Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Explosion of Digitized Images on

Most serious family historians and genealogists are aware of the progress of the digitization of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm archived in the vast Granite Vault outside of Salt Lake City, Utah by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many years, we have watched the progress of the conversion process as important and vital historical records have been made freely available on the website. Technological improvements in the digitization process have pushed greater and greater numbers of documents online. For example, the first item on the list above, the
Italy, Agrigento, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820-1865, contains 1,212,762 images. But the records added to the Historical Record Collections is not all of the digitized records. You can view the list with the most recently added records by clicking on the column heading "Last Updated." This will sort the column by the most recent date. 

To really understand all of the digitized records, you need to search for records in the Catalog. The catalog contains two ways to view the records. For example, here is a screenshot of the "Case files of the U.S. district courts for the Territory of Utah, 1870-1896 : NARA, M1401" from the catalog. 

This link, indicated by the arrow, tells the users that the entire collection has been digitized and is available online for viewing. However, this does not mean that the collection has been indexed. The indexing of the documents is lagging far behind the digitization efforts. In many cases, merely having the images is sufficient to do research. Most genealogists with research experience are used to the idea and the process of searching microfilmed records and the digitized records are so much easier to search and use. 

But the Catalog carried the record availability further. Here is a screenshot of the list of records in this same collection.

The camera icon on the list indicates that these records are available in "film strip" format. Here is a screenshot of those records.

By putting the records online in this format, has advanced our ability to search the original records. By clicking on any one of the images you can see the images in the context of the whole roll. 

Navigation of these original documents is facilitated. 

The Catalog and the Historical Record Collections need to be used in conjunction to be used most effectively. 

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