Lights! Camera! COLOR!!

This is a quick post about something I read about the other day. Maureen Taylor, a.k.a. The Photo Detective, specializes in old photographs (she's amazing) and posted about MyHeritage.com and it's new photo tool that will take an uploaded black-and-white photo and colorize it.


NOT in days, as it takes me to do in Photoshop – mostly because I am still learning how – but in mere seconds.


Above is a recent purchase from eBay of what appears to be a church of some sort. With that photo was this portrait of a group of men and women. Below is the colorized version from MyHeritage.



I'm not surprised this process has been automated to this degree. But I am surprised at how great it looks, and how it really makes the people "pop" to the eye. I love black-and-white photography, because there is truly an art to it. But, I have to say, the color version is pretty cool, too.


Below is a photo that I scanned from a woman with family here in Trimble County, Kentucky. (Thanks, Kay Sachleben Barnes!) It is one of about 200 photos I selected to use in my second book: "Images of America: Trimble County," published in 2015 by Arcadia Publishing. (Yes, this is a shameless plug. It's available here; it's sister publication, "Images of America: Carroll County" is available here.)


Edward Sachleben was a bus driver for the county school district. Can you imagine if he could see what buses are like today?



Colorized at MyHeritage:



Pretty amazing!


Give it a try for yourself! The colorization process, outlined on their blog, is free for your first several photos, but after the trial a subscription is required.


MyHeritage is a subscription website that also offers DNA testing. The site offers a free trial and also allows someone who has tested elsewhere to upload their raw data (the file created by the company that provided the DNA test).


For about $20, you can unlock all the extra features for the DNA portion of the site, as opposed to buying a new kit for $59 (current sale price; regular price is $79). Subscriptions to the full website, which allows users to search the site's database and build family trees, cost $129 to $189 annually.


However, if you are really interested in finding different information, some of my genetic genealogy colleagues advise taking the tests at each of the companies, rather than uploading results from one test.

Why? Because each company has different methods for testing, and use different algorithms for estimating a tester's ethnicity. So, testing at all of them directly can reveal information you might not otherwise receive. Keep in mind, of course, that ethnicity estimates are exactly that – estimates. Some companies do this more accurately than others; MyHeritage, today, is not one of those.


What MyHeritage does have is more testers from outside of the United States, which means you are more likely to find cousins who still live in the countries where your ancestors once lived.


Happy Colorizing!