.ly/2GbTCn7.

Tens of Thousands of Unseen Post-War Images of Manchester, England, Unveiled Online for First Time

A new historical photo mapping web app Timepix.uk was launched in Manchester this week, giving the public the chance to explore how their streets looked in yesteryear. Pictures taken in the late 1940s to early 1950s were the equivalent of today’s Google Street View and are a fascinating insight into how Greater Manchester looked back then. They show surveyors from Ordnance Survey (OS) marking out Revision Points to map the city, but also capture faces of many unknown young children – who would be in their sixties or seventies today.

The pictures are offered for sale. You can view them online at no charge although the online versions have obvious watermarks embedded in them. The watermarks do not appear in the purchased hard copy versions.

You can read more in the Ordnance Survey web site at http://bit.ly/2IsJIuX while the images are available at https://www.timepix.uk/#/map.

You Never Know What You Will Find on eBay!

For years I have used a service of eBay that allows me to specify search terms for items being sold. I can specify the search terms once, and then eBay sends me an email notice whenever any new item is added to the online auction service with words in the item’s listing that match my search terms. I started doing that perhaps ten years ago or longer, and occasionally it has paid off.

I have often found items for sale that I would not have known about otherwise without manually checking every few days. I have purchased a number of “good finds” over the years, including old family history books, some CD-ROM disks containing genealogy information and county histories, and more. This week, it paid off big time!

Postmortem Photography

It sounds ghoulish but many of our ancestors accepted the idea as normal: photographing the corpses of family members shortly after their death. During the Victorian era, such photographs were meant to be happy reminders of the life of the deceased person for their families. Death, and personally dealing with death, was prevalent throughout the entire world as epidemics would come quickly and kill quickly. Postmortem photographs not only helped in the grieving process, but often represented the only visual remembrance of the deceased and were among a family’s most precious possessions. These were often called “Memento Mori Photography.” Memento mori is Latin for “remember that you have to die.”

 

Mother and deceased child

North Carolina’s Brimley Collection of Photographs is now Available Online

The Brimley Collection is one of the oldest and most interesting photograph collections in the State Archives of North Carolina. The photographs in this collection document many aspects of life in the state between the late 19th and mid-20th century and include people both common and renowned, scenes of cities and towns, rural landscapes and farms, agricultural activities and products of every variety found in North Carolina, industrial concerns, and much much more.

The Brimley Collection is named for Herbert Hutchinson Brimley, the first leader of The North Carolina State Museum of Natural History. That museum was at the time an all-encompassing state museum that included history, art, and science. It later evolved and morphed into separate entities – the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the State Archives of North Carolina, the NC Museum of History, and the NC Museum of Art – all of which operate under an umbrella governance and exist today.

You Can Help Fund the Work of Raleigh’s Photo History Detective

The State Archives of North Carolina collects photographs as an important and popular part of the Archives’ mission. Proper identification is key to their accessibility and usefulness. A significant number of the photographs in the collections are only marginally labeled, and some are completely unknown. The State Archives is raising money via an IndieGoGo campaign to fund the work of local historian Karl Larson, who is instrumental in the research and identification of the unidentified photographs in the holdings.

As of the time these words are being written, $7,267 has been raised from concerned citizens such as yourself. That is 81% of $9,000 goal.

Floridians: Share Your Digital Photos of Hurricane Irma

NOTE: This has nothing to do with today’s genealogy. However, Florida residents are invited to help preserve the history of the state and to record events that perhaps will benefit future historians and possibly even future genealogists.

The Florida State Archives is asking residents to preserve hurricane history by donating your digital images of preparation, damage, volunteers, shelters, recovery and other effects of Hurricane Irma. The donated photographs will join past photos of Camille, Andrew, and Charley as one of many hurricanes that have shaped Florida’s history. Some of the photographs donated to the State Archives will appear on Florida Memory.

Details may be found in the Florida Memory web site at: http://bit.ly/2wLmnCs.

The History Of Westborough – a CrowdSourced Collection of Historical Digital Photographs

The folks at the Westborough (Massachusetts) Public Library had a wonderful idea: let’s ask local residents to bring in their old photographs taken around town over the years and scan them. Then we will add them to Digital Commonwealth to keep these images safe for years to come.

Old Ford Truck – Click on the above image to view a larger version

The project apparently has had great success.

The idea of the program was to bring out the history of Westborough that is hidden away in attics, basements, or in plain sight, and make it available to the world.

Other Westborough Public Library collections available in the Digital Commonwealth include historical town administrative records, documents relating to Westborough’s participation in the American Revolution, records from the Lyman State Reform School, and a World War II Memorial Scrapbook.

Wouldn’t this be a great project for YOUR town’s library or historical society or some other civic-minded group?

Westborough vs Shrewsbury – 1939 – Click on the above image to view a larger version

City of Tampa, Florida, to Release Two Newly Digitized Historic Photo Collections

Here is a great online resource for anyone interested in the history of Tampa, Florida: As part of its annual Archives Awareness Week, the City of Tampa’s Archives and Records Division will be releasing two recently digitized historic photographic collections to the public. These photo collections have never been shown beyond the City of Tampa’s archives, and were not previously available digitally. Similar to the iconic Burgert Brothers photographic collection, these collections will serve as an important historical resource to both citizens and researchers. In collaboration with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, the photographic collections will be available online and can be accessed on this web site: http://digitalcollections.hcplc.org/digital/.