HFE Genealogy

Home of the Descendants of the Holben, Froman, and Erdman Lineages

About Me — TOny Froman

I am an amateur genealogist going on 13 years now. I started when I was about 11, picking up where my grandfather, Conwell Lenos Holben had left off before his passing.

Ich spreche fließend Deutsch und ich habe Deutschland in 2015 besucht. I am currently pursuing German citizenship through descent from my great-grandfather, Paul Fritz Bernard Erdmann of Magdeburg, Germany with the help of the attorneys at Schlun & Elseven, Rechsanwälte.

I am a web developer and software developer by trade, graduating from Michigan State University in 2021 with a degree in Computer Science Engineering.

I use my skills in software engineering and art to leverage the latest deep learning (AI for the layman) models to colorize and restore old family documents and photos in the pursuit of knowledge and preservation of history.

As a sidenote, you may notice that I frequently use the spelling "Erdmann" which differs from the Americanized "Erdman". As a history buff, I prefer to stay true to the original, especially since it has only been two generations since its alteration.

Update Frequency

I work on images and documents as frequently as I can in my spare time, though it depends on how much material I have to work with. As for genealogy, I periodically check every week or so along with daily checks for those relevant to my citizenship proceedings. Scanning documents is also a big part of my workflow, as my grandpa Conwell Holben had many correspondences.

This timing can be in flux at times though, as my work in software development can be demanding at times, depending on if we have a new product launch, a new customer coming on board, or a major release. I do my best to update regularly despite this.

I hope to be able to post more frequently to a blog later this Fall once my housing situation is settled, since my graduation was relatively recently (this past Summer).

My Work

All samples are made using a combination of touch-ups in Photoshop (both pre- and post-colorization) and a colorization algorithm utilizing deep learning models. 

For the photo of Lowell, I had to use a combination of hand painted color corrections, targeted color adjustment layers, and layered lightened/darkened regions. 

The pre-touchup is crucial because the colorization can produce vastly different and inaccurate results if there are any deformations at all.

Along with Lowell Erdman (left) and Conwell Holben (right)

Paul Erdman (born Erdmann) was born in the city of Magdeburg to a farming family, in the German Empire. He emigrated in 1910 to Iowa and later became a painter. He went on to marry Ohio born Olive Stilwell and have 7 children with her.


Daughter of Madeline Erdman and Conwell Lenos Holben, granddaughter of Paul Erdman


My great-uncle. He is still very much alive at the age of 95, along with his sister Caryl at the age of 92, as of 2022.

He is the third youngest of Paul's children and worked alongside his father on his jobs painting buildings. He is a super-fan of the Iowa State Cyclones and has held season tickets for several decades now.


My paternal grandfather, in his Navy uniform. He was a veteran of WW2 and a die cast operator at General Motors in Grand Rapids.

He tragically passed away in 1990 of colorectal cancer, long before I was born. He is remembered as a no-nonsense father with a loving heart who always put his family first.


This is my paternal grandmother, Joan Marie Kirkwood's, family. She is in the center right with the glasses.

My great-grandfather, Thomas R. Kirkwood is on the far left on the bottom, and my great-grandmother, Laney Kirkwood (née Simons) is on the far right.

Thomas was a milk delivery driver and was likely also selling and delivering alcohol during the prohibition period. He was also a union district leader and since this was a particularly tumultuous time to be one, had a drive-by shooting attempt on his life.

If you would like me to restore a photo or document, please reach out at tony@froman.us

I'm excited to look at any piece, no matter the condition!

This is a passion project, so I do not charge. I usually take only a few hours per picture.

I'm also open to collaboration and sharing any information I have gathered freely.