Monday, September 28, 2009

Facial Recognition Programs

Hi again. I am off work today preparing for a talk at a local genealogical club so I figured I would post a new article to my blog. Have you ever gone through an old box of photos and wondered who those people were? I know that has happened to more than a few of us. How did you solve this mystery? Many times we bring the photos to another relative hoping they remember who they are. Sometimes we find one photo with a name on it and try to match the others to it. Other times we just close the box and put it on the top shelf hoping to one day take up the task again. Some of us might scan them and keep large folders of unknown pictures on our computer (this is what I do).

Today I am going to discuss some options that use facial recognition technology to help you find those mystery faces. A few weeks ago, (ok, maybe it was a few months ago) I wrote an article about MyHeritage.com. This site lets you upload your scanned photos to an online family tree and it searches the pictures for faces. The faces are then grouped by similarity and you can add names to them. This is an easy way to search through your photos. There is a subscription fee and there are limits to the number of photos you can store there. But it is a great help in doing your research since you can tie the photos directly to your family tree for others to look at. This site also allows you to invite relatives to add more information about the people in your tree.

Another online site is the Picasaweb photo albums at Google (http://picasaweb.google.com). This site lets you upload online photo albums that you can geotag and add comments to. It also goes through your photos and groups similar faces for you to add names to. You can select a person from your album and see all the pictures with that person. You can send out invitations to the people in the pictures as well as anyone else so they can add comments. Geotagging is a nice addition also. This allows you to tag the picture to a specific place on Google Maps. With this ability, you can map out all of your cemetery photos and show your vacation photos on a map. One shortfall is that this site has a limit to the number of pictures you can upload and share.

The third program that I will discuss today is the downloadable program Picasa. Picasa is a program developed by Google and can be downloaded at http://picasa.google.com/. This program searches your computer for all the photos and sorts them by similar faces. The interesting thing about this program is the ability to find faces. I have seen it pull faces from photographs hanging on the wall behind the people you intended to photograph. I really like this program since it looks through all of the photos on your computer searching for faces and there is no limit as to the number of pictures it will search. It could take a while to go through all of your pictures if you have a large number of them. I really like this program for other reasons also. As you tag faces, the program tells you who is associated with that person in other pictures. This program also allows for geotagging, placing comments on pictures and acts as the interface between your digital camera and the computer. You can also edit your photographs in Picasa. It does a lot for a free program.

I hope you try out some of these suggestions with your photo collections.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cocoa Florida Stake Prepares for Genealogy Conference

The Cocoa Florida Stake is hosting a Family History Seminar on November 7, 2009. This will be a great event with several sessions running through the day. I will be presenting two of the talks. Put it on your calendar and join us in Florida for a day. More info will be available on their website at http://www.cocoafloridastake.org/.