Shirley Fields brought this fantastic volunteer opportunity to my attention. Volunteers are counted on now more than ever to pick up the slack created by budget cuts all over the country. PLUS you don’t have to GO anywhere to help with the project! You can sit at home in your jammies sipping coffee (or other beverage of choice) and help this project reach completion.
The Indiana Genealogical Society (IGS), the Clerk of Hendricks County, Indiana, the Danville (Indiana) Clerk-Treasurer, and the Indiana Room of the Plainfield (Indiana) Library have been working together for the last two or three years to digitize and preserve all the probate records of Hendricks County from 1823 up to about 1900!
IGS has purchased a couple of cameras and other supplies, the County Clerk has purchased archival quality boxes for final storage of the original records, the Danville Clerk-Treasurer has provided a secure work area, and the Plainfield Library has provided an environmentally-controlled storage facility as the final resting place for the original documents.
Meredith Thompson, the IGS Web Master recruits and trains volunteers to unfold and prepare the documents for filming. She has held several day-long work sessions at Hendricks County libraries where volunteers can come and go throughout the day and work as much or as little as their time permits. These are usually very well attended with folks from all over, not just Hendricks County. Some of the volunteers also go to the work area in Danville as their time permits and work on preparing files there as well.
Other volunteers go to the work area as our time permits and film batches of these records. We have over 75,000 images so far. The images from our cameras are then uploaded for safe-keeping to Amazon S-3 storage (another expense borne by IGS). The images are then put in shared folders in Dropbox for other volunteers to download to their own computers to edit. Any good photo editing program can be used to rotate, chop, and enhance the images. In many cases the edited images are more readable than the original documents.
After the edited images are returned to shared Dropbox folders, they are assembled and a pdf file is created for each probate packet which is then uploaded to the IGS web site and is available there for free!
While the unfolding and preparing the documents for filming requires a volunteer’s presence in Hendricks County in order to do the work, that is not true for the editing volunteers. The editing can be done by anyone with an Internet connection and a photo editing program no matter where they live! Someone in California, England, or even Australia could work on this project as easily as any Hendricks County resident and we’d love to have more help with the editing process.
With the massive budgeting deficits being experienced by libraries, archives, and such, this project is a great example of what can be done with a bit of cooperation between local governments, not-for-profits, and interested genealogists.
Anyone interested in helping with this project can find more information on the Indiana Genealogical Society website.Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
Copyright 2016 - Jenny-ology.com
Disclosure: Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you purchase a product using one of those links. There is no additional cost to you. Occasionally I receive free products to review, which will be indicated in my review posts. All opinions are my own, regardless of compensation. See my full disclosures at the link above.