Monday, July 23, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 30: Colourful

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was created by Amy Johnson Crow and is a series of weekly prompts to inspire genealogists and family historians to think and write about an ancestor and then share it online.

I have been participating in Amy's 52 Ancestors challenge since 2014 and I must confess that I have completely lapsed on posting to this challenge in 2018.

This is due to many factors (an exciting breakthrough in my Coughlin research as well as my focus on DNA, family history writing and planning a genealogy trip to Ireland, etc). I have always told my children, "I can do ANYTHING, I just cant do EVERYTHING")

I found the Week 30 topic quite enticing though. Maybe it's the artist in me that was drawn to to the word "colourful" (Canadian/English spelling) or perhaps it was Amy's description (below). Either way, I took the bait!

Week 30: Colorful
"It seems that in every family tree, there's at least one person who is a bit larger than life, 
someone who bold and different... "colorful." 
Colorful could also be taken to describe someone artistic. 
How about an ancestor with a colorful name? "

I have many ancestors who were bigger than life with colourful stories, and there were artists as well as some interesting and colourful names.

But for this post, I want to write about something completely different and that is how to colourize old photographs.

 Colourizing Old Photographs

I recently tried a free online application to colourize this old family photo from the 1950s using Algorithmia (a computer vision algorithm trained on a million images from the Imagenet dataset.)

Left to right: My father with his father Ernest Moynahan (1900-1974), and brother John Moynahan (1934-1987)
You have two options for colourizing: you can paste the link (URL) to the image you wish to colourize or you can upload a photo. It takes only seconds. Here is my result:

The results vary and its great fun to try several different types of photographs

The Coughlin men (L to R): William H. Coughlin (1901-1913);
Daniel J. Coughlin (1874-1948); and John J. Coughlin (1904-1925)
Once colourized, the result is presented with a sliding purple bar so that you reveal the before and after.

The colorise bot on twitter colourised my image in 9.3 seconds. (Find out how:

And this is their result for comparison:

I wanted to try just one more, a photograph of a photo, to see how that would turn out.

The Creighton family: Front (L to R) Dawn (1936-1981); Jack (1935-1995);
Middle (L to R) Barb; Claire (1930-1995)
Back: Dorthy Moreland Creighton (1909-2000)
The results were not as colourful as if I had uploaded a scanned copy perhaps?

I hope you spend many colourful hours experimenting with your old photographs. Here are some interesting links to read on the subject.