Scanning the Ancestral Faces

CanoScan 8400FThey say that great minds think alike.  Well, for once the Commander and I were on the same wavelength.  He has always had two scanners in his computer room in the basement so everytime I wanted something scanned, I had to take it to him and then wait for him to get around to it.    Since we’ve been back from our Heritage Quest, I have wanted to start scanning the many old photographs that I have of my relatives so that I can start doing some digital scrapbooking to prepare some heritage albums for the Graf side of the family.  I got to thinking that it might be smarter to have one of the scanners moved up to my workspace.  Yay!  The Commander had the same idea.

WorkstationI wasted no time in clearing off a space on my computer desk for the Canon Canoscan 8400F that we were planning to move and that left hubby no excuse not to move it upstairs and install it.  Hooray!  I had already gone through and picked out quite a few photos that I wanted to scan so I was more than ready to begin the process.  I was so pleasantly surprised to discover how fast this scanner can scan my pictures.  I’m using it in conjunction with the Creative Memories Memory Manager program so after I scan multiple photos on one scan, the Memory Manager program gives me the ability to isolate each image and import it into my editing program and then Memory Vault.  Easy Peasey!

Some of the images I’m saving are just delightful.  I think I mentioned in this blog earlier that my mother had shared how she had never lCloseup of Mom as toddler with Emil and her dadiked her grandfather, Emil Graf very much because she didn’t think he cared much for young children.  She was pretty young when she was around him.  As I learn more about my great-grandfather, I can easily understand how she might have that feeling.  He certainly comes off as a no-nonsense, unsentimental kind of fellow.  My mother, on the other hand, was a whimsical, mischievious little kid.  Look at this picture.  Her father is on the left and that’s my mother in the middle.  Emil Graf, Mom’s grandfather is on the right.  This was taken when the family traveled to Florida to visit Emil after he moved to St. Cloud, which was a mecca for Civil War veterans.  Doesn’t she look like she’d rather be anywhere but posing for that picture?  Grandpa doesn’t look too thrilled either.  Notice how he is keeping his distance?

Conrad and Marguerite Graf with Widow Hollenbach and Emil Graf and othersHere is another picture that cracks me up.  My grandfather is the man on the left, the lady holding my mother firmly in place is the Widow Hollenbach who my great-grandfather, Emil Graf married after he was widowed so that he’d have someone to look after him.  Isn’t her hat marvelous?  Could she have found any hat more unattractive if she had tried?  Emil is the man with his arms firmly crossed.  I have no idea who the other two are in the picture, although I suspect that the lady all the way to the left is the daughter of the widow.  She is in other pictures with the widow.  Anyway, if you look closely at the expressions of my mother and her grandfather, they have the same scowls.  If she had her arms crossed, she’d be the spitting image of him.  I think part of the problem was that they were two very strong personalities.

Graf outing in an orchardHere’s another great picture.  I call it “Grafs in an Orchard.”  The extended family has gone out on a jaunt in the auto to an orchard.  When I look closely at the photo I see that the tree on the right has fruit on its branches.  Emil’s sons, Emil and Conrad (who are on the ends of the group) are both holding half-eaten pieces of fruit, as is the lady next to Emil, Sr.  The little boy in the dark suit also has some fruit in his hand.  Interestingly, the lady and Conrad are both holding spoons so apparently, they were using the spoons to scoop out the meat of the fruit.  My grandmother ((second from the right) is standing next to her husband, Conrad.  I particularly love the fact that the little dog has been captured on film just as he is about to take a roll in the grass.

Grandpa with CatWhen you are going through old photos and able to scan them into your computer, you are able to save delightful photos like this one.  Here is my grandpa sitting up against the side of the farmhouse after a snowfall.  He’s wearing a stovepipe hat, of all things, and holding a white cat.  He always loved animals and I think this photo captures that  AND a streak of whimsey that I had never seen as a kid.  How else to explain the  hat set atop the old workclothes?  I’d like to think that the smudge of snow on his knee might have even come from a snowball flung by my mom right before the picture was snapped.

Unretouched PhotoAnother big advantage to scanning photos into a photo editing program is that you can do some touchup work.  The photo on the left is of Emil Graf’s children posing beside the auto that we had previously seen in the orchard shot.  Over time, the photograph has developed some smudges, fingerprints, and a section on my grandpa’s trousers where the image has come away when it stuck to another photograph.  There are also white spots in the background that appeared when the photo was developed.

Grafs by CarHere is the same photo after I did some simple photo touch-up work in the Memory Manager program that I use.  I managed to get rid of the white spots, the fingerprint, and the smudge on the trousers.  I’m telling you, a good photo editing program is worth its weight in gold.

If you are at all interested in working on your family tree and have some old photographs, I’d highly recommend investing in a scanner and photo editing program.  There are many out there and they don’t necessarily have to be expensive to work well.  You’ll open up a whole other dimension to your research when you can preserve these images AND you’ll be surprised at the clues a simple photograph can reveal as you travel on your own “Heritage Quest.”

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