Ancestors Reanimated

Roots Tech unveiled a marvellous new tool for Family Search users at its 2021 conference RootsTechConnect (25-27 February 2021) – called ‘Deep Nostalgia’, it takes the photo enhancement and colourisation tools one step further, and animates them for approximately ten seconds. I spent a good hour last night uploading and animating photographs of my ancestors and their families, with some amazing results. I learned one thing -and it’s probably pretty obvious- and that is the better the quality of the image, the better the animation. Sadly some of the photographs I have of my great grandparents are not great quality, so the results are a little… spooky, to say the least. But a few images taken in the 1920s, 30’s and 40’s of my fathers Uncles and Aunts yielded spectacular results. So here are the best.

Alice C Thomson


Here is Alice, aged somewhere around 12 years old I’d guess, so this would have been taken around 1916-18. She’s standing on the doorstep with her younger brother Roderick (who you will see later).

Alice C Thomson

Fabric Buyer for Harrods

This image was taken on 26th December, 1928, when my father John and his twin Roderick were three years old. By this time Alice is 22 old, and may have already been working as a Fabric Buyer for Harrods. I find it sad to look at this image and realise that she had just 18 years to live – Alice suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and passed away in 1946 aged just 40.

Roderick A Thomson


Alice’s younger brother Roderick, after whom my father’s twin was named, lived in London all his life.

Roderick Thomson

Boxing Day Family Photo

This image was taken on 26th December, 1928, when my father John and his twin Roderick were three years old. By this time Roderick is 16 years old, and may have been already working alongside his father with his great uncle Vigo in their Sloane Street Fishmonger & Poultry shop.

Roderick A Thomson


Fast-forward to 1942 or thereabouts, and Roderick, married just two years, is in the Military. Records indicate that he served his five years, but did not stay on. At the time of his marriage to Eileen Rita Sorrell in June 1940, Roderick is a Poultry Buyer for David Vigo & Sons, working alongside his father James (a Fish Salesman)

Roderick Thomson

Undated but circa 1942

Roderick seems quite jovial here, so perhaps he was about to be de-mobbed?! Sometime after his stint in the military, Roderick and his wife set up a sweet shop at 128 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham. Family folklore has it that the late Princess Diana used to frequent the shop, but given that Roderick died in 1968, it must have been when she was a child!

This sequence of animated photos (thanks again to My Heritage for the technology!) is amazing – I never met Alice or Roderick, so I can’t say how accurate the animation is, but it is captivating, nonetheless.