Saturday, August 12, 2006

A good genealogy day...

It was an interesting genealogy day. I went to the Family History Center for 90 minutes, and then to the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting which featured Abraham Lincoln as the guest speaker. I'll blog separately about Abe's talk.

At the FHC last week, I found that they had the South Kingstown RI probate records on pertmanent loan on three films. Keen readers of this blog will recall (yeah, sure!) that the only film reader printer they had was out of order three weeks ago, and I had to get prints off of the film/fiche scanner hooked to a computer system and a printer. The reader/printer is still out of order and will soon disappear, leaving the scanner/computer system the only option to get images of film and fiche records.

I had four target records on the South Kingstown RI first film, which encompasses Volumes 1 and 2 of the probate records (about 1694 to 1735 or so). The wills, inventories and other probate records of Stephen Hazard, Thomas Greenman, Samuel Tefft and Moses Barber were the records I wanted. I found them easily on the film installed on the film/fiche scanner, and methodically added images to the computer software file, ending up with 39 images. For each image, I adjusted the brightness of the image since the images were fairly dark on the film and the scanner.

Rather than print the pages, I thought I could save time (each printed page takes a minute or two on the system) and money (each printed page costs 25 cents) by saving the images to my thumb drive and then I could print them at home. I installed the thumb drive on the computer with no problem, and started to download the images using the image software. The thumb drive stopped blinking after several minutes, but when I checked the directory, only 16 images had downloaded because my thumb drive was full. I had chosen TIF files as the format of choice since these were ancient handwritten records. OK, on to Plan B.

Plan B for me was to buy a CD-ROM at the FHC for $1 and burn all the images to the CD, take them home, transfer them to my computer hard drive, and print them. After several tries, and much consultation with the center experts, we figured out that the CD drive on this unit didn't work. OK, on to Plan C.

Plan C was to delete all of the files off my thumb drive (I can always put them back, right?) and copy all 300 mb of the 39 images to the thumb drive using the computer Windows Explorer. To do that, I had to:

1) Create a "Trash" directory on the center computer
2) Save the images still on the Image software to the Trash directory on the center computer.
3) Install the thumb drive on the center computer.
4) Delete all files on the 512 mb thumb drive.
5) Copy the files in the Trash directory to the thumb drive.
6) Check to see if the images look good on the thumb drive after all this
7) Close out the Image software on the center computer.
8) Delete the Trash directory on the center computer.

Plan C worked! It took 30 minutes, but it worked. At home, I'm in the process of printing the 39 inages so I can transcribe or abstract the probate data for my four targets. I still have 7 more targets to obtain probate records from these films - probably two more trips to the FHC.

The lesson here is to keep your thumb drive empty, and your options open!

In the end, it was a good genealogy day.

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