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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Family History Mission: Some Random Impressions on Being A Senior Missionary

Digitizing Camera 
No. 30

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them.

I had quite a number of rather random impressions about being a Senior Missionary here in Annapolis, Maryland. None of these seemed long enough to be the complete topic of a blog post so I decided simply to put them in separate paragraphs. Here I go.

One of the biggest challenges we found upon arriving in Annapolis was the traffic. We are used to living in Mesa, Arizona where there are wide straight streets. We have become accustomed to much narrower and winding streets in Utah Valley, but the streets here are even narrower and more winding. I don't think there is a 90° angle street crossroad in the entire city.

The drivers here in Annapolis and in Washington DC are about the same as they are in Utah Valley, so that much feels right at home. Of course, you have to remember that driving in Utah Valley is dangerous and awful.

I am amazed at the dedication of the Senior Missionaries. We are all roughly around the same age and have similar challenges. Despite being in the mission field, we still have to attend to medical needs, taxes, family situations, and the rest of the baggage of being old. The missionaries all get to work at 7 o'clock in the morning rain or shine or snow. Oops, we have yet to see the sun at 7 AM.

Working with old documents is not boring. The work of preparing and digitizing the records requires full concentration. However, some of the missionaries can listen to music while working. I have started listening to audiobooks. But I have to turn off the recordings while I think about the documents. But I can listen while I turn pages as long as no error messages show up.

 The missionaries don't talk much while they are working. It interrupts the flow of the work.

There is a distinct benefit from having a group of missionaries with more experience than we have. The work is fairly complicated and it takes some time to work out all the details. It is immensely useful to have someone who can clarify problems and issues with the work.

We found some of the working conditions can be improved. We went out and bought a new drafting chair to help with the digitizing process.

The books we are scanning right now are very large and weigh about 25 to 30 pounds each. Sometimes it takes two of us to arrange the book on the scanning surface.

Our apartment is nice but it is an adjustment from our very nice house in Provo.

Annapolis seems to have more emergency vehicles than any other place we have lived. We hear sirens day and night.

The weather here is about what could be expected. It is not as cold as Provo and it is definitely more humid than Mesa. We are getting used to rain about once a week.

We enjoy the work. We certainly enjoy working with missionaries. We are glad to have opportunities to help people with their own personal genealogical research.

All in all, we are happy to be here and serving. We certainly recognize the immense value of the records we are digitizing and appreciate the opportunity to help those in the Spirit World who cannot help themselves.


  1. Thank you so much for your work!

  2. I agree, thank you for what you are doing for so many.

  3. I love your posts and the content of what you are doing! Thank you for your faithful example.

  4. p.s. -You have made such an impression on us that we blogged about you today. Hope that's okay.
    We have a new couple here from Idaho who are our new 'Area' Family History missionaries. They are wonderful and we have learned much from them (and they know of you) :)

  5. Oh, our blog is: