Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mormon Missionary Diaries

One of my favorite online tools is Mormon Missionary Diaries. Released in around 2004, it was a truly ambitious project. Not only did the project team transcribe hundreds of missionary journals, but they also scanned every page, including the covers, in color. They also made the scans search able. So if I think a person or place name was mistyped, it is a simple matter to locate the original writing and making my own judgement. Plus the transcriptions maintain the original pagination of the diary. It was a lot of effort.

The diaries are organized by mission region, and by missionary. The interface isn’t the fastest. So I usually skip to the printing version of the diary I want (found at the bottom of each diaries’ index) and save it to my hard drive. Then I can read, search and explore without the delay that comes mostly from working over the Internet.

Included in a section apart from the diaries themselves, is a biography on each diarist. Don’t hesitate to read through the biographies. Even after almost a year of researching the Cane Creek Massacre, I found new sources of information just by reading the biography of John H. Gibbs.
One note on searching; the diaries retain the original spelling of the diarists. So if you are looking for references to something specific, like “Tennessee”, recognize that not every young man from Utah knew how to spell it correctly.

6 comments:

In The Doghouse said...

Wow! I didn't have any idea that resource was even available. Thanks for posting the link. I can tell I will be spending a ton of time over there now!

BruceCrow said...

It is a great find. If you have the patience for that kind of work you can discover wonderful gems.

Ardis E. Parshall said...

Well, I sure learned something. I was familiar with the diaries and have used them quite a bit, but I'm one of those who have struggled with the slow interface. I'll try your trick of saving the printing version and working offline. Thanks!

BruceCrow said...

Wow, Ardis! Never did I think I would teach you something. It has always been the other way around. You made my day!

Susan W H said...

Thank you for sharing your resources. (I'm catching up after a few days away.)

BruceCrow said...

Catch up all you want. Most people who visit my site do so in no particular order. Please feel free to do the same.