A few months ago, we released MyHeritage In Color, which lets users colorize their old family photos automatically. The genealogy community fell in love with this feature, and in the first 3 months, 10 million photos have already been colorized by MyHeritage users! After we released MyHeritage In Color, one of the ideas raised by our team was to apply this technology also to records, in cases where black and white photos are abundant and colors could enhance the records. We focused our attention on the huge U.S. Yearbook collection on MyHeritage, which spans 290 million names in 36 million yearbook pages, covering the years 1890 until 1979.
Today we’re happy to announce that we’ve colorized the entire U.S. Yearbook collection, and to celebrate this moment we’re opening up FREE access to our U.S. Yearbooks for an entire month!
Ordinarily, accessing the yearbook records on MyHeritage requires a Data or Complete subscription. Now, through this wonderful freebie, anyone can access the yearbooks for free, without even having to sign up, through May 23, 2020. And the yearbooks are now colorized!
Why are we doing this? Because we want to help our community in these challenging times of Coronavirus, and give people a fun activity to do when they are isolated at home that is genealogical, enjoyable, and free.
Take this opportunity to reminisce about your own high school years or search for your loved ones in the collection. Look up your high school crush or revel at the unbelievable hairstyle of your aunt Mavis.
Searching the yearbooks – now in color
Follow the link below to search the collection:
We have colorized the yearbook pages using the MyHeritage In Color technology.
Now when you search the yearbooks, we will show a symbol on each thumbnail (that represents a yearbook page) in the search results, to remind you that a colorized version exists.
This is the symbol we’re talking about:
For consistency, it’s the same symbol we use on thumbnails in your albums to indicate that photos have been colorized using MyHeritage In Color.
We’ll explain how to access yearbook records using a nice example.
Actress Sally Field’s 1964 Birmingham High School yearbook can be found in our collection. In case you are curious, you can access that record directly.
Here’s the page where she appears — colorized:
The colorized version is compelling and lifelike, but we also love the original black and white page:
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose because you get both!
(P.S. don’t you just love those hairstyles?!)
Here is what the record page looks like:
Click the orange “Save record” button to save a record to an individual in your family tree.
There is a new message with a pink background that explains that the colors on the yearbook page were simulated using MyHeritage In Color. You can dismiss this message after reading it. A toggle control in the top-right corner lets you view either the colorized version or the black and white original of each yearbook page.
You can also ‘jump’ to other pages in the same yearbook and see them in color too.
At the bottom of the record we’ll tell you about other pages in the same yearbook where the same person appears:
Using the simple reference at the bottom for more occurrences, we can visit page 146 where we marvel at this lovely photo of Sally Field jumping in the air!
The following photo shows that Sally Field was a cheerleader and the colorization makes it really come to life!
Here’s the original:
When you navigate to other pages of the yearbook, they will appear in black and white by default. You can colorize each yearbook page by clicking on the Colorize button at the top right.
Downloading yearbook pages
To download the original or the colorized version, first go to full-screen mode:
Once you are in the full-screen viewer, you can download any photo (original or colorized) using the download icon that we marked in green below:
In order to maintain the authenticity of the original yearbook records, the colorized versions do not replace or modify the original pages, but appear in addition, and you can toggle between the colorized and original versions. When you save a record to your family tree on MyHeritage, it will create a citation to the original black and white record to ensure that you and other users will always be able to see the original. The colorized pages are marked with a palette symbol in the bottom left corner to indicate that the colors have been simulated using artificial intelligence and are not the original colors. These colors are guessed by advanced algorithms and they may be incorrect!
Sharing is caring
Found a fascinating picture of yourself or a loved one? We’ve added a new option to make it easy to share on social media. Sharing the yearbook pages you discover is a great way to reconnect with former classmates and stay in touch with relatives both near and far.
We encourage you to share colorized yearbook photos with your family and friends.
To make sharing easier we added a Share button in every yearbook record:
Click the Share icon to share via Facebook, Twitter, or via direct link. If you’re using the mobile app or viewing your family site from a browser on your mobile phone, you will have the option to share via WhatsApp, too.
We allow you to share an entire yearbook page, or to crop part of the image that you’re interested in, and share only that part.
When you share a yearbook page or photo, a link will be provided to others which will allow them to see that page for free, perpetually, even after the yearbook collection later returns to paid mode. Sharing uses the colorized version but allows anyone who views the shared page to toggle and see the original black and white version as well.
Share to win!
In the coming month, anyone who shares a MyHeritage yearbook page on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtags #LookingGood and #FreeYearbooks and tags @MyHeritage will enter a draw. Each week we’ll select one lucky winner who will receive a free MyHeritage Complete subscription! They’ll enjoy free access to all content and features on MyHeritage including 12 billion historical records, Smart Matches, Record Matches, Instant Discoveries, and much more.
MyHeritage just keeps innovating!
First, we introduced colorization of black and white photos using the MyHeritage In Color feature.
Now, we applied the colorization technology to the MyHeritage U.S. Yearbook collection, which spans 290 million names in 36 million yearbook pages, covering the years 1890 until 1979. From a research perspective, information from yearbooks can be extremely valuable. It can be magical to see photos of your ancestor during their formative years. Viewing them in color makes the experience even more meaningful — it helps bring the past to life.
To celebrate this unique colorized content that is exclusive to MyHeritage, we’ve made the yearbooks free for an entire month, through May 23, 2020. Searching the yearbooks is a great way to pass the time and enhance your family tree.
Please help us spread the word about the free yearbooks, and share your favorite snippets from the collection on social media.
In closing, we wish to thank Jason Antic and Dana Kelley of DeOldify who invented the colorization technology that powers MyHeritage In Color. Without them, this would not have been possible!
Your friends at MyHeritage
Source: My Heritage