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Go From Image to Text

OCR Have a jpg or pdf image of an old genealogical record (Bible, journal, newspaper, court document, property records, etc) that is hard to read? Assuming the text is not handwritten (which is beyond the capability of computer software), it should be possible to convert the image to computer-readable text using what is known as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. It can be a great thing to do for any scanned images that you may have that includes typed text.

Many genealogists are not familiar with OCR software because it is normally pretty expensive if you want to install it on your desktop. Fortunately, there is a free online alternative. A website called Free OCR will convert any user-supplied image into the equivalent text.

There are two advantages to converting an image to text. First, it can be very handy if the genealogy record is written in an unfamiliar language of your ancestor. Secondly, it conveniently makes the image searchable by Google and other search engines.

The Free to use OCR website with no registration, supports images in many different languages (everything from French, German, Spanish, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Bulgarian or Vietnamese). All you have to do is to supply the image which can be in jpg, pdf, gif, tiff and bmp format.

The only restriction by Free OCR is that the images must not be larger than 2MB, no wider or higher than 5000 pixels and there is a limit of 10 image uploads per hour.

You could do city directories, court documents, legal papers, military records, etc and make them so much easier to search.

After uploading the image, select a language, place in the selected word shown (it prevents spammers) and then press ‘send’. Then you get that image of print coming back as text. So much easier than typing it out yourself. Remember to proofread your text because some characters / letters may have been hard to know which they were for such.

Still a great method.

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