Volunteers seek to restore, digitize 1940 U.S. Federal Census data
One important feature of document imaging is the ability to restore and digitize older data. According to the Herald Star, Lynn and Albert Mooney of Jefferson County, Ohio, recently did just that by organizing and preparing documents from the 1940 U.S. Federal Census that have been in storage in the county courthouse for decades.
This lengthy process requires the diligent checking of papers for tears, removing staples and other techniques that help prepare the old documents are handling. A steam iron is carefully used to flatten each piece of paper.
The couple and other volunteers are working toward recovering these documents not only because they offer an exciting look at the nation's population in 1940, but also to help individuals more accurately trace genealogy. In conjunction with the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) and FamilySearch - a genealogy organization established by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - the documents will be scanned using electronic document imaging and made available to the public. Confidential documents, such as adoption and mental health files, will not be scanned, but rather restored then re-boxed for storage.
"An important process is getting the renovated documents imaged," Flora VerStraten-Merrin, the county OGS chapter director, told the news source. "The pictures will far outlast the documents. You cannot have people searching through documents that old and valuable, as they would be ruined in no time."
The actual digitizing process was done by Beverly and Bill Pace, volunteers with FamilySearch who were trained by professional document imaging services workers. According to the news source, a process of transferring the documents to microfilm began in 2002, but digitalizing will improve the quality and access to these public records. The Paces will be imaging the microfilm as well as the restored documents.
Ultimately, the restoration and imaging of documents for free public availability is a very important service, as it gives individuals a way to track their own lineage, as well as creates a more reliable, permanent and easily accessible public record of the past. This process can be complex and tedious, but organizations can turn to a professional document digitization service provider in order to make it as smooth and trouble-free as possible.