28 December 2009

Illinois: Digitizing the records

The availability of digitized records spurs interest in genealogy research.

More people, regardless of where they live, will be able to access more records and find the information required to advance their family's history.

In Pekin, Illinois, a project is making general research easier for Tazewell and Mason counties.
This week, Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society member Carol Hiller finished scanning in the last pages of two large history texts and converting them to CDs: “The History of Tazewell County, 1879” and “A Portrait and Biographical Record of Tazewell and Mason Counties, Illinois, 1894.”

Both books, which are 794 pages and 712 pages respectively, are now available on CDs, which the Genealogical Society is selling to any history buff who fancies one — or anyone who knows a history buff who would fancy one.

Both digitized books are searchable by name and are in PDF format, which can be read by the commonly used program Adobe Reader, Hiller said.
The article, by Tara Mattimoe, covers the advantages of such projects, covering the cost of reprints versus inexpensive scanning to CDs. With budget problems facing many groups, the for-sale CDs ($20 each) are expected to bring in needed funds.

The books offer personal accounts and memories, biographies, drawings, geographic features, houses and settlements, soldiers and more.

It took several months to scan the books and convert them to PDF format.

The project could be replicated by other societies using rare materials from their own libraries.

Read the complete story for more details.

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