Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saving computer images at the FHC

I was down at the San Diego Family History Center yesterday and worked a bit on the computer system collecting 1851 Canada census images for my Kemp, Sovereen and Putman families an Ancestry Institution (yes, they have ALL of the Ancestry collections - US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, etc.).

The 1851 Census images are in PDF format so it was relatively easy to save them to a hard drive directory for copying to my flash drive later. However, the census image doesn't show the "source citation" - the film series, roll number, page number, etc. This information is on the summary page for the person searched for - how can I capture that (besides writing it down on a piece of paper in my Seaver-scrawl which I often misplace)?

My solution is to use OpenOffice 2.2 (OO) which is installed on the FHC computer systems. I open up a presentation format, create a number of blank pages, and then do the {ALT-Print Screen} key combination to copy the screen and then switch to the presentation program and paste it using a {Ctrl-V} key combination. In addition to capturing the PDF of the census page, I also captured a Zoomed image of the census record for my target families, along with the "person summary page" which listed the source data.

When I was done capturing images, I saved the OpenOffice document to the computer hard drive, inserted my flash drive, and copied the PDF and OO files to my flash drive, and then deleted the files I had created on the computer hard drive.

At home then, I copied the captured files to my hard drive, and can save each image in the OpenOffice presentation as a JPG file if I want to for transcription purposes. I also have a presentation ready-made to demonstrate to colleagues these techniques.

At the San Diego FHC, they don't have OpenOffice 2.2 listed in the Programs area of the Start menu for some reason. They used to just a month ago - I wonder why they took it out (I checked 5 different computers). No matter, I went to My Computer, Program Files and OpenOffice and found the "simpress.exe" file and clicked on it to open the presentation program. Worked like a charm! There are many ways around a roadblock!

I'm going to work on collecting the census records for my English ancestors the next time I'm down there.


Mister Tolley said...

I never go anywhere without open office. You can use a version which you can download and keep on your thumb drive, and it runs from there without needing to install itself on the main computer, or muck about with registry things.

Mister Tolley said...

oops the url in my previous post to Open office portable got slightly lost at the end - here's a tiny version