I got involved in revising my file system, going to Network Attached Storage and installing Windows 7. The last required a clean install and a reinstall of all programs. Thus I downloaded the last version of Picasa which is 3.6. I turned it loose on my pictures in their new location. This time I was able to do with an unattended laptop that I didn't need for the day so it was allowed to do its work uninterrupted.
The latest version seems faster and also seems more adept at facial recognition. It has identified nearly 7,000 faces and identified about 100 people who are in multiple pictures. It has found the younger version of people I only knew as old and, upon inspection, has been right most of the time. It thinks at times my sister might be me and makes other interesting family connections, my niece in a close up and my grandfather for example. I don't see the resemblance but it must be there.
Some of those 7,000 faces are people who happened to be in the picture, maybe in the background. You can tell Picasa to ignore those. Some are part of historical group pictures I own but cannot identify. Why my grandmother had them if there are no relatives in them escapes me so I continue to look.
I have been able to identify about 700 of the 7,000. Some are relatives I never met, knew or even heard of. Some are children of friends of my mother or grandparents that I never knew. When I have a rough time frame and perhaps a last name and location I have posted the information to boards and lists, so far without success.
I have enlisted extended family in identifying the pictures. I don't understand why people get possessive about pictures. Scan them, share with all, get help with the identification. I'm not one who has to own the original but even if you feel you must you can still scan them and share.
We say we should have ask these questions, identified these pictures, etc. when the older generations were still here and yet we aren't doing it for future generations.
I'll get off the soapbox now but considering making scanning and identifying your photos, old and newer, a New Year's resolution.