Google Addresses for Images
I would recommend searching for every ancestralÂ address and company you come across using Google. You could find that there are photos online. I have found numerous photos of the churches my ancestors got married in or were christened in by doing this.
Sometimes you can even find photos of the houses in which they lived. To my surprise I found the farmhouse where my grandfather was born by using Google. Grander than I imagined, it is now a school. I e-mailed the school and they sent me a leaflet with photos of the original house.
Also search for places where your ancestors worked. You can often find out more about the companies or government branch your ancestors worked in, and may find photos. For instance, my grandmother told me that she had been an â€œoverlookerâ€ at Woolwich Arsenal during the First World War. Both her father and grandfather had also worked there. I searched for Woolwich Arsenal using Google and found pages and pages of information and photos about it. I found out that women worked there during the First World War because the men had all been called up. The girls who did this work were called â€œCanariesâ€ because working with TNT turned their skin yellow. And there were photos showing the Cartridge Packing Shop where my grandmother worked, as well as the laboratory where my grandfather worked.
Another way you can obtain photos of locations you are researching is by joining a RootsWeb county mailing list for the county your ancestors lived in. Ask if anyone who lives in the area is willing to take a photo for you and e-mail it to you. One very kind man took about half a dozen photos for me because someone had once done it for him.
Or you could try writing to the addresses directly if they still exist, asking if the occupants could send you a photo of their house. They might be more interested if you sent them a photo of your ancestor who lived there or a copy of a census showing the address with the names of the people who lived there. Of course always offer to pay for their expenses.
Storing Data in Digital Photographs
In your 24 March issue there was a quick tip about keeping important information about photographs on the borders of the image. I was reminded that there is also a lot of information that can be stored in the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) metadata of a photograph.
More recent image manipulation programs can display and alter the metadata stored as tags in the TIFF or JPEG image; this information can then be used to group photographs. Adobe Photoshop CS3 allows you to examine or change any of the metadata associated with an image.
If you donâ€™t have an up-to-date image program that allows alteration of the metadata, then download the â€œMicrosoft Photo Infoâ€ program from their site.Â This allows you to edit the metadata/tags of a photograph.
Try it yourself with Windows Photo Gallery, an application included with all versions of Windows Vista, or with Picasa V2. Add a new tag–for example, the family name of the subject of the photograph and the place it was taken. With these tags applied, the images can also be viewed within your favourite image viewer grouped by family, date, or whatever â€œtagâ€ you have assigned the photographs.
I use Family Historian for my data and can also view the images from within this program, but for a slideshow to present to my family, a picture presentation program like Picasa is great; use the tags to select the family photos you want to show and then get people to comment on the photographs as they see them. Keep a notebook handy; this information can be added to your family history–adding identifiers as metadata for your images.
Picasa V2 enables you to â€œGEOTAGâ€ an image. This tool will start Google Earth, after which you can point at the location for the photograph and select â€œGEOTAG.â€ This stores the GPS coordinates (longitude/latitude) of the location in the metadata of your image. You can then also save the Google Earth file (a .KMZ file) for the image; this can be sent in the same folder as your image to whomever you like. You can view the GPS coordinates of images in Adobe CS3 or Picasa V2. This facility is useful as you can then add all the data from the .KMZ files together into a larger .KMZ file for the whole family name and use Google Earth to display a snapshot of your family history places. (Note: the .KMZ file is merely a â€œzippedâ€ version of the Google .KML file, which can be edited by Notepad to combine them.)
Martin J, Clarke
Waltham Chase, England
Search for Founding Members of Churches
I have found a surprising source for family information. When looking for church records, especially in smaller churches with a predominately ethnic congregation (Swedish, German, etc) find the names of the founding members. Then look for people who are researching that founding family. Often you will find someone who has copies of original records, scanned records, or other important information about the congregation and its members. This worked for our Swedish great-grandparents.
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
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