Friday, November 16, 2007

On Stand By

Maybe I should have known better than to commit to a weekly blog...
The last time I committed to being there started a series of unfortunate events I have yet to see the end of...
SO... this was no different...

Yesterday was the first day in 3 weeks that I could say I felt half way decent.
It turned out to be a good thing I was not busy elsewhere, as the new FamilySearch updated their site and I ventured there long enough to discover one of our children had died, unbeknownst to us!

The problem was fixed right away as the trail was fresh.

A student gets lost easily when they don't attend church services and live in apartment complexes... He was named after his grandfather who passed away a few years ago and when the missionaries called my mother-in-law asking about Richard, well... she never thought they were asking about her grandson... and told them he had passed on... And so, our son was decreed dead! He thought it was pretty funny...

The sister at the Church Membership Records Dept was extremely helpful and in no time the issue was straightened out. The question of whether or not the new FamilySearch would have that updated right away was unclear but I am happy to report that as of this morning, the Church agrees with us that our son IS alive and well, well... we hope...

I was very impressed because the sister at the Church membership Dept said it could take 2 months.

As the title said... I am 'on stand by' with the mission as I am really struggling with health issues right now. Hopefully I will be back with stories of digitization for you before you know it.

I hope you will forgive me for getting your hopes up and now letting you down.

To everything there is a season and my season of digitization will have to wait a little bit...
I'm sure we won't run out of books... (=

Until next... Happy Thanksgivings!

Dans les vallées
Au cœur saignant
Taches rouillées
Feuilles de sang,
Les feuilles mortes,
Les souvenirs
Vont en cohorte
Semblant s'unir.
Extrait de "Feuille d'automne"
Charlotte Serre

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This morning I made my way to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.
I could not have picked better weather. A perfect Autumn morning!
The air was crisp, the sky was blue, the sun was shining bright where the Autumn morning fog had not yet lifted. It was beautiful!

October 17 was set aside for training us, the new 5 part-time service missionaries who will help with the digitization of books selected by the ACPL at the Fort Wayne Digital Processing Center.

We waited upstairs for Elder and Sister Muchmore to come and get us. 2 volunteers also came in to train with us. We each received a packet with a basic ‘how-to’ and a form to fill out so we could also be recognized as ACPL volunteers. Curt Witcher paid us a quick visit to welcome us, then we were introduced to others on staff in the basement office.
Several of us don’t live in Allen County and so don’t have one of their library cards.
We turned in our volunteer application and after being interviewed we will receive an ACPL volunteer badge and a sticker or something that will cover any parking fees in the ACPL lots.

We were then instructed with the help of PowerPoint presentation laying out the main lines of the project.

I had seen the product of this work and had heard about it through presentations but had never dreamed I’d be able to participate.

Sister Muchmore mentioned that Fort Wayne is the first satellite operation for this project, mainly because they also espouse the Church’s philosophy that genealogical and historical materials should be made available free online that help individuals know and appreciate their ancestors.

Although the Orem Digital Processing Center started first the learning curve is still very high and so we were likened to pioneers, which explains my choice of Blog name.

The books selected for this process are those written in English (some handwritten ones are online but these can not be OCRd - optical character recognition - so are not as user friendly for the researcher)

The church has focused its attention on published family histories but the ACPL has chosen to digitize local histories first.
Some of the books are very old. Those that can be cut are run through a form feeder scanner while those that can not be are scanned on an amazing machine that reminded me of a hospital scanner. 3 scanners are in use at the ACPL at present: 2 Cannon form feeder scanners and a Minolta PS7000. The form feeders work fast while the other is slower.

No matter the process to get one of these books online is a meticulous one.
Before any scanning is done, it is necessary to set up the digital pagination.
Great care is given to ensure ALL pages are accounted for, even the blank ones.

Once each book is finished it becomes available through the FHL Catalog and also through the BYU site at
Later they will also be accessible for free from the Allen County Library website.

I look forward to sharing my weekly experience here…
It’s going to be wonderful, I hope…
Much to learn… I hope my brain doesn’t fry…