Breathing new life into old photos since 2012.

Tag: photograph

52 Ancestors, No. 22. Peter Staaf: A case study in interpreting picture labels


Today’s subject is my great-great-great-grandfather, Peter Staaf. This is my grandmother’s great-grandfather, that is, my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s father. Peter was the immigrant ancestor of this line. I found his passenger list on, which led me to his hometown of Sterbfritz, which is right in the heart of Germany. He left that place and arrived in Baltimore on the sixth of May, 1854, with his wife and daughter, both named Margaret. He settled in Butler County, Western Pennsylvania.

Clem Schreiber Letter


The Staaf family line is the only one I’ve been able to trace back to the motherland, several generations prior to the emigration. This was thanks to a great stroke of luck, in the first place, and then the diligent efforts of a professional genealogist who happened to live right in that area. I learned about Mr. Clemens Schreiber in 2009, when I happened upon this web site that provided his contact information. He happened to live in Schlüchtern, which is a drive of mere minutes from Sterbfritz. Mr. Schreiber happened to charge a very reasonable fee: $7.00 for a family group record. At that price, I purchased the whole Staaf line by mail, going back to 1613. Mr. Schreiber told me that the line of Peter’s wife, Margaret Lotz, went back even further, to about 1450, and asked if I was interested in purchasing that as well. I did not have funds to purchase all of that at the time, but I’m glad to know that information is available.  Continue reading

Moderate Restoration: General Cleaning and Repair

The original image of this young gentleman did not look quite so bad, but getting up close and personal with a scanner at 600dpi revealed an accumulation of dinge to wash away, the byproduct of many loving hands over many years. The cleanup was not so difficult against the solid background, and the result was worth the effort. This image took about an hour to restore.

Moderate Restoration: Cracked Ceramic

The cracked ceramic is a much more straightforward restoration that the weathered ceramic. As before, the original ceramic photograph was presumably attached to the gravestone of this gentleman upon his death in 1927.I took a close-up photo of the image with a handheld digital camera.The restoration clocked in at about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Touch-Ups: Color Enhancement

This soldier is in the thick of his basic training for Vietnam.

Adding color where there is none is a trick, but teasing out colors that are there and hiding is not too difficult. Playing with a few sliders and trying on a few automatic color enhancers can quickly produce striking results. In this instance, I bartered a little extra work for permission to post the picture here. Creases and negative dust specks have been removed.