Tuesday, April 18, 2006

St. Joseph's death records

One of the projects I intend to complete sooner rather than later is something I forgot to mention last week: transcribing St. Joseph's Catholic Church death records.

St. Joseph's (a.k.a. Shrine at St. Joseph's Catholic Church) was the primary church for the EBERT, HOLTERMANN and LODENKAMPER families between the mid-1840s and about 1900. The church's records are on microfilm and a few sections are indexed, but making these records more accessible has been the work of just one person. Since I've used these records several times and feel comfortable reading them (an English/Latin mix), I offered to help out.

I was assigned the task of working on death records in the 1860s. After my first transcribing session I realized it was going to take forever to complete my assignment. I then decided to take a digital camera so that I could transcribe the photos at home. It just isn't a good use of time to transcribe the records at a library I don't visit as much as I'd like. Most of the photos turned out well, so I've got a few years worth of records to work on. Had I transcribed the records from microfilm, it may have taken me a few hours to complete each year and I only go to that library about once a month.

Working on projects like this is good practice for researchers and I'd recommend it to anyone with a few hours to spare.

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