An 1800s Account Journal: Online for the First Time Ever


This past week we published the Account Journal of Dr. Amaziah Church Sherwood on our website—a set of records that had never before been digitized or published on the web. 

The story of how this journal came to the NYG&B and its publication online is a fascinating look at some of the new and exciting things going on at our society.  

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how the NYG&B obtains, digitizes, and publishes historical records in 2022, and ways you can participate in the process!  

The Upstate Initiative: Helping others preserve and share their historical records  

Funded by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, our recently launched “Upstate Initiative” aims to identify unique and at-risk collections held by historical and cultural organizations, archives, museums, cemeteries, and churches throughout New York State.  

Our goal is to partner with institutions and help them digitize and share their important historical records.  

This account journal came to us through this new initiative. The owner filled out an application and once approved, mailed us a copy to digitize in our new Digitization Center.  

Part of a page from the Account Journal of Dr. Amaziah Church Sherwood.

The Account Journal of Dr. Amaziah Church Sherwood   

This journal contains handwritten account records of Dr. Amaziah Church Sherwood, a physician who practiced in the Tompkins County area between 1841 and 1860.   

Due to the scarcity of birth, marriage, and death records in this area during this period, it’s possible this is the only place some of the names of his patients can currently be located.  

This volume is an excellent example of the type of material the NYG&B is motivated to digitize and publish—valuable yet overlooked records that fill in the many gaps in New York records accessible to researchers.  

Inside our new digitization center  

Our volunteers digitized the entire volume in a few hours of work, and the journal was on its way back to its owner the very same week we received it.  

We published these high-quality images on our website this week—click here to view them.  

This quality and efficiency is now possible with our Digitization Center, which opened in 2021 thanks to the generous support of our donors.  

The tool we use to take photographs of historical documents is a CopiBook OS Scanner—this powerful piece of equipment produces high-resolution images and allows volunteers to capture up to 300 images an hour.  

Volunteers can now capture up to 300 high-resolution images per hour.

Once these high-resolution images are created, we move them over to our new processing computer, which runs a program called LIMB Processing.  

LIMB automatically crops, rotates, adjusts brightness, and performs dozens of other improvements.

It also allows our volunteers to execute an efficient quality assurance process, and exports these improved images into files optimized for publishing on the web.  

How you can help  

This wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of the donors, and the diligent work of our volunteers.  

If you would like to help us digitize and publish more records like this account journal, please consider making a donation or signing up to volunteer in our Digitization Center.  

And if you’re aware of any New York organizations with records to preserve, please let them know about our Upstate Initiative—email for more information.