Sunday, April 15, 2012

Victorian Early Church Records DVD

I recently purchased a copy of the new brand new data DVD from Births Deaths & Marriages in Victoria called "Victoria's Early Church Records".  I eagerly put it into the DVD drive on my computer and tried to run it.  A command box flashed up on the screen and closed before I could see anything on it.

My computer is running a 64-bit version of Windows 7, so I tried it on my husband's 32-bit version.  Same thing happened.  I contacted the department who had created the CD and explained I was having trouble and they replied "There is a possibility that the DVD is having problems with the reasonably new operating system.  However it should work on the 32 bit version."  Quite apart from the fact that there is nothing new about Windows 7 (it was released in 2009), I had already told them that it didn't work on the 32-bit version either.  And someone else I knew also had the same problem with the 32-bit version of Windows 7.  Their only response was that we should return the DVD and get a replacement.  But that probably wouldn't work either.

Well I didn't want to give up so I have spent ages figuring out what was happening.  Here is the answer/solution:

1. The file launch.bat that automatically starts up is checking for the pre-requisites.  If there was a problem you will see an HTML page telling you that something is missing.  If you don't see anything then you can assume you have all the prerequisite software.

2. Then navigate to the CD on your computer via Windows explorer (or whichever way you like to navigate).  Go to the directory app.  In it you will find a file called DVDsearchgen.jar which you should double click.  This will start up the application as advertised in the brochure enclosed with the CD.

3. The search works ok, and you can select a record ok to see the details, but when you click the view image button, the image that is displayed is of low resolution, but it is displayed with a weird aspect ratio.  You have to fiddle around with the window to get an image that is at the correct aspect ratio (and therefore looks like legible English) and use the slider on the bottom of the screen to increase the size enough to read it.  You cannot make the window wide enough to see the whole line from the register or you will muck up the aspect ratio again.

4. There appears to be no way to print the image.

So, in summary, I think this is a very badly executed CD, which is disappointing as I waited a long time for it, paid a lot of money for it, and the data in it could be very useful to me.


  1. Hi Jenny,
    I also purchased the Early Church Records DVD and eagerly awaited its arrival. I'm using a 64-bit version Windows 7, so I had the same trouble, went to the web site and realised there was a notice saying that it may not work on 64-bit versions of Windows 7. I reminded myself I should read the fine print next time and I was intending on try the DVD on my Mum's Windows XP machine, but her computers DVD player was broken and awaiting replacement.
    Using your instructions, I have tried the DVDsearchgen.jar and have now managed to open the search screen. I am having the same trouble with the images too...quite disappointing.

  2. Hi Jenny,

    I was also disappointed with the EARLY CHURCH RECORDS images both viewing and printing.

    I have worked out how to get a better view of images from the Early Church Records program which can then be printed.

    I also copied the entire contents of the ECR DVD to a folder (I called this folder ECR VICTORIA) on my hard-drive.
    This saves using the DVD all of the time.

    Better ECR images and printing

    1. Open the folder ecr_images in the app folder where the Early Church Records program was installed.
    2. Open the ECR program. (I have a shortcut to this folder next to the ECR program shortcut on the desktop)
    3. Compete your search.
    4. Double click on the record to view.
    5. Copy the Media File number (highlight then ctrl C).
    6. Go to the ecr_image folder you opened earlier.
    7. Paste the Media File number in the search box.
    8. Right click on the image found then click Preview to see the image in Windows Photo Viewer .
    Then you can use the zoom and scroll in Windows Photo Viewer for a better image.
    (Nos 5, 6 & 7 make it quick to find the file.)
    9. You can then use the PRINT function of the WINDOWS PHOTO VIEWER to print a hard copy.


    Bob C

  3. I also had the same problems that you had (I use Vista on my laptop and Windows 7 on my Desktop and it didn't work in either!!) and emailed the supplier and still have had no response. My point is "why produce a programme that won't work with the common programmes that people are using? Many people (including me) are not techno-savvy and when you pay almost $200 for an eagerly-awaited programme, surely you can expect it to work automatically without needing a work-around?" Very, very disappointing and very poorly-thought out of the Supplier in my opinion.

    Thanks for the tips in trying to get it to work .... can't wait to get home and try the work-around ....