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

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Family History Mission: From Books to Paper

No. 70

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 or click back through all the posts.

It took us an entire day to convert our camera station over from digitizing books to digitizing flat paper. Most of the day was spent working out the automation of the program that runs the controls for making the images. We use an external device that is programmed for several different functions and by moving to digitizing flat paper, we have a different series of tasks to perform and so we need to change the programming of the switches. For example, we need to have the digitization program we use automatically crop the area of the photo so the image has a black border. Here is an example of a digital image that has been automatically cropped. 

Maryland, Anne Arundel County, probate
Accounts of sale, T2552/C27-1, EV, v. 1, 17 Feb 1777-27 Jan 1779
Since this is a book, the right side of the image shows the center of the book and a part of the adjoining left-hand page. The software will automatically allow the user to take a photo of the two-page spread and the automatically split the images on the middle of the page with a definable overlap. The main difficulty in digitizing books is that they do not lay flat unless they have very few pages or the binding is entirely broken. If you look closely at the images, you can usually see some of the other pages of the book along the edge of the page away from the binding. 

After only one full day of digitizing paper, we realized that we had to relearn a lot of the commands and procedures that had become automatic to us when we were doing books. Surprisingly, the work also turned out to be considerably more tiring than doing books for some reason. Fortunately, we have the other experienced Senior Missionaries there to help get us out of our mistakes as we go along. We have to constantly keep monitoring our progress to make sure we have overlooked one step. If we do miss a step, we have to figure out how to go back and make the correction. 

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we often talk about Temple work and Missionary Work and other kinds of work. What we learn from these experiences is that the key component of service of any kind is work. Real work. Hard work. Time-consuming work. Tiring work. I see a great divide in Church and in the world in general between those who are willing to work and those who try to avoid working. It is real work to get up five days a week at 6:00 am and get ready to go to work. It is also hard work to sit or stand all day and prepare or digitize documents. 

I think it is a tragedy that so many in our society look forward to "retirement." What would I do if I did not work? I cannot imagine spending time playing some pointless game or whatever. 

One thing happens when we work. We learn to love our work and the people who work with us. This may not always happen when we work in the world's pursuits, but it is inevitable when we work for the Church and serve our Savior in some way. 

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