Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mo' Films, Mo' Problems

This week, I got a call from my local Family History Center saying my microfilms of Pope County, Arkansas probate records had arrived. This was a small victory given my history with ordering items from the Family History Library.

I arrived and located my films. Given my luck, I fully expected them to be for another state's Pope County or some other error. Not only were they the right films, but I saw the surname I was looking for. Progress!

Unfortunately, the index on the second roll was lacking. If my great-great-great grandfather's will was there, it wasn't mentioned in the index. I did see many references to Williamsons, including my John Williamson as executor and witness. In the coming weeks, I'll return to the FHC and go over this roll frame by frame.

My FHC has a film reader that allows patrons to print records or digitally scan them. There are several Williamson wills I want, so I tried the digital method. All of them came out unreadable, though they looked clear-ish on the screen.

Time ran out, so I had to leave. When I go back next week, I'll bring a camera to attempt to photograph the clear screen, and I'll bring a few dimes in case the printing option works.

Either way I'm just glad my record-ordering curse is over. Onward.


  1. Amy:

    Sorry to hear that the FHC's microfilm scanner/printer didn't work well for you. We're hoping to get Salt Lake to let our FHC have one... but it wouldn't be worth it if the scan quality isn't top-notch.

  2. Dean, thanks for the comment. I should explain better that I think the problem was with the image itself. The microfilm viewer/scanner/printer was great. It gave me all kinds of editing options. I tried to change the quality, tried to make parts brighter and darker, but I wasn't successful. If you have a chance to get this type of machine where you can save images digitally, I recommend getting one. Just don't expect great results from the 1850's Pope County probate roll of film. :)

  3. I can identify. Our FHC microfilm reader/printer died. Of course it was ancient according to todays standards, but we are subject to using our own digital cameras now. BTW did you try having a yellow background to improve reading the film?

  4. Hummer, thanks for the comment. I worked on the image for about 30 minutes, but ran out of time as my FHC closes in the early afternoon. I didn't get to try all the tricks yet.

    The problem for me was that part of the image was too light. If I adjusted for that part, the other part of the image became black. There was no middle ground. Frustrating, but I won't give up!