Modern technology is being applied to old time records. I admit, I am a bit cynical in suspecting that this kind of tech is just being trialed on Civil War photos, with the ultimate use intended for privacy invasion on the level of Google and Facebook, but it is no doubt going to make genealogists very happy!
According to Luther, the key to the site’s post-launch success has been the ability to build a strong user community. More than 600 users contributed more than 2,000 Civil War photos to the website in the first month after the launch, and roughly half of those photos were unidentified. Over 100 of these unknown photos were linked to specific soldiers, and an expert analysis found that over 85 percent of these proposed identifications were probably or definitely correct. Presently, the database has grown to over 4,000 registered users and more than 8,000 photos.
“Typically, crowdsourced research such as this is challenging for novices if users don’t have specific knowledge of the subject area,” said Luther. “The step-by-step process of tagging visual clues and applying search filters linked to military service records makes this detective work more accessible, even for those that may not have a deeper knowledge of Civil War military history.”