Mar 092011

My cell phone is always with me and I find myself using the camera feature more and more because of that simple fact.  Any time I’m at family’s homes and I see a photo on the wall, or in a photo album, I simply take out my Motorola Droid cellphone and I snap a photo.  When I get home,  I transfer that photo to my computer and view it with Picasa.

Taking Pictures of Pictures

So, here is a picture of my Great Grandmother, Mae Manning Noyes, with her 3 children including my Grandfather, Ed Noyes and his brothers Jasper and Francis.  How do I know for sure their identities?  Because I photographed the handwritten note along with the photo!

Take Pictures of Letters

I also noticed an envelope stuck in the photo album, so I opened it up and found a handwritten letter full of information on the family genealogy.  What a find!  How do I preserve this?  Take a picture of it with my phone!  I started feeling like a spy in a movie with my tiny camera (disguised as a cellphone) snapping away at everything I saw.

Original photo of letter

After using Picasa: ‘I’m feeling Lucky’ Neutral Color Picker, and Sharpen

Take Pictures of Newspaper Clippings

Newspaper clippings are great also.  I wouldn’t dare try to take this clipping out of it’s photo album because it would probably disintegrate in my fingers.  Just snap a photo of it and clean it up a little in Picasa:

Original photo, snapped with my Droid cellphone and imported to Picasa After using Picasa: ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’, B&W, Sharpen

Adding Captions and Dates

If you know who is in the picture and any other details, it only takes a second to type that information as a caption in Picasa.  Then that can be shared either by printing it, or by uploading to a Web Album.  Share the web album with everyone in your family, and encourage them to upload photos to it as well!  See previous tip on Collaborating with Picasa Web Albums.

If you know the date of a photo, you may want to change the actual date of the file.  Picasa makes that easy with Tools, Adjust Date and Time…  If you do this with all your old photos, you can then sort them by date.

Pictures of Books

If you’re a serious student of Genealogy, you  probably visit courthouses and other places where they keep books of records.  If you don’t want to go thru the hassle of requesting copies of important records, consider just asking to see them, then snap a photo of the important parts.  I haven’t gone to any courthouses, but I did snap a photo of some pages in my Mom’s high school yearbook.  How cool to have captured the autographs along with the friends’ full names.

Since we presented our Picasa and Blogger seminars to the North Brevard Genealogical Society in February, it has opened my eyes to how Picasa can help in that research.  If you are interested in Genealogical research, check out Cyndi’s List of Blogs about Genealogy.  We learned about this from the folks at our seminar and it is a wealth of information.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

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  One Response to “Picasa and a Cell Phone are Genealogist’s Tools”

  1. My computer crashed and when my backup restored photos, it caused me to have from 5-10 copies of each photo.
    I began to delete the extras in My Pictures but they are still in Picasa.
    Should I close out picasa and start fresh?

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