2020.10.07 – Microfilms Lost and Found with a Son of Pirates


In 1974 I was working for the Genealogical Society as Supervisor of the European Microfilming Operations. As the archive records were filmed in each European country, they were sent from the filming location to an Emery Air Freight station in that country, and from there air freighted to the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City. There they were developed, inspected, and processed for cataloging. Following the completion of the work in Vesoul, France, the last batch of films, representing several weeks of work by two camera operators, failed to arrive at the air freight terminal in Paris. Several weeks passed, and plans were begun to re-do the filming, which would require engaging a new camera operator, returning camera equipment to the archive in Vesoul. and reopening the filming project.   

At that time, I was in Nice, preparing to start-up a new filming project. After finishing my work there, I started driving back to Frankfurt/Main in Germany on the Paris-Marseille auto route, past the city of Vesoul. It was a Sunday evening, my wife was with me, and we were anxious to get home that evening. But as we approached the first exit for Vesoul, I felt an urge to turn off. Anxious to get home, I ignored that prompting, and a second one as well at the next exit. But as we approached the third and last exit for Vesoul, I felt myself being forced to turn off the auto route and drive into the city. 

Not having any idea of what else to do, we drove to the LDS Church branch in Vesoul, thinking we might take in the evening church service. But on the door was a notice that services were canceled for that particular Sunday because of a district conference in another city. For reasons I no longer remember, we then drove to the apartment building where the two camera operators had lived while filming in Vesoul. I went to the apartment of the building concierge and introduced myself, and before I could say any more, the concierge excitedly blurted out the words “Ah, les bobines, les bobines!”, bobine being the French word for a roll of film. I was escorted down into the basement and shown several cartons of microfilms. There they were – the lost films, and they had somehow been sent to the former residence of the two camera operators. My wife and I cleared space in our station wagon, loaded in the cartons of film, and were back on our way. The following morning I brought the films to a railway shipping facility and got them on their way to Salt City.

Ralph Hughes

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2020.10.14 - Travel Expense Savings with a Son of Pirates

During the nearly three years I worked as Supervisor of the European Microfilming Operations, I was constantly aware of and amazed at the millions of U.S. Dollars being spent annually by the Genealogical Society to acquire photographs of millions of pages of records of births, baptisms/confirmations, marriages, deaths and burials of people who had lived many years ago in faraway places. And remember that 1972-1974 U.S. Dollars had considerably more purchasing power than the 2020 U.S. Dollars. On one occasion I asked the Manager of the genealogical Society how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints justified the great […]

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