Thursday 13 February 2020

Thoughts on MyHeritage's colourisation tool

I've been having quite a bit of fun with the new tool from MyHeritage ( that allows you to change black and white images into colour pictures (see  Here are a few rellies I would like you to meet:

Let's start with my paternal grandfather Charles Paton, photographed in Brussels, Belgium in 1908. For me, the MyHeritage tool has been worth it just for this...!

The cute baby below is me - with my mother Cherie seated, and my aunt and godmother Sheila, both sadly now passed away:

Below, my great uncle John Paton (seated), as a civilian POW at the Ruhleben camp in Germany in 1916:

And from a passport photo, my maternal grandmother Martha:

The MyHeritage tool is not only fun, it is beyond addictive! As another exercise though, I wondered how accurate the computer anticipated colours are compared with the colours of an original image, and so, as an experiment, I decolourised a colour photo from my wedding day (of myself and my mother), and then recolourised them through MyHeritage. The first image is the original:

Followed by the decolourised version:

And then MyHeritage's effort:

As can be seen, the artificially colourised version is off an a few points, and yet I don't think that really matters at all, because the emotional response from the generated image is the same.There is something magical about seeing an old black and white image restored into colour (even if not 100% true), because we live in a colourful world. When I showed some of the images to my younger brother, he commented that there was something "wonderfully World War 2 in Colour" about them, i.e. they seem so much fresher and closer to us, and yet still have an air of history about them.

I wish that family history toys like this came out on a daily basis - well done MyHeritage!


You can pre-order my new book, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at (out April). Also available, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

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