The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Label Digital Family Photos with New (Free!) FotoTagger Software

Before I begin, I’d like to offer the standard "lapsed blog" apology:

I can’t believe it’s been three months! When I started this blog I thought I’d write every day. I’m really sorry. I’ll try to do better.

Now that that’s over with, I can talk about a neat little software tool for annotating (attaching text tags to) photographs. Genealogists can use this to label:

- The names of people in an old family photo. (This is a great way to share old family pictures with relations in different parts of the country or world.)

- The location of landmarks in a landscape or overhead photo.

- The scanned-in image of a source document (Source documents text isn’t always readable because of quality or handwriting. You can interpret the document by annotating each entry on it.)

Even better … it’s free! I downloaded it myself today to make sure it was all on the up and up. Furthermore, you won’t be bothered by pop-ups or ads. The software developer is interested in making this software part of the open source code community. (As I understand it – or rather, don’t understand but a part of it – open source software is a whole different animal from the typical “build software – sell for massive profit margin” business model. But I won’t pretend to know any more about it than that. Suffice to say this software didn’t destroy my laptop.)

My dad tediously scanned in all of our old family photos, so I grabbed a couple of my favorites and played with them in FotoTagger. Here’s one result (click on it to open it in its own window):

My grandmother, Emma Jean Hunter, in the late 1930s. We don t know who this cute guy is! Look at his two-piece bathing suit! It s a posed picture, but they look pretty comfortable with each other!
FTMy grandmother, Emma Jean Hunter, in the late 1930s.
We don\'t know who this cute guy is!

If you upload your pictures to Blogger or Flickr (a place to store and share your pictures), others can hide/show the annotations you’ve added. But if you email or upload the FotoTagger image, you have to decide if you’re going to merge the annotations into the original digital photo. In that case, others would see the annotations, but they’d permanently be part of the image and they wouldn’t be able to use the hide/show feature.

It appears that if you save the image with the FotoTagger annotations and then open the image in software program that doesn’t support FotoTagger, the annotations just don’t appear and the photo looks like the original version. However, just to be safe, I would save your original photo under a different name *before* you start experimenting. Here’s another photograph from the same time period. Doesn’t it look like they’re having a great time?

Here s the mystery man again. Doesn t this picture seem so carefree? Same bathing suit. Different dress. Notice their reflection in the water.Is this a leaky canoe, or what?
FTHere\'s the mystery man again. Doesn\'t this picture seem so carefree?

Hope you have fun this Labor Day weekend. And if you end up downloading FotoTagger at, make sure to share your results with your family!

~Mary Kaye


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