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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, July 06, 2014
Old Family Photos on Cloth
Posted by Maureen

Jeff Fee wrote and asked if I'd ever seen a photograph like this before—it's on silk. 

The answer is yes. I actually own one, of my paternal grandmother. Based on my grandmother's birth year of 1892 and her approximate age in the photo, it was made circa 1910. It's a head and shoulders view of her in a gorgeous dress. 

The picture Jeff submitted is a full view of a man in work clothes:

FeeSilk .jpg

Photographs on silk debuted in 1879, when a silk manufacturer in Lyon, France, coated silk with light-sensitive salts of silver. According to the Oregon State Journal dated January 18, 1879, the firm displayed various sized silk pictures including copies of "old master" paintings.

Photographic fads took many forms from those little gem tintypes no larger than a thumbnail (thus giving them a nickname) to these lovely images on cloth. You're probably familiar with photographs on metal (daguerreotypes and tintypes), glass ambrotypes and of course, paper-based prints. Photo chemicals applied to a variety of surfaces could result in an image. For instance, I own a set of china teacups with a little girl's picture on them.  In Jeff's case, his photo is on a piece of silk.

Jeff has questions relating to his picture:
  • Who's depicted?  The man is Jeff's great grandfather, John Henry Ruble (1863-1940) He lived in Wood County, West Virginia before moving to Haydenville, Ohio in the 1920s.
His work clothes could date from the late  19th century to the early 20th. He wears a collared work shirt, rolled-up jeans and a hat to shield his face from the sun
If you examine the left side of the picture, there seems to be someone standing there. This suggests that this picture is a copy of a section of a larger photograph.  It's possible that this is a work photo where he stood with several co-workers.  he worked at a sawmill circa 1900.
  • Why was it made? It's 5 inches by 14 inches in size—not a standard size for a picture. It's difficult to know why this image was copied. Jeff surmised that perhaps it was for the man's funeral. That's possible. It's also possible it was made as a 25th anniversary present in 1913 
  • When was it made? Images on silk were commonly available in the early 20th century, which is likely when this photograph was produced. 
  • Who made it? Many of Jeff's relatives frequented Loomis Photographers in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  It's possible the studio advertised this photographic method in newspapers or a city directory. A local historical society may have other examples of this type of picture.

Jeff's image already has started to fade. If this is an important part of his family heritage, it would be worth seeking out a professional photo conservator with experience working with images on cloth to see if the fading can be stabilized. An online directory of conservators is on the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | occupational | preserving photos | unusual surfaces
    Sunday, July 06, 2014 3:33:01 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, November 24, 2013
    Photo Storytelling on the Holidays
    Posted by Maureen

    This week I took another look at all my family photos and was suddenly struck by a realization. My family takes pictures in the spring and summer. There are few images of autumn and fewer still of winter snow.  We're warm weather photographers. 

    Documenting This Year's Thanksgiving/Hanukkah

    This year I aim to turn that tide by taking a few pictures. In documenting the present I'm preserving it for future generations.  While I'll be busy in the kitchen, I'm going to assign a shot list to someone in the family. I'll start with the following:
    •  A picture of family members arriving
    • An image of the kitchen preparations.
    • The family gathered around the turkey and trimmings
    • Pictures of attendees in small groups--parents, children and cousins.

    I'm thinking of buying a prop or two for fun.  How about a Pilgrim style hat or bonnet?  I might be able to encourage everyone to pose wearing it. Then again...maybe not.

    • What are you going to take pictures of this Thanksgiving/Hanukkah? 

    Documenting the Past

    A shared meal is a great time to share stories and photo. Armed with my iPad "Voice Recorder" app, I'm going to record those tales. (Of course, it's possible to do this recording using my phone too, but I like my iPad.)

    I'm thinking of decorating the table with baby or childhood photos of the family in attendance.  This ought to get them talking <smile>. 

    Photo storytelling starts with questions. Back when I was in elementary school, I had an English teacher who drilled into us the five basic questions to use to build a story: who, what, where, when and how.  

    I'll bring out some other old family photos and see what happens.

    • Do you have any tips for getting family members to share family history? 

    I'll let you know what happens.  

    Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Hanukkah!


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • group photos | holiday | preserving photos
    Sunday, November 24, 2013 7:44:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, October 28, 2013
    Photo Reunions after Hurricane Sandy
    Posted by Maureen

    A year ago, Hurricane Sandy stormed into the East Coast of the United States destroying property and taking lives. Generations of family photographs were blown or washed out of destroyed and damaged houses. In the midst of the aftermath and chaos, one woman began focusing on images she found scattered along the shoreline and roads of her community of Union Beach, NJ.

    Jeannette von Houten found thousands of images scattered all over the place covered in mud and mold. This rescue effort took time and money. Personal historian Mary Danielsen pitched in to help and the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Co. provided scanners.

    A conservator colleague of mine suggested the team wear gloves for handling the very dirty images and masks to prevent them from inhaling chemicals and mold. Instead of distilled water, cold tap water sufficed to wash the images. This is a delicate task. Immersion in water could destroy the pictures, but with the damage they'd already experienced due to exposure to the elements and water-borne debris, it was worth the risk. Do not attempt this type of rescue without professional advice.

    Today, Jeannette and her cousin Joseph Larnaitis continue the task. Out of the approximately 25,000 images found, about 5,000 have been saved. Anyone who lost pictures during the storm should consult the project website, Union Beach Memories.

    union beach.jpg

    Not all of the photos are online. The Union Beach Library has 60 binders of images waiting to be claimed.

    According to Jeannette, many families are just finding out about this photo rescue. Let's help her reconnect families with their photos by spreading the word.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:
  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • Hurricane Sandy | Photo-sharing sites | preserving photos | Reunions
    Monday, October 28, 2013 2:43:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, March 11, 2013
    Smartphone Camera Tip: Viewing Old Negatives
    Posted by Maureen

    I'm a relatively new smartphone user. While I was waiting for an upgrade, lots of folks got iPhones and other types of smartphones. A few months ago, I finally qualified and picked up a Samsung Galaxy.  

    Some attendees to last month's Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show brought negatives with them for us to decipher. James Morley, of What's That Picture showed me a neat trick with the camera function. If you find yourself facing a batch of negatives at a relative's house and own a smart phone, try the following:
    • Select your camera app
    • Go to settings. On my phone it looks like a gear.
    • Select Effects
    • Select Negative

    Point your camera at the negative and take a picture. It becomes a positive image. This was taken quickly and it works for identification purposes.  It's only a low-resolution picture. Although this isn't a high quality picture worth printing, it's a great way to preview those negatives.

    editWDYTYA negative.jpg

    My apologies to the woman who brought in this glass negative—I can't find your name in my London notes. Thank you for letting me use your picture to illustrate this article.



    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • negatives | preserving photos | unusual photos
    Monday, March 11, 2013 4:02:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 31, 2012
    Twelve Months of the Photo Detective
    Posted by Maureen

    It's time to look back at the year. Every week I write a Photo Detective blog post—that's 52 columns in 12 months. It's a lot of free photographic advice and tips. Here are my month-by-month 2012 favorites.

    January
    Last New Year's I offered advice on sharing images online, tackled a photo mystery about the identity of the mother in a picture, and discussed a Scottish picture.

    February
    I got into the planning for my trip to WDYTYA Live in London by comparing British and American fashion. 

    March
    Hat's off to spring! Last March I featured toppers for men, graduation caps, and talked about the relationships between hairstyles and hat design. If you want to learn more about hats or hair, my books, Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900 and Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900, will help.

    April
    The whole month of April focused on identifying photographs of children. Study the clues to add names to those pictures of tykes.

    May
    A trip to the National Genealogical Society inspired a series of columns on the Jeffers Family photo.

    June
    You can view the entries in the Family Tree Magazine photo contest, study a photo of ancestral blue jeans or be awed by the images of wheat threshing.

    July
    With the world watching the Olympics, I deciphered the clues in a picture from the 1908 Olympics.

    August
    I revealed the winner of the Family Tree Magazine Photo Contest. That photo mystery now appears in my new book, The Family Photo Detective. It's now available in the ShopFamilyTree.com store.

    Have you considered the relationship between photography and genealogy? I took a look at the types of records that help solve a picture mystery.

    September
    This month was all about preservation. A badly damaged image encouraged me to talk about ways to save family pictures. There is more information on storage and labeling images in Preserving Your Family Photographs.

    October
    A picture of a giant mechanical grasshopper appeared in my Photo Detective column in Family Tree Magazine, and some readers stepped forward to tell the story of their ancestors' fascination with creating these creatures.

    I shared the story of a woman who found a family picture after three decades and explained how old-time photographers could alter pictures long before the development of Photoshop.

    November
    Have you ever posed for a multi-generation photo? It's not a new phenomena. Our ancestors did, too. Mary Lutz sent me several images of her family. It turned into a series on identifying who's who in a group picture.

    December
    I love snapshots! They are spontaneous and often capture bits of everyday life. Follow this series on a picture of a man standing in his backyard.

    Thank you for reading this column and for submitting your family photos. If you'd like to participate, there is a link, "How to Submit Your Photo," in the left-hand margin. I can't wait to see your pictures!

    Happy New Year!


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1860s photos | 1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | candid photos | cased images | children | Civil War | group photos | hairstyles | hats | holiday | house/building photos | photo backgrounds | preserving photos | props in photos | ShopFamilyTree.com
    Monday, December 31, 2012 4:07:01 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 24, 2012
    Christmas Trees and Family History
    Posted by Maureen

    Every year I photograph our Christmas Tree. I know I'm not alone. So why do I do it?  It captures a piece of my family history.  A Christmas Tree is a holiday symbol but it's also a family history treasure. 

    Each one of the ornaments on my tree has a memory attached to it. From the yarn ornaments I made for my first tree to the ones passed down from my mother to me. I haven't recorded the history of those ornaments yet, but I should. About a week ago, the New York Times featured a story about a woman who'd collected three thousand ornaments.  They represent her life story.

    In 1900 the Wright brothers--Orville and Wilbur--photographed their family tree.

    wrighttree1900edit.jpg

    This image lets us peek into a turn of the century holiday. The neatly wrapped presents under the tree and a little girls doll in a stroller.
    wrighttreegifts.jpg

    The ornaments are a mix of hand-made and store bought.  There is no artificial trim visible, instead someone patiently strung popcorn to decorate the boughs.
    wrighttreeornament.jpg


    As you pack away the ornaments, think about including a note on acid and lignin free paper that tells the history of that item.

    These interior photos also show us how our ancestors lived. The Wright brothers liked bold wallpaper on their walls but also their ceiling.  In the center of the ceiling is a lovely gas chandelier. It's a pretty typical Victorian scene from the decorations on the tree to the style of rug on the floor.

    Before you take down the tree, snap a picture of it so that later generations can see what the holiday was like for your family in 2012.

    Happy Holidays!


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | preserving photos | props in photos
    Monday, December 24, 2012 2:02:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, October 01, 2012
    Photo Restoration of Which Man is It
    Posted by Maureen

    Last week I discussed the details in Lois O'Malley's photo of a crayon portrait and asked if someone could try to digitally restore it.  I love the genealogy community!  A woman named Shirley volunteered to see if she could restore the picture. 

    Here's version three of the process. You can see the before and after in this photo. On the right is the damaged side of the picture and on the left is the restored side.
    left collar tieedit3  Simmons (2).jpg

    This poor photo is covered in mold and has visible water-damage and abrasive damage.  A project like this requires time and patience.

    Shirley and I have discussed the clothing details. In a photo as badly damaged as this one, it's easy to interpret certain details incorrectly. Shirley is being very careful.

    She asked whether or not this man's shirt has a collar. I replied that his shirt has a collar and that the tie is wrapped around the neck under it.

    There is a lot of shading around his mouth. It doesn't look like a mustache or does it? I think it's either shading or some sort of paper deterioration.  We'll know more as the restoration proceeds.

    A big thank you to Shirley for tackling this picture! 


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1880s photos | 1890s photos | Drawings | men | preserving photos
    Monday, October 01, 2012 12:56:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, September 17, 2012
    What to Do When You Find a Damaged Family Photo
    Posted by Maureen

    In 2005 Lois O'Malley visited an elderly cousin in South Carolina to talk about family history. On the visit, she discovered he owned a large photo. As soon as she saw its condition, she took photos of it to make sure she had a copy.

    unknown  Simmons edit.jpg

    Storage in fluctuating temperature and humidity had taken a toll on this crayon portrait. This type of image is a photograph enhanced with charcoal pencil.

    The thin paper was worn away in places and there's evidence of mold and insect damage. O'Malley did the right thing. Her camera documented the exact day she took the image.

    So what do you do with a picture in this condition?
    • Photograph or scan it immediately. This type of deterioration will continue to progress if it isn't moved to a stable environment.
    • Try to convince your relative of the importance of the image. 
    • Find a good storage spot. Ideally, a windowless interior closet in a living area of the home (not an attic, garage or basement).
    • Place the item in an acid- and lignin-free folder and a reinforced-corner box. Here are some online suppliers where you can get these storage materials.
    • Obtain an estimate from a photo conservation expert for stabilizing the picture. You can find a conservator in your area on the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works website. 
    • Separate moldy photos from other items. Mold spreads quite easily and you don't want to end up with more than one problem.

    It's a good thing that Lois photographed the picture. When she went back to visit her cousin a few years later, he couldn't find it. 

    There are more photo preservation tips in my book, Preserving Your Family Photographs.

    Lois is wondering if the man in the picture is her great-grandfather. I'll look at the photo evidence next week.


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • men | preserving photos
    Monday, September 17, 2012 2:55:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, September 10, 2012
    Preserving My Family Photographs
    Posted by Maureen

    When I decided to write a book on preserving photographs, I needed examples. For months I visited antique shops and photo shows looking for really damaged pictures. As you might expect, there was no shortage of problem images. 

    As the oldest child, I've inherited our family photo collection from my mother, so now it's time to put into practice all the things I've been teaching. Preservation is about more than just taking care of the photos—it also involves digitizing them and saving their stories. I thought you'd like to know what I've been doing:
    • I started by maintaining the original order of the photos just in case Mom mixed up some of Dad's pictures in the boxes. I wanted to be careful not to confuse photos from both sides of the family. My Mom had boxes of pictures, but Dad only had one large envelope. 
    • My first step was to scan all the pictures as 600 dpi (dots per inch) tiff files so that if something happened to the originals, I'd still have a high-quality scan. Having a digital file makes it easier to share photos with family too. 
    • I invested in some additional acid- and lignin-free boxes and non-pvc plastic sleeves. 
    • Last winter, I sat with Mom and recorded her talking about the photos. We got another chance to do that this weekend. A cousin inherited another box of pictures passed down in the family from my mother's oldest sister. This month, that cousin sent me a few of them. Thankfully, someone identified all the family members in them. My Mom took care of naming all the unrelated folks for me.  There were neighbors and friends in some of the pictures.
    • Now that I know who's who, I'll use a combination of old-fashioned filing and computer keywords to organize the lot. 

    These are a few basic tips for saving family photos. There's more information in my book Preserving Your Family Photographs, including details on dealing with those sticky "magnetic" album pages and taking care of negatives.

    Next week I'll tackle a photo identification mystery of a man in a badly damaged picture. 


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • preserving photos
    Monday, September 10, 2012 5:05:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Monday, August 06, 2012
    It's a Family Reunion
    Posted by Maureen

    Have you ever been to a family reunion? I'm writing this from my husband's reunion. It's an every-other-year event that's been held since the mid-20th century. There's a lot of debate about when the first one was held. 

    Here are two observations:

    • The coordinator is an energetic cousin who plans activities and dinners.  She's also become involved with creating a family website. What's interesting is that she doesn't consider herself a genealogist. I disagree: iPad in hand, she's busy interviewing family members about past generations to put the information online. Yup ... you guessed it, she's collecting photos, too. The site isn't live yet, but based on her enthusiasm, it will be soon. Can't wait to see what she's created!
    • Family history is everywhere. Whether it's a wedding that happened two weeks ago or figuring out when everyone first got together, there's a lot of history being collected.  It's also being made everyday.  Another cousin chronicles each reunion. She creates an album for every event with the photographs sent to her afterward. Each album is a time capsule.

    If you've been to a reunion (or are planning one) can you comment below and share with readers ideas for photo-related activities to incorporate? We take a family photo at each reunion and snap lots of pictures. What have you done at your reunion? 

    Reunions magazine has a great website. Click any tab and you'll find suggestions for planning a reunion, activities for young and old, and details on sharing the pictures later. The resort where our event is held has a Pinterest site so guests can share photos they've posted. Reunions magazine also has a Pinterest page with dozens of boards. There are family history related t-shirt ideas, invitations, illustrated family trees and more.

    I'm off to fill biodegradable water balloons for the traditional water balloon fight. Back next week with a family history photo mystery!


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • Want to improve your genealogical skills and connect with other family historians—all from the convenience of home? Check out Family Tree University's Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference, happening Sept. 14-16. Early bird registration ends Friday, Aug. 10 at 11:59 p.m.—enter code FTUVCEARLY at checkout to save $50!


    Photo-sharing sites | preserving photos | Reunions
    Monday, August 06, 2012 3:52:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, February 06, 2012
    Digital Photo Preservation Pointers
    Posted by Maureen

    I hope that everyone had fun exploring the sites I mentioned last week!  These sites are a way to share photos and stories, but are not a way to preserve your family photos.  

    If you want to preserve your photos try these tips.
    • Scan at 600 dpi as color images. I prefer the TIF format because it's uncompressed. Don't forget to scan the back, if there is information there such as a caption or photographer's name and address. Scan at 100 percent scale at a minimum.

    • I don't like to use the digital auto-correct feature on my scanner.  I prefer to "fix" any photo issues with a photo editing program. One of my favorites is Picnik.com. It's similar than Photoshop and free.  Unfortunately, you  can't upload TIF files, only JPGs, so you'll have to create a jpeg copy of your scanned image.

    • Back up your digital files on a portable hard drive and/or print significant photos.

    • Preserve your family stories by recording them or writing them down.

    Thank you to Sally Jacobs, the Practical Archivist for pointing out this survey on what online sites do with your digital files.

    I had a great time in Washington, D.C. and found several additional images for my Last Muster project.  The highlight of the trip was visiting the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. I was the only researcher in the department and boy did I take advantage of that to ask questions <smile>. You can view the majority of the collection online


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • preserving photos
    Monday, February 06, 2012 1:37:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Monday, January 02, 2012
    Photo Clean-up: 5 Easy Steps
    Posted by Maureen

    If you find yourself surrounded by boxes of family photos, then check out my article "Address Your Mess" in the February 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine. There are five easy steps to help you organize those shoeboxes.

    A few months ago, Family Tree Magazine ran a contest to find the most creative call for organizational help.  Congratulations to Judy Walck. She won $250 worth of archival photo storage and preservation supplies from Hollinger Metal Edge.

    Here's her photo and the poem that accompanied it.

    walck.JPG

    I have photos galore and more.
    Please help. Oh, please.
    they hang on every wall you see.
    What a quandary.
    Where to store the countless more
    in boxes and bags all over my floor?
    Yes, I need help and need it majorly.
    I've photos old and photos new.
    More come each day.
    Some aren't labelled who is who
    A pen I need.
    An eat-in kitchen is really great
    'cause my dining room table no longer seats eight.
    An heirloom Bible could use a box
    not of plastic.
    what to keep and what to cull
    I'm in archival hell.
    Eight generation to orderize.
    It's not Restasis bring tears to my eyes.
    Can you help me, please?
    I'm beggin on my knees.


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • preserving photos
    Monday, January 02, 2012 5:22:16 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 26, 2011
    Resolutions for the New Year
    Posted by Maureen

    I've spent the last six months cleaning out every closet, file drawer and cabinet in my house.  After 17 years in the same house, there was a lot of stuff.  It feels good to start the new year with a fresh outlook.

    If you feel the need to take charge of the clutter in your house, start with your photo collection. Here are some things to consider when dealing with all that photo build-up.

    • Start small.  Don't take out all the boxes at once, try one shoebox at a time. 
    • You don't have to keep everything. It's o.k. to throw out images that don't include individuals.  This is also true for digital images. My husband is very organized.  Every time he uploads digital images he immediately starts deleting those less than perfect shots. 
    • Back up those digital files. It's a new year so start a new habit. Regularly back-up all your digital files. I use an online service so that I don't forget to do it.
    • Identify a photo at a time.  Pick an unlabelled photo and start working on the clues.  You'll find lots of tips in archives of this blog.  You can search by topic by using the search box at the end of the left hand column.  

    Use the comment section of this space to tell me about your photo-related resolutions.  I'd love to hear them.

    Happy New Year!


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • preserving photos
    Monday, December 26, 2011 9:42:22 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Thursday, December 01, 2011
    The Ultimate Photo Preservation Collection Is Back for a Limited Time!
    Posted by Diane

    Hi! I (Diane) am dropping in briefly to let Photo Detective blog fans know that we're bringing back a limited number of the Ultimate Photo Preservation Collections to ShopFamilyTree.com.

    This kit offers tools to help you ensure your family's memories will be around for future generations to enjoy. It includes Maureen's signed Preserving Your Family Photographs book.

    This deeply discounted collection sold out in less than a day in June. Only 25 are available, so jump on this chance to grab one.


    preserving photos | ShopFamilyTree.com
    Thursday, December 01, 2011 2:18:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, May 16, 2011
    Asking the Big Questions
    Posted by Maureen

    I sat with a friend today as she showed me her latest online family history discoveries. It was all very exciting.

    She's worked on this particular genealogy problem for several years. All of a sudden, an unknown distant relative joined an online site and posted family information and lots of pictures. My friend was amazed to see photos of her great-grandparents and some of their children.

    While it was thrilling to see all that new material that solved her brick walls, I couldn't help but look at the photos critically.

    If you find yourself gasping over images of your long-lost relatives, try not to jump to conclusions and accept them at face value. Follow some basic tips for analyzing those images.
    • Remember those captions are not necessarily the truth. Misidentifications happen all the time. 

    • Look at the clues—clothing, photographer and any other evidence in the pictures to see if they add up.
       
    • Is the person the right age to be the named ancestor? 

    • Clothing clues, especially hats, sleeves and ties, are often fashion statements that tell you not just about your ancestor's fashion sense, but can place the image within a narrow time frame.

    • One of the photos depicts a man in a police uniform. This employment tip could help her unlock more family information. Her next step is to contact the appropriate department to try to obtain employment records.

    • Another photo shows a woman in a very expensive-looking fur hat and coat. Family lore claims this woman had financial means. To prove this, I suggested tracking down probate records to follow the money trail.
    Each new picture is an opportunity to find fresh genealogical data. Evaluate the picture sense using the techniques presented each week in this column. It's too easy to accept visual material at face value rather than digging a bit deeper to tell the story behind the image.

    I hope you'll be able to join me this week for my Photo Detective Live! event on May 18, or for one of my new tele-seminars through AskMaureenTaylor.com


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • photo-research tips | preserving photos | props in photos
    Monday, May 16, 2011 3:05:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Monday, January 24, 2011
    Preservation Points: Rules to Live By
    Posted by Maureen

    Contrary to popular thought, it's neither expensive nor time-consuming to preserve your family photos. All it takes is a few rules to live by (and some proper storage items).

    Avoid Temperature and Humidity Extremes
    While you can't do anything about the weather outside your house, you can somewhat control the interior environment. First, avoid all the problem storage areas such as basements, attics and garages. Not only are those zones subject to temperature and humidity variations, they are usually home to critters that love to eat or nest in paper including your family photos.

    Try to manage temperature fluctuations by storing your photos in a spot away from drafts (winter cold can harm as much as summer's heat) and heating systems. The ideal temperature for many photographic materials is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Humidity can be controlled by the use of a de-humidifier or if your house is too dry in the winter, a humidifier. There is a cheaper alternative. A reusable desiccant container can help. It's a small box that contains an inert substance that attracts and holds water vapor.  When it's saturated (the indicator dot changes color)all you do is bake it in a ventilated oven to dry it out. While I wouldn't put one of these boxes in direct contact with my photos you can use it in closets. The cost is around $13 to $20.. They are available from museum suppliers such as Light Impressions.

    Buy the Right Materials
    When purchasing storage materials look for industry appropriate phrases such as acid- and lignin-free paper/cardboard and non-pvc plastic.  All you really need are some good quality boxes and sleeves that fit that criteria. You can buy materials in art supply stores, from museum storage companies and even from storage stores. Just check the labels for the right terminology. Buy in bulk with a friend and save money.

    Scan Once and Store
    You should have a digital back-up of your important images. Scan at a minimum of 600 dpi resolution  and 100 percent scale (that's the same dimensions as the original photo, instead of reducing the size) and then put the items in those storage containers. Back-up your digital files using a portable hard drive or an online back-up system such as Mozy.com. Once you've scanned at this resolution, you won't have to scan them again for any projects.

    Identify and Label
    OK I know this can be an overwhelming task, but take it slow. A picture at a time. Write on the back of a photo—name, date, occasion, and your name and date—or as little as you know. By adding your name and the current date your descendants will always know who labeled the photos.  Labeling tools include a soft lead pencil for paper based prints or a waterproof, fade-proof, quick-drying pen (not a Sharpie) that's safe for resin coated pictures. I like Zig markers. They are widely available in scrapbook, art and office supply stores.

    These four basic rules will help you save your pictures so that generations can appreciate them. You can learn more about photo preservation in my book Preserving Your Family Photographs


    preserving photos
    Monday, January 24, 2011 2:33:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 27, 2010
    iPad Apps to Try
    Posted by Maureen

    I've had an iPad for a few months and I suspect that many readers of this blog own one too. I'm always on the look-out for interesting apps. Here are some that I can't wait to try. You can find all of these by visiting the app store on your iPad.

    Flickstackr ($1.99)
    I can't wait to see if this one lives up to it's tabletpcreview.com review. It connects to Flickr so you can browse photos, but it also lets you create a photo stack of images you want to save while you are looking.

    Sort Shots ($4.99)
    This photo-organizing app uses tags to quickly sort through images. It also lets you share photos using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa.

    Photobucket (free)
    Just like the photo-sharing website photobucket.com, you can search, sort and share images.

    Foto Editor (free)
    It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but you'll be able to make quick and simple edits on your photos on Foto Editor.

    Impression (free)
    This app will let you put an opaque watermark on your image to make it clear who owns the picture.

    The two apps I use the most on my iPad are Ancestry.com's app Tree to Go (free) and Blogshelf ($4.99). Blogshelf organizes all my favorite blogs like books on a shelf. I just love it.

    Have fun with your new apps and be sure to mention your favorite apps in the comment section below. I can't wait to try out some new ones.

    preserving photos | Web sites
    Monday, December 27, 2010 6:18:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Tuesday, July 07, 2009
    Scanning Photos: Convex Images
    Posted by Maureen

    An integral part of the FamilyTreeMagazine.com web site is the reader forum. Did you know there's one called Photo Detective? Anyone can post, all you have to do is register. Last week, someone posted a question that deserves a whole blog column. K. Pherson wrote
    I have a photo of an ancestor in its original old oval wall frame, which has a convex (outwardly-rounded) glass over it. It's large (approximately 18 by 24 inches) and the photo itself is convex. I have a similar empty frame, and I'd like to copy another picture to put in this frame, but no photo lab in my area seems to know how to duplicate a photo so that it looks good on a rounded surface. The photo becomes distorted.
    Click here to see an explanation of how these convex images, popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, were created, and what they look like.

    This is actually a two-part response. I want to talk first about scanning those convex images, then offer advice on how to create a print to place in one of those frames.

    Copying a Convex Image
    If you have a convex image (glass or tin) and have tried to scan it, you know how difficult it is. If you can find a photo business in your area that has a 3D scanner, getting a copy will be easy. These specialty 3D scanners cost in excess of $2,000. They're cool devices—Jay Leno has one to photograph cars and they've been featured on the show "Mythbusters." A company called NextEngine manufactures them; its Web site is full of fascinating examples and a demo video.

    For the rest of us, duplicating a convex image is a challenge. My usual method is to take photograph. Scanning such an image in sections and "stitching" them together using photo editing software might work, but I haven't tried it. If any reader has a successful way to duplicate a convex image, please comment on this article.

    Removing a Picture from a Conves Frame
    Be extremely cautious if you want to remove an image from one of these convex frames. These images are often stuck to the glass and trying to remove them will destroy the picture. If you're in doubt, consult a professional photo conservator.

    Creating a Convex Effect
    To create that curved effect for a flat image so it looks nice in his empty frame, K. Pherson doesn't need a photo lab. It's possible to do it using Adobe PhotoShop. I found a couple of online tutorials to help: The first is a step-by-step video by Luv2Help.com. ShapeShed also has written and video instructions.

    If you'd like to create that effect but you don't own PhotoShop, try contacting a digital photo restorer in your area. I hope this helps!


    preserving photos | unusual surfaces
    Tuesday, July 07, 2009 6:27:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, June 08, 2009
    Photo Crafts From Our Readers
    Posted by Maureen

    Several readers of this blog sent in examples of their creative endeavors that use family photos. You don't want to damage original images by using them in picture-perfect projects, but you can use copies. Here's a gallery of their projects. 



    Carolyn Natsch sent in the above picture of her memory tin.

    Norwoodbookmarks.jpg
    Carol Norwood creates these lovely photo bookmarks that include information about the person depicted.

    Van KirkWall1.jpg

    Jarrod W. Van Kirk created a pictorial family tree on a wall in his home.



    Tillie Van Sickle sent this picture her beautiful Miller Family Quilt.

    Hope you enjoy (and even get inspired by) these examples!
    Photo fun | preserving photos
    Monday, June 08, 2009 2:19:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Monday, January 05, 2009
    Join in the Dialogue: Organizing Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    There were several comments to my last week's posting on scanning and organizing pictures.

    Miriam Robbin Midkiff, who writes a blog called AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, also hosts Scanfest, a monthly online scanning session held the last Sunday of every month. She's invited all of you and your friends to attend. Miriam can send you instructions on how to join in on the chat session to keep life interesting while placing photos on a scanner. Learn more about Scanfest on her blog. Mark your calendar for the next Scanfest, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. PCT on Jan. 25. If I can get my Windows Live Messenger to work, I'll be there.

    A reader pointed out that you can digitally tag pictures using the free program called Fototagger. I'm a huge fan. Try it and see why.

    Another person inquired about using adhesive labels on the backs of photos. I don't advocate using any adhesives on pictures. As a former archivist, I've seen the long-term damage.

    Instead, I'd suggest placing the photo in a non-PVC sleeve of a similar size and including a same-size sheet of acid- and lignin-free cardstock. You can put the label on that paper, rather than the back of the picture. I've purchased non-PVC sleeves from a number of vendors (run a Google search on archival supplies).

    Thank you, Linda! She wrote a long comment about ways to use the free photo-organizing software Picasa, and how she "files" her pictures on her computer. It's full of great tips.

    As always Kathryn, thank you for being a fan. Of course you can post a link to last week's photo-organizing post in the California Genealogical Society's e-newsletter. Can you include a link in the comment section of this posting to share the other tips in the newsletter?

    I actually took two weeks off this holiday season! Of course I did some photo- related activities. For readers who live in the Washington, DC, area, check out the exhibit of photographic jewelry at the National Portrait Gallery. It's called Tokens of Affection and Regard: Photographic Jewelry and Its Makers, and it's fantastic. There's also an exhibit on photographs of Abraham Lincoln and online exhibition links on the Web site.


    photo-research tips | preserving photos
    Monday, January 05, 2009 6:06:42 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Thursday, January 01, 2009
    Finally Organize Your Pictures
    Posted by Maureen

    Regular readers of this column know that I'm not fond of making resolutions for the New Year, but I might make an exception this year.  Last January 1st, I set out to find family photographs to expand my personal archive. Now I'm faced with picture overload.  Sound familiar?  It doesn't matter if you have one small album or a closet full of pictures, the time to start organizing is now.

    1. Retain the original order of the pictures.  If you've received a box from Great Uncle Harry and one from Aunt Minnie, don't mix them together. You could unknowingly blend two different branches of the family and ruin your chances for identifying some unidentified images.

    2. Instead scan all the pictures. It's inexpensive and quick.  If you don't already own a scanner, purchase a dedicated scanner that can also scan negatives and slides. You can buy an Epson flatbed scanner for around a hundred dollars.

    3. Download photo organizing software such as Google's Picasa. I've been using it for years and love it's features. Keyword your photos to make searching easier. Picasa actually searches your hard drive for images. Organizing your pictures with digital images enables you to sort pictures by donor, person's name or occasion.

    4. Label each picture! Use a soft lead pencil to add names, dates and details to the back of paper based photos. For modern resin coated images, use a scrapbook pen such as a black Zig marker. These are available at art supply stores and scrapbook outlets. You can use your Picasa program to add labels to digital images.

    5. Don't forget the digital images.  Sure, Picasa will help you organize all your digital images, but remember to print out significant images. Backup your files on a regular basis using a portable hard drive so that your digital archive is safe if your hard drive malfunctions.

    This short article is just an overview of organizational tips. It'll get you started. Throughout this year, I'll feature other techniques for organizing and preserving your photos.  Happy New Year!


    preserving photos
    Thursday, January 01, 2009 3:29:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [5]
    # Monday, November 03, 2008
    What Does the Future Hold For Your Family Photographs?
    Posted by Maureen

    I saw a very sad sight yesterday. I attended an collectibles show and saw a collection of daguerreotypes for sale. The mournful moment came when I realized that every single one of these images was identified.

    As you probably know, daguerreotypes date from 1839 to the early 1860s. The majority of these images were from the 1850s. I really didn't want to leave them on the table, but at close to $1,000, the cost was too high for my budget. 

    As a genealogist, you're aware that skills honed researching family back in time also can be used to track family forward. It's part of the whole orphan photo movement to reunite folks with their "lost" family pictures.

    I purchased a couple of identified cabinet cards at the show and will try to reconnect them with relatives. I'll post my progress on this blog.

    It broke my heart to see all those images sitting in that box. I see it all the time and it never gets any easier. The big question is: What's going to happen to your photos? Have you identified someone in your family to take care of your archive?

    Before your pictures end up in a dumpster or split up at an antique show, start thinking about their future. Then write it down. Make sure your executor has a copy of the document so the collection you've cared for doesn't become someone's instant ancestors. 

    In the words of one dealer: "I keep what I can sell and throw away the rest."  This was in response to my request for matrimonial images. Yup! They weren't worth saving. 

    If you've reconnected a photo with a long-lost relative, please add your story to the Comments section. Each one of those reunion tales is heartwarming. Can't wait to hear from you!


    preserving photos
    Monday, November 03, 2008 7:45:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [8]
    # Tuesday, June 24, 2008
    Loopy Photo Labels
    Posted by Maureen

    A big thank you to Leanne M. Baraban!  She bought this photo to share with me (and you). It's a great example of how good-intentioned labeling can go so very wrong. Below are all the identifications, and the woman who made them added a note: "I numbered these all so you would know who all of them were."

    leanne.jpg.jpg

    While it was a great idea to name each person for posterity, the numbers are written on the front of the photo in India ink. Here are the identifications:

    no.1 Is my feller
     "    2 Nans feller
     "    3 Papa
      "   4 Nan
      "    5 me
      "   6 Mamma
      "   7 Mrs. Ashcroft (a neighbor)
      "   8 Miss Smith (the school teacher)
       "   9 is Miss Smiths feller
      "   10 Lucile
      "   11 Pleasant
      "   12 Mabel

    That's all she wrote. I'm sure you've seen other examples of photos identified with arrows or x's, but if you really want future generations to be able to say who's who, follow these three steps.
    1. Never write on the front. On the back is OK if you use a soft lead pencil for cardboard-mounted images, or a special photo-marking pen (such as a Zig marker) for 20th-century resin-coated snapshots. You can tag digital images using photo organizing or editing software.

    2. Use the full name whenever possible. Wouldn't it be great to know who "Nan's feller" was? While this woman knew everyone's name, it's doubtful that identification lasted past her generation.

    3. We'll probably never know why all these folks got together on a summer's day. If there's a special occasion associated with the image, include a short note.
    If you're curious about when this picture was taken, look at the hats on the neighbor (7) and the school teacher (8). Those broad-brimmed, deep-crowned chapeaus were very common in the 1910 era. By the way, this is a postcard, and the design on the back first became available in late 1907.


    1910s photos | photo postcards | preserving photos
    Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2:26:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, June 09, 2008
    Wicked Weather and Your Family Heirlooms (Photos included)
    Posted by Maureen

    It's that time of year when weather leads the news reports--tornados, floods and hurricanes. Also in the news are pictures and footage of folks clutching family photos they've rescued from disaster.  There is a lot you can do to save your family heirlooms from the wild and wicked weather.

    I've written several weather related articles:

    When the Worst Happens covers tips to remember when salvaging photos from water damage.

    Planning for Disaster talks about the three steps in disaster preparedness--preparation, response and recovery.

    10 Ways Weather Changed Your Family History appears in the May 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine.  A timeline of weather events and a list of resources appears on the Family Tree Magazine website.

    I'm a bit of a weather nut. I grew up in Rhode Island where everyone still talks about the Hurricane of 1938.  It devasted the state and most of the area never recovered. A high school  class in meteorology clinched my interest (and you thought I only cared about photos <smile>). My friends know not to raise the issue of global warming in my presence!

    Two of my favorite books on weather are:

    Mark Levine's F5: Devastation, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century (Miramax, $25.95)

    R.A. Scott's Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 (Back Bay Books, $14.95)

    I'd love to hear how you've rescued family heirlooms from destruction.  Post to either the comment section of this blog or to the Family Tree Magazine Photo Detective Forum.   Got a book to recommend?  Post that as well.


    preserving photos
    Monday, June 09, 2008 3:12:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Tuesday, March 18, 2008
    Polaroid Preservation
    Posted by Diane

    Two weeks ago I wrote about how Polaroid stopped manufacturing film. In the Comments section to that article, Nancy Owen asked, "Over the years, I've taken a lot of Polaroid pictures. Many of them are not holding up. The edges of the paper on the back are coming unglued. What can I do to preserve my photographs?"

    Ahh, Nancy, Polaroid pictures are a bit troublesome. If you've taken these instant pictures and haven't looked at them in a while, it's time to take a peek. These images have a tendency to fade, crack and become unglued. 

    The best solution is to scan them, then fix the damage using photo editing software.

    Several people wrote to me privately saying how much they liked using their Polaroid cameras. According to an article in Sunday's Boston Globe, Fuji still makes instant film. You can see a selection of their products on the Fuji Web site. And yes, it works in Polaroid cameras!


    photo news | preserving photos
    Tuesday, March 18, 2008 3:44:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Friday, February 15, 2008
    Fun and Simple Photo Editing
    Posted by Maureen

    I'm a fan of a relatively new website called Picnik.com. It may make you forget expensive photo editing programs even exist. Here's what to love.
    • It's online, Web-based software. All you do is access your pictures on your computer or use the ones you've uploaded to sites such as Flickr.com, Facebook.com, photobucket.com and webshots.com, and those in your Picasa Web albums. Pick a picture to edit and get started

    • It's free. There's a $24.99 upgrade for additional features, but most of the regular editing tools are free. If you want more fonts or creative tools, I recommend signing up for the full version.

    • Picnik's tools work with Macs, Windows and Linux operating systems.

    • It's fun. I played with a couple of pictures to see what could be done. I added shapes, captions and used the editing tools to improve the look of an old photo.

    • This Web-based program has a lot of power. You can sharpen blurry pictures, straighten crooked ones, correct redeye, fix exposure settings and a lot more. You can even resize pictures and select a format for saving (JPG, PNG, TIF, etc.).

    • Finally, once you're done, you can share the images by e-mailing them to family and friends or posting them to a list of Web sites, such as Flickr.
    You've got to try this to believe it. While it won't replace the sophisticated programs like Adobe Photoshop, it goes a long way to do more than the basics.

    I'd like you to sound off about your favorite photo editing program. For years I used Microsoft's Digital Image Pro, but now that's been discontinued. What do you use to "fix" your pictures? Click Comments and let me know.

    Next week I'll be back with more information on our Italian soldier.


    preserving photos | Web sites
    Friday, February 15, 2008 4:00:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Tuesday, December 25, 2007
    Photo Cards Redux
    Posted by Maureen

    What type of holiday greeting do you send to friends and relatives?

    Four years ago I wrote Season's Greetings, a column about photo cards and shared an antique example from my collection. It's a beautiful New Year's card  from a woman to her friends. As you can see, sending photo cards is nothing new. That one dates to the 1880s.

    I used to mail standard cards with a few words inside but since I wrote that piece I decided to join the millions that now design their own picture greeting. One of the photo editing programs I use lets me select snapshots and drop them into the layout. It's a cinch.  I usually select a collage type display that allows me to pick several different images to tell our family story in photos and captions. I just never get around to writing a full letter!

    In addition to saving the cards I receive, I also keep a copy of the one I send out.  It's a mini archive of holiday greetings. 

     I'm not sure how many of you are checking this space during this busy time of year, but if you have a heritage photo card, send me a jpg of the image and I'll post it here next week. My email is mtaylor@taylorandstrong.com. In the meantime...

    Happy Holidays!  


    preserving photos
    Tuesday, December 25, 2007 11:22:47 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, July 23, 2007
    Repairing Damaged Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    In the Photo Detective Forum, a member of the Ellis family asked about her photo that was damaged from being stored in a damp garage. Family Tree Magazine managing editor Diane Haddad suggested using photo editing software and contacting a professional conservator. That's excellent advice.

    While I haven't seen the damaged picture, the chalky film on the surface is likely caused by mold and humidity. That's significant damage.

    The Ellis family might be able to enhance the picture using a photo editing program, but it really depends on the appearance of the photo and their skill with graphics software.

    Since this is the only known picture of a particular couple, it's worth investing in a consultation with a photographic conservator about saving the original photograph. They can find a conservator on the Web site of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works .

    Either way, the family also can have a copy of the photo created and enhanced. One option is to contact a photo restorer such as David Mishkin of Just Black and White for a consultation on photo-enhancement services using film photography. Mishkin gets amazing results with these non-digital methods.


    preserving photos
    Monday, July 23, 2007 3:42:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, July 08, 2007
    Humidity and Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    As I sit in my air-conditioned home office, it's hot and humid outside. The combination of these two weather Hs are bad for family photos. Resin-coated color images tend to stick together when it's humid. The H and H also creates the perfect environment for mold to grow on your other pictures.

    So here's a question I'd like to see you answer in the Family Tree Magazine Photo Detective Forum. "Where do you store your family photos?"

    Although the best place to keep photos is in a windowless closet in an area with stable temperature and humidity, the truth is, few of us live in a museum. So, what's a concerned genealogist to do? 

    The solution is actually quite simple: Nesting boxes. Store your photos in acid- and lignin-free boxes. The center box containing your pictures sits within a larger box. Each layer creates a barrier between the outside fluctuations and your precious pictures.

    Keep yourself and your photos cool this summer!


    preserving photos
    Sunday, July 08, 2007 3:46:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, June 11, 2007
    It's Confession Time: Developing Old Film
    Posted by Maureen

    Kelly posted a question to the Forum in February about developing old film.She found a camera with film in it from the 1960s and her camera shop sent it out for processing.

    It's confession time. This is your chance to sound-off in the Forum about film you've forgotten to develop. Not the snapshots you took at the wedding last summer,  but your pictures several decades old. My Mom just gave me a small bag full of undeveloped movie film from my childhood!

    If you're a hoarder and can't bear to part with a roll of undeveloped film, don't despair. There is hope!  Rocky Mountain Photo Labs specializes in processing old still and moving picture film. All films are batch processed which means you might have to wait months, like Kelly, to get your order back. Rocky Mountain Photo Labs can't guarantee the quality of images produced from the old rolls in your attic due to aging issues.

    You'll have to take a chance that the price and wait might be worth it.  Who knows what family history photo treasures are on that roll? I'll bet you can't remember. :)  My Mom can't either.



    preserving photos
    Monday, June 11, 2007 2:13:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]