Friday, July 26, 2013

Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah

Descendants of Utah Pioneers will welcome the latest record collection from FamilySearch: “Utah, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868.” The collection contains just the photographs. FamilySearch states that the collection contains 11,722 photographs (but FamilySearch is known to overstate image counts by double).

The book has been digitized repeatedly by different parties and placed online, generally with a computer generated index (OCR). The quality of an OCR index is far inferior to a human created index. Compare the image quality and searchability of these versions:

Ancestry.com database. Text only. Somewhere since they published this on a Folio CD, Ancestry.com has lost the photographs. A search found both pages listing Henry M. Tanner: the photo caption and the biography.
BYU Books. 1966 reprint. image I find searching with the ContentDM software used by BYU to be very confusing. You first do a global search. Then you select the book. Then you scroll through the list of pages, looking for red notations of matching pages.
Internet Archive. The 1913 original. image Name search failed when reading online. A name search in the PDF works if you know beforehand exactly what to search for: “HENRY M. TANNER” finds the picture, “TANNER, HENRY M.” finds the biography. However, search did not work at all in Chrome.
FamilySearch Historical Record Collection. Photographs only. record-image Name search worked flawlessly, as did the image browse. Henry Tanner, Henry Martin Tanner, and Henry M Tanner all worked.
FamilySearch Book. 1913 edition. image This is a PDF and hence has the same search limitations as mentioned previously.
FamilySearch Book, part 1.
1966 reprint. Possibly even a photocopy. Part 1 is just the photographs.
image PDF.
World Vital Records. Photographs only. image Search for Henry Tanner and Henry M Tanner worked.

3 comments:

  1. Your note about the version on Ancestry Folio CD, and the photographs being lost, is partly true, since those of us who still have the Folio CDs are frustrated by not being able to access them. The photos and text are all still on the CDs, and are fully searchable using the Folio technology; we just can't use them because Infobases locked us out. This lack of access is due to the "unlock" password needed each time you install the CD to a computer. Infobases didn't plan for the need to re-install on a regular basis due to failed hard drives. Other publishing houses still use FolioViews search technology, and it still works just fine. It's the CDs from Ancestry/Infobases that are locked for evermore. I wrote about the frustration a couple years ago.

    http://www.utahrails.net/folio-infobases.php

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  2. Yes, the Internet Archive (Archive.org) offers a PDF that suffers from the limitations of compression, but they ALSO offer the ability to view the book online. This brings up much clearer and crisper images than the compressed PDF. Zoom all the way in to the photo, right click, and save the image. This provides the absolute BEST version of these photos available online. A little photoshop magic, and viola! You've got your ancestor's portrait! Zooming in the max amount, the cropping out your ancestor's image gives you a roughly 9x11 image at 72 dpi (still very usable if you change the size to a roughly 4x5 at over 150dpi). Yes, there's some jpg artifacts at that size, but it's still the best version I've seen, and it's got that great yellowed hue from the original color of the paper that none of the other options provide! Archive.org is awesome!

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  3. I've been working on an online version of the book in honor of its 100 years since publication. It is available at:

    pioneers.rstebbing.com

    The web site is free and addition to a completely searchable version it offers a growing collection of links to billiongraves.com, geni.com, familysearch family tree, and Utah and Idaho death certificates for the profiles where that information can be found.

    Additionally I've been putting in red warning messages when I find items printed in the 1913 edition of book that seem to be errors when compared to primary documentation. Each profile also includes a link back to the internet archive online version so that the original printed volume can be compared with the electronic version.

    This is a work in progress and new source link information is being added daily.

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