24 June 2011

San Joaquin County Obituary Index Project

Decades ago, staff at the Stockton-San Joaquin Library faithfully clipped obituaries from the Stockton Record and affixed them onto 3x5 index cards.  By 1991, the collection grew so large that the Utah Genealogical Society came and put all the cards on microfilm - 59 rolls of microfilm. A copy of the 59 roles of film were given to the library and the original film went off to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Recently, the film was handed over to the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum.

There are so very few records online for San Joaquin County so Leigh Johnsen, the archivist at the Historical Society came up with a most brilliant idea - make these records accessible to everyone with an online, searchable database which will link to the digital image. 

Representatives from the San Joaquin Genealogical Society, the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library, and the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum gathered with information technologists from San Joaquin Delta College to figure out how this data can be made available over the Internet. The coalition, which calls itself the San Joaquin County Obituary Index Project, has decided to partner with FamilySearch which hopefully will get the project up and running for us.

The objective is simple: creation of an online database accessible anywhere in the world through which visitors can search for obituaries in San Joaquin County newspapers by name. But before that can happen, information from the digitized microfilm needs to be indexed.  That task requires volunteers.

Anybody who has a computer, Internet connection, and the ability to type can participate. They can work from the comfort of their own home, at any time of day, for any length of time. They need not live in San Joaquin County, but can reside anywhere in the world.
Please contact Leigh Johnsen via e-mail at leighjohnsen@sanjoaquinhistory.org if you would like to participate, and please share this invitation with others who might be interested. A headcount of potential volunteers is indispensable for the project to plan strategy as it moves forward.
This is the first time that the organizations in the coalition have come together for a project.  I am  so excited about this project and if this goes well, who knows what we can accomplish working together!

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