MyHeritage’s New Photo Tool Adds Life to Old Pictures

Updates: MyHeritage has just announced that it’s new color tool will be free until April 22 on account of the coronavirus keeping so many people home. They also changed their subscription model so there’s now a slightly more affordable subscription option if you want access to it forever. Have fun!
Sometime earlier this week, I received a promotional email from MyHeritage, an Ancestry.com-like website where you can upload and maintain your family tree online. I normally ignore their emails because they send so many, but a distant cousin had reached out to me on their site just last week and subsequently helped answer a family mystery (more on that later!), so I’ve been curious about what MyHeritage has to offer me. I opened the email.

You guys, THIS IS SO EXCITING!

MyHeritage just released MyHeritage In Color (TM), and it’s amazing. You can upload any black and white photo (even if you’ve patched it up in Photoshop, messed with the contrast, and applied a filter like yours truly does frequently), and an algorithm works in the background to transform the photo into color.

Apparently, there’s some room for error in terms of pixel color, but I’ve been really pleased with the photos I’ve run through the system. I have run into a few glitches with files not being recognized or the processor erroring out, but it seems to work more often than not.

MyHeritage does include a small icon on the bottom left to indicate the photo has been colorized to preserve historical integrity and a MyHeritage logo on the bottom right if you don’t have their Complete subscription ($209 annually for the first year and $299 annually after that – I know. Wowza! Probably this is why I haven’t delved into this site much before now.).

Obviously, releasing this tool is an incredibly smart move by MyHeritage, since photos are social currency online these days and most of us have very little incentive to upload our personal ancestry photos otherwise. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea.

It’s worth noting that they currently erect their paywall at 10 photos, so choose wisely unless you’re ready to sell your house and do the annual subscription.

I decided to try some of the oldest photos and some group photos I have since they would be the most fun to see in color. Here’s what I got back.

Happy coloring!

 

Statica en Dynamica

Before he passed away recently, my great uncle, Morris Kool, passed a couple ancestry items on to me. This one, “Statica en Dynamica,” is a real gem. My great-grandfather, Cornelis Kool, earned a doctorate (I believe in economics) and his thesis was this book from 1935. I’ll include some photos here of the cover, inscription, first few pages, and insert.

Visiting the Netherlands for the first time

 I am visiting the Netherlands and exploring Amsterdam with my mom ahead of a reunion with the Lopes-Cardozo side of the family in Loosdrecht. Amsterdam is a beautiful, bustling city with many canals, tastey sea food, something like a million bicycles, and excellent public transportation. 

Since arriving, I’ve been taking advantage of vacation hours and sleeping in and then we’ve leisurely ventured out into the city. We visited the Dutch Resistance Museum, where we learned about how the Royal Family stood against the Nazis from afar, factory workers would spontaneously strike in solidarity, even though they were sometimes executed for it, and about the 1,300 resistance newspapers popped up throughout the war. The museum had a couple copies of Je Maintiendrai, which was exciting to see, since it was something I blogged about before. 


Also, just seeing the waterways and buildings makes it easier to imagine what life would have been like when my ancestors lived here. 

It’s funny, but since what I know of them is usually text on paper or black and white photos, their lives have less color in my mind’s eye than they did in actuality. 

Tomorrow, we will get to meet Cousin Anje in the flesh (very exciting since she’s helped me so much with this blog over the years), and then we’ll be off to Loosdrecht, and Paris (just for fun).

To share more of my trip with you,  here are some of the just-for-fun photos I have captured so far…

A different perspective of the not-so-secret secret Begijnhof Courtyard.

Trams running through downtown.

A quick peek through a cheese shop window.

Europe has some striking graffiti.

It wasn’t even commuter hour yet and the streets were filled. This is just after a line of cyclists passed by.

In Vondel Park, lockets with names inscribed line the iron on this small bridge.

Religious sculptures in the wall of abuilding in Begijnhof Courtyard.

If you kept reading this far, you deserve to see me make a fool of myself over seeing my first Dutch windmill. You are welcome.