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Photos and Documents

Updated: Jul 6, 2019

Boxes of Photographs on top of my bookcase

I'm back from vacation (a wonderful Western Caribbean Cruise with the family) and am looking forward to summer and working on my own research. Last week I submitted a preliminary Mayflower application for my son-in-law, something I've been planning for a while, but just haven't had the time to get to it. Another item checked off my to do list. I'm going to slide away from the Irish resources for a week to talk about another one of my projects.

At the beginning of last year I wrote a couple of posts on my organizing journey. You can find the first one here. In it I discussed how I organize using an Ahnentafel system. I ended the post by saying I planned to spend "at least a half hour every day" going through my papers in order to make sure everything was up to date and the necessary papers were scanned and digitally filed. Right! That lasted for about one week. The second blog discussed how I used the same system for my digital files. Some of you may have read these blogs on my old website, but for those of you who have recently found my new site, you may find them helpful. I'm frequently asked about "organizing." (By the way, if you are interested in a specific subject there is a menu at the top of each blog that begins with "All Posts." Rather than viewing all posts, you can select a specific topic to see what I've written on that topic. When you get to the right, hover over "More" and you'll see a drop down menu with additional tags.)

So that brings me to todays topic...what to do with all of my pictures and documents. I have boxes of pictures...I did get as far as putting them in archive storage boxes, one for each of my children. When my sister-in-law was moving to a smaller place last year, we helped clean out. She was throwing out bags of pictures which I rescued...those are now at my house. Yikes!

I now have a three-fold problem. What do I do with imperfect pictures? How do I get them digitized? How do a organize them?

As to the first problem, have you heard of Vivid-Pix and their RESTORE software? Wow! It will take photos and improve the quality without a lot of hassle. I've tried to use Photoshop, but it's just too complex for me. Vivid-Pix takes the photo and provides 9 different options to select from. You can then use the fine adjustments to improve the picture to your liking. Perhaps like me, you have only one copy of a photo of an ancestor and it isn't great. Here is an example of my Dad and his brother from the original scanned photo to the Vivid-Pix correction.

Original image on left, corrected Vivid-Pix on the right.

The above picture was taken about 1921 and it's the only one I have from that timeframe. I love the lighter, much clearer picture. I also have pictures of my children from the 1970s and 1980s that have turned red. You probably have some of those as well. Vivid-Pix RESTORE to the rescue.

I'm not a great photographer but I use my iPhone camera to take photographs and also to take pictures of documents. I have a lot of digital photographs where the light is wrong and so the pictures are in shadows.

Vivid-Pix RESTORE can also improve the quality of documents or photographs, taken with your digital camera or phone. It can also help make difficult documents easier to read.

Although parts of this document on the right appear washed out, I can now read the top of the document that was under the black blob in the top right corner.

One of my favorite uses is the ability to straighten out a document. When I'm grabbing an image of a vital record, or a census from IrishGenealogy or the National Archives of Ireland, the scanning frequently skews the image and in order to get the entire image I end up with parts of the record above or below, or have to take a large area of background. Whether I'm saving this in my database, or using it for a lecture, I can now get a neat square image.

There are a lot of options I've been able to use right away with Vivid-Pix, but I'm still learning. Vivid-Pix RESTORE offers a free trial that allow you to use the software for 10 images completely credit card required. Try before you buy.

The price of the software for either PC or Mac is $49.99 which for me is a bargain, but if you purchase the software before July 15th from this link you'll get a 20% discount.

You may be thinking, how do I get all of my pictures scanned? That's on my mind as I don't have the time to scan thousands of pictures. Vivid-Pix has partnered with Here's a blog post from Vivid-Pix that explains the program. In one case you receive a postage paid box into which you can put up to 1800 photographs. You choose the scanning resolution and receive the images back on a DVD. Make sure you read the instructions on preparing your photos. Only have a few photos? Depending on the resolution, the cost starts at 1¢ each. Once you have your scans back, you can then use the Vivid-Pix software to make any corrections.

Here in Florida the heat index has been over 100° for most of the week. You northern folk may find winter the time to stay in and work on your genealogy. For me it's the summer in the air conditioning! I'm going to begin with Research Plans for a couple of families I'd like to work on in Ireland in October. Hopefully over the summer I'll be able to share some case studies using the records I've been discussing since the beginning of the year. Stay tuned.

Happy Hunting!

Still need some DNA Kits for summer travel or reunions? Check out my Promotions page on Wednesday or Thursday for 4th of July specials.

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