An Update of the Jonestown Research Page

by Don Beck

The following changes and additions have been made to the Jonestown Research Page.

• Edith Roller Journals Transcribed

Edith Roller kept a journal throughout the four years she was in Peoples Temple. The journal offers a complete picture of the life of one Temple member, including her job at the Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco, all the Temple meetings and activities she attended, and daily life in Jonestown after her migration there in January 1978.

The Temple leadership knew about the journals and recognized their value. Several times Edith mentions turning copies in for safe-keeping. In one entry she says, “I talked with Carolyn [Layton] about the journal. She assured me the manuscripts would be taken to Guyana with us. She mentioned that some day we must get at editing it, as it will be the record of the movement” [October 8, 1976]. Clearly, Edith saw her work as very important as well.

In 2002, the late Michael Bellefountaine started transcribing Edith’s handwritten journals for 1978, when she was in Jonestown. I joined him in finishing the seven months recovered for that year. Since that time more and more of the journals have been transcribed for display and search online. As of September 2009, all the journal notes recovered – 27 months in total – have been transcribed. They are either online or will be soon.

• Index to journals by day (1978) and by month (1975-1978)

An index referenced by month and date to the 1978 Journals is already online. A second index for 1975-1977 Journals referenced by months will be posted soon. To locate a name or a topic in either index, you can look in that date or month and do a Find for the word, name etc.

• Maps

Newly-released aerial photos of Jonestown yield more coverage and details that will be added to some revised and new maps in the coming year.

• ID pictures

In addition to the Temple membership and passport pictures listed under each person listed under “Who Died,” you can access a display of just the ID pictures. It will be put online in several months.

(Don Beck is a regular contributor to the jonestown report. His complete collection of writings for this site appears here. He is also the principal researcher and writer for the link at Jonestown Research. He can be reached at donbeck@cox.net.)

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on January 3rd, 2014.
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