Thursday, January 31, 2019

Using VIVID-PIX RESTORE Software on Some of My Treasures

I've been working the VIVID-PIX RESTORE software with a few of my genealogical images this evening and have been very pleased with the results. I wanted to share a few of my images with you. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

Holiday photos abound in my family. The one below is special to me because it was taken at Christmas of 1954. Some Kodak photos from that time were printed on a very high-gloss paper and the colors tend to turn red over time. I selected this vintage photo and realized that the red was going to be tough to refine. I displayed the image in the 9-up viewer, changed the setting from color to B&W, and chose what I thought was the best image. A quick adjustment of brightness and contrast gave me this great result below. Yes, that's me on the left at my second Christmas, my older brother, Carey, on the right at age 14, and our wonderful dog, Suzie. Suzie was a year older than me but quickly became my dog and lived to the age of 13.

My great-grandmother, Caroline Alice Whitefield, was born on 23 August 1853 and died on 26 June 1917. She married my great-grandfather Rainey Baines Morgan on 19 November 1871 in Person County, North Carolina, and they produced three sons between 1879 and 1883. Rainey, unfortunately, contracted an infection and died on 13 September 1891.Caroline exercised her legal dower right to the property and lived there until she remarried Thomas Jehu Carter in late 1893. At that time she was forced to relinquish her dower right to the property and it went into trust for the three sons until they reached the age of majority. She later produced another son with Mr. Carter. 

The photo of Caroline below was taken circa 1914-1915. I had always wanted to see a clearer image of her. I used RESTORE to provide a better image. There was a simple view of the 9-up display and I selected the clearest image. Not only do I now have a better picture of her, I can now see distinct facial resemblances between Caroline and all three of her sons, the oldest of whom was my grandfather, Samuel Goodloe Morgan. I can also see some details of the double screen door and window sidelights of the entrance of her home at the time.

I spend a lot of time researching in newspaper databases. I also use the digital microfilm scanners at libraries and archives to capture newspaper content onto flash drives, email images to myself, and/or save images to Dropbox. Several years ago I came across a newspaper photograph of the Class of 1928 at Mebane High School in Mebane, North Carolina, on microfilm. My mother, Edith Weatherly, and her older sister, Beth Weatherly, graduated in that same class. Both sisters appear in this photograph as you'll see from the caption. My mother had a tattered copy of this clipping among her mementoes and so I was pleased to find this image. 

RESTORE does an excellent job with working with documents, and newspapers are no exception. I processed this image and chose the clearest from the 9-up display. I then converted it from color to B&W and slightly adjusted the contrast to reduce the graininess of the newsprint. The result is a great piece of historical context for both sisters.

My mother's maiden name was Weatherly, and I have invested a great deal of time researching both my direct antecedents in that line, the siblings, and the collateral lines. When my mother's last sibling, a sister, died in 2000, I inherited a wealth of family treasures. Needless to say, there were boxes of photographs - some labelled and some unlabelled. I've spent a lot of time trying to identify the subjects. Fortunately, however, the small photo mounted on a photographer's card from Selma, Alabama, shown below was labeled. The man is my great-grandfather, Alvis Martin Weatherly, born on 5 November 1852 in Madison, Talladega County, Alabama, and died on 3 July 1919 in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia. I can only estimate the year the photo was taken at present, and my thoughts are that it dates from the 1870s when he was in his early 20s. 

RESTORE worked its magic on this photograph, and it preserved and enhanced the hand-tinting of the red in his cheeks. He was my mother's father's father and worked for what became the Southern Railroad. He also filed two successful patents: one for a specific fence design and one for an innovative railroad air brake. While I have been researching this great-grandfather for decades and have heard stories from the family, for the first time this evening I have a clear image of him.


I'm still learning how to use the VIVID-PIX RESTORE software more effectively, I am eager to use it to improve clarity and legibility of old, faded documents, and poor quality digital document images I encounter at online websites and download. I can see many, many fascinating hours of work ahead of me. 

What do you think you could do with RESTORE for your photographs and document images? I think you would enjoy using the free trial for yourself.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Genealogy Guys Set Sail!

The Genealogy Guys are heading out this coming weekend to join a large number of Florida genealogists on a weeklong cruise of the Caribbean, together with speakers Blaine Bettinger and Ann Staley.  We'll be off the grid during that week, so I'm afraid that you'll have to wait until we return for new episodes of The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Genealogy Connection.  But don't worry, we'll be making up for lost time!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Unsung Hero Awards - Get Your Nominations In!

The Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix announced on January 15th the beginning of our new Unsung Heroes Awards program. It will be a quarterly awards program designed to recognize and celebrate members of the genealogy community who digitize or index photos and other documents of value to genealogical researchers. These include recipients in four categories: individuals, genealogical/historical societies, libraries/archives, and young people.

The due date for the first nominations is coming up fast! Eligible nominations must be received no later than February 15, 2019. Full details and the nominations form are available at The Unsung Heroes Award page, and the form itself is at

The first winners will be announced at RootsTech in Salt Lake City on February 27-March 2, 2019. Winners will receive: 
Here's an example of the gorgeous mug the winners will receive, but with their chosen images.

We want to Sing Your Praises so send your nomination in to by midnight on 15 February!

Nominations not selected for the first awards will be held for consideration in the future.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Mary Allen Morgan and Samuel Thomas Morgan

The Morgan family continued to live in Mebane, Alamance County, North Carolina, in a large two-story frame home on Center Street. The home had a beautiful porch across the entire front of the house overlooking a large front yard.
Morgan home on Center Street in Mebane, North Carolina.
(Click to enlarge the image.)
Like many homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the first and second floor hallways were breezeways for air circulation in warm weather. The kitchen was slightly detached at the rear of the first floor to reduce the chance of a whole house fire. A detached garage, stable, and coach house sat in the back yard as did a small cabin in which Caroline lived from Sunday night to Saturday night. She had Sunday off to visit her family and to attend her church.

Sam was the head cashier of the Farmers and Commercial Bank and a well-respected businessman. Minnie's father, Joseph McKnitt Wilson, had been a very prosperous physician in northwest Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He died at his home on 26 July 1910 and left a substantial estate to his wife, Lenora Lydia "Nora" Patterson Wilson and large bequests to each of his 8 living children. Sam persuaded Minnie to invest in real estate in Alamance and surrounding counties and to deposit a substantial amount with the bank. She controlled her own funds and kept them separate from Sam's.

As mentioned in the last installment of this family story, Samuel Thomas "Tom" Morgan was born on 18 December 1909. Two of her sisters came to be with her when she delivered the child: Mary Martha "Mamie" Wilson Barron and Harriett Idella "Della" Wilson. Since Caroline was there and had once again engaged a wet nurse, Mamie and Della quickly returned to her husband and children. Della was not yet married and stayed with Minnie until early January 1910.

Samuel Thomas "Tom" Morgan at about age four
on the porch of his the farm store owned by his
Uncle Will Morgan, located in Prospect Hill,
Caswell County, North Carolina.
(Click to enlarge the image.)
Tom worshiped his father but was afraid of his mother. She was moody and temperamental, and was often angry if she did not get her own way. Like Mary Allen, Minnie delegated Tom's care and upbringing to Caroline.

While Tom was a product of his Southern upbringing and was taught racial bigotry at any early age, he developed a strong love for Caroline. He shared his sweets with her until one day Minnie observed Tom's kind interaction with Caroline. Minnie interrupted by snatching the piece of candy from Caroline's hand and throwing it. She then slapped Caroline across the face and told her she was was not to have any such interaction with her son. She told Caroline that she was out of her place. She then whipped Tom with a hairbrush until it broke. He was terrified, but he still loved Caroline and was very careful never to be caught by his mother again.

Minnie sometimes took Tom onto the settee beside her and said, "Thomas, promise me that you will never take a drink and that you will never smoke a cigarette or a cigar." Her admonition had precisely the opposite effect as he grew older.

Mary Allen and Tom attended the Mebane Pubic School. Both were good students. Mary Allen excelled at English, literature, history, and art. She sometimes played "school" with her friends, acting the role of the teacher and imparting her knowledge to the younger children. She also won a Bible Scholarship award from the Mebane Presbyterian Church. It is an engraved 14K gold pendant and chain which I still have. Mary Allen also excelled in Sunday school and as a teenager taught the younger children. She passionately aspired to become a teacher.

Tom was a brilliant mathematician, easily mastering the concepts of each branch of math. He became capable of computing figures in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots in his head. He quickly took to the slide rule and, later, to the comptometer and other business machines. He excelled in geography and economics as well. He won a number of mathematical competitions. He wanted to become a financier.

Mary Allen Morgan, Samuel Goodloe
Morgan, and Minnie Wilson Morgan.
Photo was taken in April 1927 before
Mary Allen graduate from Duke in May.
(Click on image to enlarge.)
Mary Allen applied to and was accepted by Peace Institute, a women's college in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, and attended from 1923 until she graduated in 1925. She then transferred to Duke University where she graduated in 1927 with her teacher's certificate.

Tom enrolled in Davidson College in 1927 where he pursued his academics and played football. He suffered a severe knee injury on the football field in January of 1929 and spent months recovering and working on physical therapy. In the Fall of 1929 he transferred to Duke University and began majoring in finance.

In early 1928 a young man from Durham with whom Mary Allen had fallen in love approached Sam and Minnie to ask for Mary Allen's hand in marriage. Sam was amenable but Minnie was adamant that the fellow was not from a good enough family, did not have enough money, and did not have god enough prospects to take care of Mary Allen. She raged at the young man and ran him out of her parlor.

The next day, Minnie had her chauffeur drive her to the bank where she withdrew $3,000.00 in cash. She then was driven to Durham where she soon located the young man's family home. She met with him and gave him the cash wit the understanding that he leave town and never communicate with Mary Allen again. Tragically, the young man (who shall remain nameless) accepted the offer. He later ended up working for the U.S. government in Washington, D.C., married another woman, and had 5 children.

Mary Allen was devastated when she received the "goodbye letter" which she kept until the end of her life. Minnie, on the other hand, assured her that a better man would come along. More on this later.

In early September of 1929 the stock prices in the United States began to fall. On 29 October 1929 the U.S. stock market crashed initiating the Great Depression. It devastated individuals' and companies' financially. A domino effect ensued hitting heaving manufacturing hard, crushing their suppliers, terminating production, causing mass personnel layoffs, decimating personal income, government revenue and taxes, and closing tens of thousands of businesses. Farming faltered as people couldn't afford to purchase farm produce, and then the droughts obliterated farming in the Midwest.

There were runs on banks to quickly obtain all the assets that people had on deposits, but the banks didn't have that capital. Many banks temporarily closed to forestall the economic panics. Many banks quickly sought to save themselves by calling in loans, further weakening the economy and making things more dire for individuals.

Sam Morgan tried to help his friends in need by loaning and giving them some of his own money and assets. He demanded all of Minnie's cash to keep the family afloat. Unfortunately, Sam remanded that Tom drop out of Duke one semester short of graduation.

Financial conditions continued to collapse. The Farmers and Commercial Bank failed and closed. Sam and Minnie could not pay the mortgage and taxes on their home without selling some of Minnie's real estate holdings for pennies on the dollar. Minnie had had a collection of personal and family jewelry. She began discretely selling pieces off. Sam lost two automobiles to debtors,

After raging arguments, sam insisted that Minnie let Caroline go. Minnie had never done a day's housework in her life, had never cooked a meal, and had no idea of how to run a household. Sam was soon selling furniture and trinkets to keep food on the table, and it was Mary Allen who took over the household chores and cooking, such as it was. Unfortunately, this arrangement was quite satisfactory for Minnie. There was no question of there being a suitor for Mary Allen now; she was in effect her mother's domestic slave.

Tom eloped in 1931 to Danville, Virginia to be married. His bride's father found out and went ballistic. The couple had to marry again. (See My Parents Married Twice! - December 13, 2018.)

Tom took a job in Mebane working on the tobacco market. He was the man who followed the auctioneer or "caller" and calculated/wrote the prices down for the tobacco sales. It was the only job he could find.

The Morgan family, once financially secure and held in high social esteem, had fallen on very hard times. And things were about to get even worse.

To be continued.

   - (C) George G. Morgan. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Podcast Episode # 356 Introduces New Sponsor Vivid-Pix AND Announces the "Unsung Heroes Awards"

We have just published a very special episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast. In it we introduce Vivid-Pix, an exciting new sponsor who designs, creates and delivers fast, easy, and affordable imaging software that works to make photographs and documents look their very best.

The Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix are excited to announce our partnership in creating the "Unsung Heroes Awards", a quarterly joint venture program to celebrate people and organizations that scan, digitize, index, and transcribe unique historical and genealogical photographs and documents. 

Learn all about it in Podcast Episode # 356 (, at The Genealogy Guys Blog (, at the Vivid-Pix "Unsung Heroes Awards Blog" (, and at Aha! Seminars, Inc, website ( 


We're Singing Your Praises!

Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix Partner to Recognize Genealogy’s Unsung Heroes

Media Release
Tampa, Florida - January 15, 2019

Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix Partner to Recognize Genealogy’s Unsung Heroes

The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, co-hosts and producers of the oldest continually produced genealogy podcast, and Vivid-Pix, makers of RESTORE photo and document restoration software, today announce that they are partnering to acknowledge and to celebrate those members of the genealogy community who digitize or index photos and other documents of value to genealogical researchers.  The Unsung Heroes Awards will be a quarterly awards program designed to recognize its recipients in four categories: individuals, genealogical/historical societies, libraries/archives, and young people.

Completed nomination forms (see below for link to the form) should be emailed to and winners will be selected each quarter.  Winners will receive: a custom-made commemorative mug with their choice of image; an announcement on an episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast; a profile of the winner published on The Genealogy Guys Blog and the Unsung Heroes Blog; and recognition at the Vivid-Pix website (

Nominations eligible for the first quarter of awards must be received no later than February 15, 2019, and the winners will be announced at RootsTech in Salt Lake City on February 27-March 2, 2019. Due dates for later quarters will be announced on The Genealogy Guys Podcast; The Genealogy Guys Blog; the Unsung Heroes Blog; and at the Vivid-Pix website.

Details and links to the nomination form can be found at


George G. Morgan
Aha! Seminars, Inc.
(813) 220-6274
Rick Voight
(404) 664-9897

 About the Partners

The Genealogy Guys Podcast is a production of Aha! Seminars, Inc., a Tampa Bay-based company that has been providing training to genealogists and library personnel since 1996. Its principals are George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, noted speakers, authors, and world’s longest genealogy podcasters. The company also produces the Genealogy Connection podcast and The Genealogy Guys Blog. The Guys are also well-known speakers and authors. 

Vivid-Pix designs, creates and delivers Fast, Easy and Affordable Imaging Software. Since launching in 2012, Vivid-Pix has advanced its products to earn the support and respect of business leaders and photographers in over 100 countries. Co-Founder Randy Fredlund has more than 150 digital-imaging patents and has extensive experience in Research, Development and Commercialization, enabling him to translate theory into practice. Co-Founder Rick Voight has created billion-dollar businesses through Product Development, Sales and Marketing for Eastman Kodak and Hewlett-Packard. The Vivid-Pix Team is a far-flung group of excellent people who deliver software that “Give your pics (and documents) the Vivid-Pix Fix!