Photography

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/.

Family Buys Hilarious Birthday Card for Grandpa, Finds Out it has an Old Family Photo

Family photos are where you find them!

A 12-year-old in Kansas recently found a hilarious card to give to her grandfather for his 74th birthday. The card had a very old-fashioned family photo on the front, with everyone looking very stern and serious. On top it said, “It’s your birthday!” Her mother also laughed when she saw the card. Then she stopped laughing when she looked closer.

A man in the photo looked a lot like her grandfather and of her great-grandmother. The family gave the card to the 74-year-old man celebrating his birthday. He got all excited as he realized the picture was of his father, his grandmother, and of a number of his other relatives! It was a photo he had never seen before.

Oregon Historical Society Adds Digital Collections

In 2015, the Oregon Historical Society embarked on an ambitious two-year project to build an infrastructure to create, collect, preserve and provide access to digital materials in its vast historic collections. This month, OHS announced a major milestone in this project, with the official launch of OHS Digital Collections.

This new website allows online public access to a rich variety of materials from the Oregon Historical Society’s Research Library, including items from the manuscript, photograph, film and oral history collections. Behind the scenes, these files are safeguarded using a series of digital preservation workflows, systems and storage processes called the OHS Digital Vault.

William Deming Hornaday Photograph Collection is Now Online at the Texas State Archives

William Deming Hornaday (1868-1942) was a journalist and Director of Publicity for the University of Texas. He amassed a collection of about 5,800 items consisting of photographs, photographic postcards, photoengravings and negatives.

This photo of the Alamo is undated but the clothing styles of the people barely discernible in the picture provides some clues.

Photographs from the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Municipal Archives are now Available on Flickr Commons

The Halifax Municipal Archives is a historical research center for the region of Halifax, Canada, which stretches along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast from the rural communities of Ecum Secum and Hubbards to the urban core of Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax.

Focused on the records of city and county governments from 1841 onwards, the Halifax Municipal Archives also has records from families, businesses, and community organizations going back to the 1790s, which complement the municipal government records.

While the Halifax Municipal Archives holds many documents dating back as far as the 1790s, the Halifax Municipal Archives/Flickr Commons web site contains photographs produced by the City of Halifax Works Department during a period of intense urban renewal: 1958-1969. These can be useful if you are researching twentieth-century Nova Scotia ancestry or you simply want to reminisce about the place where you grew up.

Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs

When going through a box of old photographs or viewing the latest digital pictures on your computer, did you ever ask, “I wonder where this photograph was taken?” Now a free software tool can record the exact location of every digital picture in your collection. This includes old family photographs that you have scanned as well as new pictures that you or someone else takes with a digital camera.

This product will not do the detective work for you. You must still find where the picture was taken in the traditional manner. For instance, “Here is Aunt Millie and Uncle Fred at Niagara Falls” or something similar. You then scan the photograph, saving it as a JPEG image. Once the photograph is on your hard drive, you use this small Windows program to embed the longitude and latitude information into the photograph in a hidden area of the image. Once the information is recorded, you and future viewers of the image will wonder no more. Even better, with the appropriate software, you can just click on an icon to display a map that shows the exact location.

Panorado Flyer adds the latitude and longitude to any JPEG image, available to any EXIF (geographic-aware) program for future use. This is possible because Panorado Flyer takes advantage of the fact that JPEG image files can contain supplementary information (so-called Metadata).

The Man who Dresses Up as his Ancestors

Many of us honor our ancestors in many different ways. Peruvian artist and photographer Christian Fuchs is obsessed with his illustrious ancestors and spends months painstakingly recreating portraits of them, posing for them himself whether the ancestors were men or women.

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The walls of his elegant apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Lima’s bohemian Barranco district are covered with paintings of his aristocratic European and Latin American ancestors. But if you look closer, you soon realize that many of the portraits are, in fact, photographs of the 37-year-old himself, dressed up as his relatives. The results are amazing.

Shoebox Turns Your Phone into a Scanner

Shoebox from Ancestry.com turns your iPhone or Android phone into a mobile photo scanner. You can scan your old paper photos and share them with family and friends. Shoebox’s edge detection and perspective correction technology produces accurate images of your photos quickly and accurately. The face detection feature will automatically find your family members so you can tag them in the photo.

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Dates can be manually added to your photos so that the information is recorded for future generations. After you’ve cropped a photo, you will be taken to a “Edit details” page. Use the icons at the bottom to tag family members, date your photo, add a location, and write your own description.

Early Victorian Photos Featured on new Website

William Henry Fox Talbot in 1864

William Henry Fox Talbot in 1864

The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné contains the complete corpus of the works of the Victorian inventor of photography on paper. More than 25,000 known surviving Talbot negatives and prints are now online.

The photographs are mostly from Talbot’s home in Wiltshire home of Lacock Abbey as well as from Oxford, Reading, and York (England) and a few from Paris, all taken from 1839 to 1846. In most cases, these are the only known photographs of that era. It should provide the best available views or life in those areas in the 1840s.

MyHeritage Launches Photo Discoveries™

I saw this demonstrated today at RootsTech. MyHeritage found a picture of my great-uncle. I had never seen a picture of him before. I think this is going to be big. The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

Exclusive feature delights users with photographs of their ancestors and relatives, added to their family tree in one click

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, February 10, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today the launch of Photo Discoveries, an innovative feature which transforms family trees by automatically adding matching historical photos. A Photo Discovery provides users with a set of photographs of ancestors and relatives they may have never seen before, originating in family trees contributed by others. Users can add the photographs to the matching profiles in their family tree, in a single click.

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Layered on top of MyHeritage’s highly accurate Smart Matching™ technology, which locates matching profiles in other family trees, and Instant Discoveries™, which enable users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks, Photo Discoveries identifies the profiles that have no photographs in the user’s family tree and provides photographs of these individuals from matching profiles on other family trees.

How to Digitize Old Photos with Your Android or iPhone Smartphone with PhotoScan

I wrote briefly more than two months ago at https://goo.gl/VxqVlx about the free PhotoScan app from Google. It uses your present cell phone to convert print photographs into high-quality digital images. I wrote:

PhotoScan is a new smartphone app used to “take a picture of your pictures.” That is, it will snap photos of all those old pictures you have stored in photo albums or in Fotomat envelopes. It will then create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction, and smart rotation. Even better, it also automatically recognizes the four corners of the frame and displays circular overlays on each corner of the scanned image. You then point your phone camera at each circle, create a robust scan of the image, and PhotoScan gets to work from there.

I have used PhotoScan a number of times since I wrote the brief article. Now the How-To Geek web site has published a very detailed tutorial and has included lots of pictures showing how to get the most from PhotoScan.

ArkivDigital to Add Millions of Aerial Photographs from all over Sweden

ArkivDigital has acquired several million aerial photos from Svenska Aero-Bilder AB. These will now be digitized and added to ArkivDigital’s online archive. These images will complement the church books, estate inventories, military documents, court books and other archival records that currently exist in ArkivDigital.

“Our goal is to continually add new material and create new services for our customers to help them in their research. These images will complement other records in our archives such as the images of the church records. Through this acquisition, we will have millions of aerial photographs of farms, cottages, villas, petrol stations and much more from the 1950’s to the present day from all over Sweden,” said the company’s CEO, Mikael Karlsson.

You can learn more at https://goo.gl/C7EgYG.

The Best Portable Scanner

The article I published yesterday on Converting My Personal Library to Digital has already generated a number of comments at the end of the article and also private email messages to me. The most common questions are:

“What are your thoughts on the best receipt scanner that I can go between iPhone, iPad and PC?”

and

“What is the best portable scanner for use in libraries or archives where it isn’t convenient to carry a full-sized scanner?

scanner-appMy answer is the same for both questions: “Your present cell phone’s camera.”

Your cell phone probably is also your cheapest solution as most people already own a cell phone with a built-in camera of rather good resolution. That wasn’t true a few years ago when the cell phone cameras were lower resolution and produced somewhat grainy images. However, most of today’s cell phones produce high-quality 8-megapixel or even higher resolution images. My new cell phone has a 12-megapixel, phase detection autofocus and laser detection autofocus camera with f/2.0 aperture. It produces gorgeous images even when used close-up to the document being scanned… uh, captured. Most other cell phones these days have similar specifications or something approaching those specs.

How NOT to Clean a Tombstone for Photography!

Take a look at the picture below. Do you see something wrong with it? Almost every genealogist will cringe when viewing a picture like this one from FindAGrave.com. Someone apparently used a wire brush to make the engravings on the tombstone easier to read. AAARRRGGGGHHH!

sarah_spraker_tombstone

The above photo may be seen at http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=5240794&PIpi=42662882.

Using a wire brush on a tombstone or any other stone memorial causes irreparable damage! In fact, the damage is so severe that most states in the USA and also governments in many other countries have laws prohibiting such actions. Under the laws of many states, unauthorized tampering with or damaging gravestones is a felony.

Black and White Photos Reveal What Life Was Like in England in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

More than 1,200 black and white photos are published for the first time together in the book Lost England 1870-1930. Some of the amazing images show people dealing with the issues we still face today, including flooding in towns and cities. Others show factory workers, some of them children, lined up and operating huge machinery.

steep-steet-and-trenchard-street-in-bristol

The junction of Steep Steet and Trenchard Street in Bristol in 1866.

Google’s new PhotoScan will Scan Your Photos and Automatically Remove Imperfections, No Scanner Needed

PhotoScan is a new smartphone app used to “take a picture of your pictures.” That is, it will snap photos of all those old pictures you have stored in photo albums or in Fotomat envelopes. It will then create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction, and smart rotation. Even better, it also automatically recognizes the four corners of the frame and displays circular overlays on each corner of the scanned image. You then point your phone camera at each circle, create a robust scan of the image, and PhotoScan gets to work from there.

photoscan

Erasing the Locations of Your Family Photographs

In yesterday’s newsletter, I wrote about adding location information to family photographs. (That article is still available at https://goo.gl/g2g2JG.) I also mentioned that “… pictures taken with iPhones and most Android phones already have the longitude and latitude information embedded into the photograph.”

In some cases, you might not want to have location information embedded in a photograph, especially one that is to be shared online. A picture of your children or grandchildren playing at home or in the back yard might be one example. In theory, a pedophile could determine where the children spend their time. Also, you might not want a picture of your expensive new automobile parked in your driveway to be circulated online. An auto thief could easily find where to steal the auto.

If you are a fisherman, you might not want to broadcast to the world the location of your secret fishing spot as detailed in the EXIF information of the photo of you holding up that 6-pound lake trout you just caught!

Luckily, it is easy to erase location information from photographs, should you wish to do so.

A Photographic Archive of 1920s Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland Published Online

Leith is a district to the north of the city of Edinburgh. When local historian Fraser Parkinson was entrusted with a set of photographs showing Leith slums in the inter-war era, he knew they deserved to be shared with a wider audience. The incredible images were produced by the city authorities to show the slums of the old port prior to the ‘Edinburgh (Leith) Improvement Scheme of 1924’, which would see large swathes of the district vanish for good.

leith

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.

amazon_family_vault

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.