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Technology Tip: restoring old photographs

With today's technology, not much really surprises me anymore. However, as I am writing this, I am nearly stunned at what I am looking at.

I have a brittle, old photograph of my 3rd great-grandfather, David Brown (there I go again talking about my Browns...). Time has faded and cracked the photo. Many years ago I scanned/digitized the photo to preserve its current state. I really did not think there was much hope in ever restoring the photo to my satisfaction.

When Miles Abernathy (of and a fellow genealogist) offered to touch up one of my worst photos I knew exactly the one to send him. Less than a day later he emailed me the results. And here I sit, still comparing the differences, stunned. Here are the before and afters. You really need to enlarge the image (click on it) to appreciate the details:

Remarkable, isn't it?

While I've never claimed to be a photo restoration expert, I know enough to do some good things with photos. Seeing what Miles did for David's photo gives me a greater appreciation for the experts out there. The experts certainly make use of the photo editing software's "Clone" tool.

Four years ago my son scored his first-ever goal for his soccer team. Of course we were all excited, and I even happened to get a picture of his reaction immediately afterwards. Also a part of the picture was another person, whom we've nick-named "Muscle-Man". While I'm sure he's a great person, I didn't want him to be a part of this picture. Using the "Clone" tool it was pretty easy to remove him. I know ... some will think that I've "changed history" now, and normally I like things just the way they are to preserve history, but my son is happy.


While I haven't even scratched the surface in this article, there are thousands of websites and books with tips and advice on how to restore and preserve your photographs. Cyndi's List lists 51 such resources here.

What about you? What experiences have you had in restoring old photographs or "cloning" to touch up your digital images? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Why you should take a second look at a document you've had for years

Sample - brownasa You know him as the guy in Legacy's sample file, or as the guy that I'm always using in my Legacy classes. Some of you have confessed that you know more about him than you do your own ancestors. Some have even suggested that some day I should focus on a different ancestor. We all have a favorite ancestor though, don't we?

Asa Clark Brown is my 4th great-grandfather, and he is ... great! Not only have I developed respect for him, but researching his family has developed and fine-tuned my skills as a genealogist.

One of my favorite documents of his is this 1936 illustration sketched by one of his descendants and published in a Minnesota newspaper 70 years after Asa's death.


Not only is it fun to see my ancestor in a newspaper like this, but the illustration has some great genealogical clues. I already knew about his sons' military service and thought that I had documented all of it. I took another look at this today to be sure that I had all 7 sons' and 5 grandsons' military service accounted for. only knew about 6 of his sons' service in the Civil War.

Asa had at least nine sons from two marriages:

  • male BROWN, born about 1815
  • Nathan R. BROWN, born about 1817 - served in Minnesota's 8th regiment, company A
  • male BROWN, born about 1819
  • Lorenzo D. BROWN, born in 1822 - served in Minnesota's 8th regiment, company K
  • Joshua Marsden BROWN, born in 1833 - served in Pennsylvania's 63rd regiment, company D
  • Samuel BROWN, born in 1835
  • William C. BROWN, born in 1841 - served in Minnesota's 6th regiment, company D
  • John W. BROWN, born in 1843 - served in Minnesota's 6th regiment, company D
  • David Clark BROWN, born in 1846 - served in Minnesota's 6th regiment, company D

As you can see, I have three choices. I'll probably start with Samuel. Because of his common name I haven't yet identified him beyond the 1850 Pennsylvania census, but with his exact date of birth (from the family bible) I'm once again anxious to find him. Maybe he's the 7th Civil War son.

Who would have thought that a newspaper illustration, seventy years after Asa's death, could provide such an invaluable clue? This clue of the missing 7th Civil War son was just what I needed to get my day started.

What about you? Have you discovered "new" information by taking a second look at a document years later?

Legacy tip - using the Research Notes

Thanks to my use of Legacy Family Tree's Research Notes, today I had another Genealogy Happy Dance.

Researchnotes1As you know, clicking on a person's Notes icon opens their Notes screen where three different tabs appear: General, Research, and Medical.

So what goes where and why? Many researchers use the General tab to record the biography of the ancestor. Others use it to build a person's timeline. Others just record random thoughts.

The Medical Notes is where the cause of death can be recorded, as well as any medical history for the individual.

The Research Notes, if used correctly, can be one of your greatest research tools. Let me explain.

I've researched Nathan R. Brown's family for a good number of years. But for some reason I've never been able to locate him in the 1870 U.S. census. Looking at Nathan's To Do List / Research Log, it looks like I first started searching for him in this census back in September 2000. I did locate a few Nathan Browns in Minnesota, where, according to his Chronology View, he should have been living. There was one particular entry of a Nathan Brown in Dakota County which looked promising, but ten years ago I did not have enough information to determine if this was the correct family.

So years went by, and every now and then I would perform new searches in the online indexes. This morning, as I searched for him again, I noticed that his Research Notes had a comment about a possible entry in the 1870 census. I must have written this comment almost ten years ago, but had not paid attention to it until today. Knowing what I know today about this family, the comment made a lot more sense. The entry in Dakota County sounded like it was the right family. However, searching the's indexes provided no Nathan Brown entries in Dakota county. I switched over to the FamilySearch census records (no subscription required) and quickly found the family (another big thanks to the FamilySearch Indexing volunteers - the indexes always seem to be more accurate than others).

So...a seemingly random comment in his Research Notes helped me find the elusive record. Now on to more important uses of the Research Notes....

Have any of you ever been stuck on a research problem and asked someone else for help? What is the first thing your "consultant" asks of you? Usually they ask, "what records have you already looked at?" If you use the To Do List and the Research Notes, then it is easy for you to 1) provide a list of which records you have consulted (positive or negative findings), 2) explain what you learned from what you found and did not find, and 3) explain your conclusions. Your consultant then has a better idea of what to suggest. Maybe you overlooked a record, or made a wrong inference from a record. If you use the Research Notes to explain what you are researching, others are more well-equipped to assist your efforts.

Have you ever stepped away from your genealogy for more than a day? It's sad, but sometimes this happens to some of us. Sometimes we even neglect our research for months, even years. Or maybe you'll have so much fun on this year's Legacy Genealogy Cruise that when you return, you have no idea where you left off. If you use the Research Notes to explain what you are researching, then you, or anyone else can pick up where you left off.

In the example below, I typed what I wanted to learn in bold lettering. I wanted to know if Asa Brown had other siblings. Then, as I begin my research to answer the question, I explain what records I am looking at and what I learn from them. As other thoughts come to mind during the process, I write them down so I do not forget. In this case, I did prove that he had other siblings. If anyone questions my findings, I can quickly open his Research Notes for the explanation.

Researchnotes2 not worry about not having used the Research Notes in the past. Start today. Pick an ancestor that you want to work on. At the top of their Research Notes, type your goal (Find John Smith's parents.) Then, record your progress. When you are stuck, copy/paste what you have into an email and send it to a friend to see if they have any ideas. When you find a person's parents, record here how you did it. Using a combination of the Research Notes, the To Do List, Legacy's Research Guidance, and especially Legacy's Chronology View will make you a better, more successful researcher.

Another new Legacy User Group - Fresno, California

Announcing the newest Legacy User Group - this time in Fresno, California.

Melissa, the leader of the group, wrote "so many were excited after your presentation in November! We've been meeting for a couple of months now and are having a great turnout."

Yes, Fresno has a great group of genealogists, and I have no doubt that their new Legacy user group will inspire and help many. Most recently, they have been reviewing the Legacy training videos and then having a question/answer time.

The group meets the first Saturday of the month from 10am to noon at the California History & Genealogy Room of the Fresno County Library (2420 Mariposa St., Fresno, CA) 2nd floor. For more information, please contact Melissa via email or telephone at 559-488-6720.

Mozy 2.0 Backup Software is now available

This article should only be read by those who have a computer....

I believe there are only two types of computer users in the world - 1) One whose computer has crashed and 2) One whose computer will crash.

In November 2008 I joined the first group when upon my return from a nice Sunday car ride I found my computer smoking. I lost everything. Thankfully, just one month earlier I had signed up for an online backup service from which I recovered all of my data.

For the past nineteen months, at 10:00pm, my backup software has identified any new or modified files on my computer (my Legacy file, pictures, financial data, videos, etc.) and automatically backed them up to an off-site storage device. I get to choose the time of day, and can choose specifically which files and folders I want to include in my backup. My biggest benefit from the service is the peace of mind I have knowing that everything is protected.

A common concern with using an online/offsite backup service is what happens to your data if/when that company goes out of business? Is your data still safe? You would think that every company has measures built in to protect your data. Nonetheless, I recommend using both an online/offsite backup service AND keep a good backup of all of your files yourself.

Up to now, I have used my online/offsite backup service AND I have used additional software to backup those same files to an external hard drive. With the just-released Mozy 2.0, it will do both - automatically. In other words, it will backup my files both to 1) their storage media and to 2) my storage media (my external hard drive) at the same time.

This new feature, the ability to backup to both places at the same time, comes at no additional cost. In fact, if you have less than 2GB of data, their service is entirely free. This 2GB is certainly more than enough space to backup your Legacy family file (and more) if that's the only important thing you have on your computer. Any more than that costs less than five dollars a month. I'm now up to over 176GB of data being backed up, and I still pay the same amount. In fact, I signed up for a two-year plan and got three months free.

Because our company relies on Mozy's services, we've recently partnered with them, allowing us to give our Legacy customers a 10% discount. If you haven't already, I would at least sign up for the free account to get started. If you want unlimited backup space, then click here to sign up. Use the coupon code of MAY at checkout. I'm guessing this expires at the end of ... May. (If you're reading this after May, try JUNE - who knows, it might work.)

If you are an existing Mozy 1.0 user, you can upgrade to 2.0 at no charge here. Their new features include:

New, easy-to-use interface. A sound backup strategy involves both a local and an offsite copy of your data. The latest in Mozy innovation delivers both with Mozy 2xProtect™, included in Mozy 2.0 for Windows.

Mozy 2xProtect. Mozy 2xProtect™ automatically backs up files locally to an external drive in addition to a Mozy data center for double protection of your personal and business information.

Faster than ever. Mozy 2.0 prepares files up to 75 percent faster than previous versions and transfers up to 25 percent faster. You can pause a backup and see the backup status of your files to ensure they're protected in the new status window.

Here are some other articles we've previously written about backups:

How I survived my first computer crash

Online backup service brings peace of mind

How often should you backup your computer

Having a good backup strategy is something that you have all heard about. But still, every week, we have a handful of customers telling us about their recent computer crash and that they've lost everything. So unless you are in the middle of filling out the registration form to attend our 2010 Legacy Genealogy Cruise, drop what you are doing and get started with some kind of backup plan.

Why do I have so many ancestors without sources?

Since "genealogy without documentation is mythology", or hearsay, why then do I have so many ancestors without sources?

I admit, when I was brand new in researching my ancestors, I was excited to find anything. I did not really care where it came from, nor did I record the citations. There's probably just a few of you that can relate. :)

It is simple to know when I have not recorded a source for a person. In Legacy Family Tree's Family View (see image below), just take a look at the Source icon. If it is black and white, there are no sources recorded for that person. If it is colorful, then you have added the source.


Legacy's Missing Sources tool makes it even easier for you to locate persons for whom you have not recorded the source. Access this tool by going to Search > Find > Missing Sources tab. Below is what the screen looks like (click to enlarge). In this example, I selected:

  • Name
  • Birth Date and Place
  • Death Date and Place
  • Burial Date and Place
  • Marriage Date and Place
  • and the option that "ALL of the selected fields must be missing sources for a match"

In other words, this will show me a list of persons where I am missing a source for each of these events.

After clicking on the Create List button, Legacy displayed a list of names that met these criteria. I then took a couple of anti-depressant pills.

Some of the people in the resulting Search List were my 13th cousins, five times removed. While I'm sure they were good people, I really wanted to see a list of my direct ancestors who did not have sources. To do this requires a couple of steps.

1) First create a list of your direct ancestors (great grandparents, great-great grandparents, etc.)

  • Click on the Miscellaneous tab (just to the left of the Missing Sources tab) and click on the "View / Select Focus Group" button.
  • Click on "Add an Individual and Ancestors", make sure that you are the selected person, and click OK. Click OK again.
  • Click on the "Create List" button.

2) Now that you have filtered your list, let's just search these names for those without sources.

  • With the Search List still open, click on the Search button, and click on Find.
  • On the Missing Sources tab, make your selections.
  • Before clicking on the Create List button, in the lower left, select "Only search the Search List".

The resulting Search list displays a list of your direct ancestors with no sources. Yikes! Hopefully you do not have too many in this list. If you do, you now know what you will be working on for the next few months. At any time this list can be printed, or better yet, you can "tag" everyone in this list for quick reference later on. (Watch a video on tagging here.)

Thankfully, none of my "Brown" family showed up in the list....

New Legacy User Group in North Carolina

Legacy Family Tree user groups are popping up everywhere these days. This time in North Carolina.

If you live in the Murphy/Hayesville area of North Carolina we invite you to participate in the newest Legacy User Group. The first meeting will be held June 2, 2010.

The group will normally meet on the 2nd Wednesday night of each month at the Moss Library in Hayesville. The meetings will start at 6:30pm and last about two hours. The June meeting is scheduled for the 1st Wednesday (June 2) due to some other scheduled events.

The meetings are open to the public and are free. The programs will generally have a special presentation and then a work period to work on individual problems.

For more information, please contact Bobby Johnson.

For more information about our Legacy User Groups, please click here.

Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2010 - Australia/New Zealand - Nov 8-21

The 7th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, held November 8-21, 2010, starts and ends in Sydney, Australia and visits the following New Zealand ports: Fjordland National Park, Dunedin (Port Chalmers), Christchurch (Lyttelton), Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands. We will sail on Princess Cruises Sun Princess ship. There is still room but time is getting short.

Experience Australia and New Zealand the way you've always dreamed.

NewzealandAustralia and New Zealand provide some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes in the world. Spotlight the bustling metropolises of Sydney and Auckland, plus the incredible wildlife on land and at sea, and you have all the elements for a truly memorable vacation. From the sophistication of the Opera House and the world-class wineries, to the rugged individualism of the Outback and its inhabitants, Australia and New Zealand possess a wonderful diversity of sights, activities and cultures. Few travel experiences can rival the excitement of sailing into the glistening harbors of Sydney and Auckland, as well as inspiring attractions, such as scenic Fjordland National Park, just to name a few.

Genealogy Classes At Sea

On the days we are at sea attend the Legacy Family Tree genealogy classes and learn the real secrets to becoming an expert with Legacy and improving the way you do your research. Go home with the knowledge and tools you need to be more successful than you ever thought possible. You will be learning directly from the experts. Last year's classes were recorded for each of the students so they could replay them at home.

The Ship

Pool Our ship, the Sun Princess, has more than 400 balcony staterooms, so you can wake up to your own exclusive vista. Take a dip in one of three spacious pools or spend your evening at one of the show lounges with unique performances each night. Dining options are also plentiful, including two formal dining rooms, the Sterling Steakhouse and the 24-hour Horizon Court. And don't miss the Lotus Spa for some pampering.

Reservations or Questions

Prices begin at US $1595 per person, double occupancy. The price includes:

  • genealogy classes
  • shipboard accommodations
  • ocean transportation
  • meals
  • some beverages
  • most onboard entertainment

Port charges, taxes, gratuities, airfare and optional tours are extra.

Click here to securely book your cruise online.

To reserve a cabin, or ask questions, contact our travel agency, Trekalot at 888-505-6997 or send an email to [email protected].

More Information

For class descriptions, frequently asked questions, descriptions of the places we'll visit, or pictures of our past cruises, visit

New Legacy user group forming in Tarrant County, Texas

We are excited to announce a new Legacy Family Tree user group in Tarrant County, Texas. If you live in the area, don't miss out on this great opportunity to learn and share about Legacy.

This new group will meet the second Saturday of each month (except for December) from 2:00-4:00pm at the Arlington Texas Stake Family History Center, 3809 Curt Drive in Arlington. Each meeting will include a main presentation and a question/answer session.

For more information, please contact Ila Johnson.

Is there a Legacy User Group where you live?

"Official" Legacy User Groups are located in:

  • Australia
    • Queensland
    • South Australia
    • Victoria
  • Canada
    • Alberta
    • British Columbia
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
    •  Auckland
    • Hamilton
    • Hibiscus Coast
    • Kapiti
  • Norway
  • United States
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Florida
    • Indiana
    • Massachusetts
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Washington

For more information on these groups, please click here. If your group is not listed, please let us know.

Legacy User Groups can vary from email or telephone contact lists to organizations that meet regularly to conduct workshops, provide informative speakers, discuss problems and share solutions. Each Legacy User Group determines its particular structure, goals, and officers. Although Millennia Corporation does not sponsor or direct Legacy User Groups, we do help interested persons make contact with groups or others who may want to form a group.

If you would like to form a group in your area, all you need is one interested and enthusiastic person to get it going. Let us know if you'd like help to get going and we can advertise here in Legacy News.

Legacy presentation in Quebec, Canada May 20

This event did not make it into our earlier publication of Legacy events for May. If you live nearby Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, you have a great opportunity to hear from two members of our French translation team on Thursday, May 20, 2010. They will speak about the French version of Legacy Family Tree, their participation with the translation, and will answer questions about the software.

The event will be held in the Conference Room, Société de Généalogie de l'Outaouais beginning at 7:30pm. Contact Claude Langevin for more information.

French Did you know?

Legacy Family Tree is currently available in the following languages:

  • Danish
  • German
  • Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Czech
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Canada)
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (USA)

To switch languages, go to Options > Select Language.