Monday, June 24, 2013

Southern States Mission Manuscript History


One of the best sources for research into the Southern States mission is the Southern States Mission manuscript history and historical reports, 1832-1964. I use it as a finding aid, since it really isn't a an original document. It is a scrapbook of sorts, collecting stories written in other sources about missionary work in the Southern States. Until recently, the only way to take a look a this record was to go to the Church History Library. Now, however, the microfilm has been digitized, at least most of it. Do you love pouring through microfilms? Well, it isn't the same. Few of us have an internet connection fast enough to get the same experience, but at least it is cheaper than an airline ticket. Have fun!

Update Feb 4, 2014: The CHL has changed the server this is on and the capacity for viewing the whole thing has tremendously improved. The flip side is that I have not been able to download entire volumes at once, only one page at a time. If anyone finds a way around this let me know.



You can also use the browse page the CHL has put together.

15 comments:

Tod Robbins said...

Fabulous! Did you have these digitized Bruce?

Michelle Taggart said...

I didn't know about this manuscript and had no idea some of it is online. Thank you for sharing this with us.

BruceCrow said...

Tod, I was not the one who made the request. My gut tells me this was decided upon internally as simply worth doing sooner rather than later.

BruceCrow said...

Michelle, that seems to be a common theme with the resources in the CHL. Most of us, myself included, don't know what is there.

Dale said...

Years ago, I spent many hours at the CHL poring over the Southern States Mission Manuscript History on microfilm. I had no idea it had been digitized. This is so awesome!

Thanks for making us aware of this!

BruceCrow said...

Dale, I don't know when it was actually digitized, but I am guessing it was pretty recently, maybe less than a year. I found it just a few weeks ago.

Ardis said...

There seem to be some glitches. I clicked on a link that should have brought up 1898-99, but got 1910 instead. Still, it loaded quickly and was perfectly legible. I try to imagine the Church making this material accessible to anyone like this even five years ago, and my imagination grinds to a halt. It's inconceivable! What a marvelous era we live in!

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'll check out the links again.

It does load fairly quickly for the first few pages, but the further I get into each volume the slower it gets. While looking for a specific missionary from 1915 (about 2/3rds of the way into the 1913-1915 volume) the page loads slowed to 3-4 minutes per page. (maybe my ISP has more to do with that than anyone else) Still it is amazing to have this, if not at my finger tips, at least at my knuckles.

Matthew R. Lee said...

Thank you for posting the links! In the catalog Volume 20, 1928-1930 is marked, "Closed to research, subject to staff review."

Where you able to download the volume?

BruceCrow said...

Matthew,
I haven't started going through and saving individual images. I can see the attraction, but there are thousands of pages and I do not have the time or bandwidth to accomplish it. If they are going to start closing stuff to research maybe I should make the time. Honestly, I don't get that exact message, just a generic "unable to load" but it loaded when I tried it the first time, about a month ago.

Matthew R. Lee said...

Thanks, Bruce. With the exception of volumes 10 and 11, I downloaded everything and it came in at just under 5 GB. Rather than save each image I selected the option download "all files." Doing so saves all the images in a volume, or partial volume, to a single PDF. The files are huge so I start the download and come back 30 or 40 minutes later to see if it’s done. The largest file was the index. 720 MB. The others range from 380 to 90 MB. It’s taken several days to get them all but for me it’s worth it.

It would be nice if there were a search term to retrieve a listing of all digitized items in the catalog.

Perhaps the designation on volume 20, “closed to research,” is an error?

Thanks again for posting the links. To have these volumes at home is incredible.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I guess I should have explored the options more carefully. I know what I am doing tonight.

Amy said...

My family and I were just in Utah for three weeks, and I was able to get a very little bit of research done in-between all the other things we had going on, but it's enough to keep me busy for several months, so I don't have time to spend more than a few minutes looking at the Manuscript History, but what a resource. What a treasure to have this online, or on my hard drive when I have some time to follow Matthew's directions.

In other words, thank you for all the links, Bruce. I'll put up a post on my blog with a link to this one, so I can come back and check lists of missionaries or specific dates.

And now, how would we make a request to have it all transcribed or indexed by the happy and willing volunteers at FamilySearch Indexing??

BruceCrow said...

Or maybe I can download some OCR software and try my own hand at it.

Amy, your family vacations to Salt Lake sound like mine.

BruceCrow said...

For those of you interested, The CHL has fixed the two links that weren't working before.