Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Technology Tuesday: Then and Now, What Was There?

I recently stumbled across a new website that is really fun for history buffs, and works fabulously for genealogists!  It's called What Was There? and it allows you to take an old photograph - say, of your great, great, great grandparents' house, like this:

Then find the place where it belongs on a Google Streetview map, like this:

...and position the old photo directly over the current image, then use a nifty "fade bar" to fade the image from then to now!  When you've got the fade bar about in the middle, the results can even be ghostly!  (Can you see the ghosts of the Mann family hanging around their house about 130 years later?)  How cool is that? 

To see this image on What Was There?, go here:  http://whatwasthere.com/b/4645 and try the fade bar for yourself.  Then try uploading a family photo of your own to see how cool it is!  It's free, it's easy, and it's a fun little bit of history to share with your family and the world.

Be sure to come back and let me know if you try it - I'd love to see what you come up with!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One hundred seventeen years later... My answer to the Genealogy Photo Challenge

Have you heard of photos taken in the "Dear Photograph" style?  No?  I hadn't either.  But when I read about the Genealogy Photo Challenge being put on by The Family Curator blog for World Photography Day on August 19th, I realized I had already taken THE perfect "Dear Photograph" photo!

In a nutshell, a "Dear Photograph" photo is when you find an old picture, you go to the same spot where the photo was taken years ago, you hold up the photo and frame it in the same perspective, and take a new photo!  Very cool idea.

My entry, which I've already shared on my "Graveyard Hopping" blog, is absolutely genealogy-related as well as cemetery-related.  The vintage photograph shows my great, great, great grandfather standing at the grave of my great, great, great grandmother (his wife of 52 years), circa 1893.

John Mann at Nancy Mann's grave.

I got this fabulous photo from a distant cousin I met on Ancestry.com.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest.  I, however, happen to live just miles from the very cemetery where these ancestors are buried!  I made the hop, took the photo, and here is my "Dear Photograph," past-is-present picture:

The grave of Nancy Power Mann, circa 1893, and 117 years later in 2010

In the present, the plot looks a little forlorn. The stones surrounding Nancy's grave and the small headstone on her plot are gone, as is the urn that stood at the top of the family headstone.  Originally there also seem to have been one or two small trees or ornamental shrubs planted on Nancy's grave; those are gone as well.  

I felt an awesome connectedness with my 3x great grandpa as I looked at the spot from the very same perspective as the picture of him standing at the grave.  

This kind of past-is-present photo is a really neat thing to try, and is an especially good project for the genealogically-minded person.  If you'd like to see lots more of these, be sure to visit The Family Curator blog on August 19th, when the Curator will post a round-up article of contributions in honor of World Photography Day.  I know I won't miss it!  

Along these very sames lines, I have an awesome new website to share with you in my next post!

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