Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Using Picassa 3.5 to Identify Photos

I have been playing with the facial recognition in Picassa 3.5, Google's free photo organizing and editing software. I have a lot of pictures scanned [and at least as many to scan]. Working with photos is not my favorite thing. After playing with the latest version of Picassa for about an hour I'm down to only 9,000 to identify!

The most interesting thing to me is it often chooses family members as potential matches. When I was labeling my granddaughter Marly's pictures it brought up for my consideration some of her sister Sarah's pictures. It did the same with my brothers.

I was hopeful that it would use this family resemblance to help identify some of my unknown ancestors but that has not happened so far. The only photo it has identified that I didn't know was one baby picture. It suggested it was my #2 brother. Upon closer inspection I believe it is. So there is hope it will find others as I start to identify the ancestors.

By pulling up the faces it did show me pictures I didn't even remember or know I had, an interesting side benefit.

I don't like the way it wants to link the pictures with an email address from my Google contacts. To foil it I used full names for men, maiden and married names for women. For those woman who don't use a married name I included their middle name. It seems to be looking for a perfect match in contacts and accepts these as new people. Of course, the problem will not arise with the old pictures but I tested on those I was sure about.

The price - free - is right so you have nothing to lose and maybe some photos to identify.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Keeping Up

We all have multiple lines we are researching. It seems I pay more attention to some lines and less to others. I field more queries about those lines and am generally more familiar with them. The other day I got an inquiry about a line and I couldn't recall the details. Then I realized I haven't had an inquiry about that line in years.

There was a time when I had so many inquiries on that line my expert sent his GEDCOM file so I could just pull it and find out a few things, decide where to sent the researcher for more. In those days my internet connection was dialup and things were slow. Now internet is always on and generally fast. I realized that I didn't even have a bookmark for the database my expert has developed [and keeps up] so I hadn't had an inquiry since I moved five years ago.

I could say it means interest in lines goes in spurts and that's probably true. It also means I have neglected to keep up with my genealogy. I'm more organized but I've gotten sloppy on the lines no one asks about, particularly when there are others who are paying attention to those lines.

Is it possible to keep up with all the lines? Is there a formula for how much time to devote to each one? Is it okay to forgot some lines because others are devoting all their time to them? Contrary to what some might suggest, we cannot possibly do all the original research on all our ancestors. What is the compromise?