Tuesday, April 3, 2012

200 records each!

So I've been thinking....2 million unique viewers yesterday at the release of the 1940 census.  Clearly we have interested people!  132 million or so records in the census to be indexed...each record is indexed twice...and heck lets assume every record also requires arbitration.

3 X 132 million = 396 million.  396 million divided by 2 million people = 198.  So if everyone that tried to view the census yesterday were to index 200 records we would be done.

So, before whining there is no index yet, or that it took you 5 hours to find your person in the census, have YOU indexed 200 records?


For the record, I have arbitrated over 200 records for the 1940 census already.

Common mistakes when indexing:

Now, for those of you who are doing your part (and likely more) and have already started the indexing, please watch this video for common mistakes.  I am thrilled you are working on the indexing and these comments should not be taken as complaints, just constructive helps so I can focus on arbitrating other record mistakes and we can all get this done faster!


As I am arbitrating, I am noticing the many people make the mistake of adding the info to the columns 18 and 19 (residence in 1935) when the column 17 says "same house".  These should be indexed as BLANK.

Another common thing I am seeing in records is "Neg" not being changed to "Negro" like it should be.

"In" is for Indian.  (This is how Im arbitrating it anyhow, I realize that this is not ideal because of course North America was NOT India, but I am going with the "what is written on the page", and In is short for Indian), not "Native" or "American Indian" etc.  Similarly, "Neg" is for "Negro" not "black" or "colored" or similar.

Another common mistake is with the number of household. "Number of Household" as it states in the "field help" "the number was usually written only once ....However, it needs to be indexed for all members of the same household."  also "if the census taker began recording a household at the bottom of the previous census page and continued at the top of the page you are indexing, you should be able to find the household number on the previous image by" looking at the previous image.

Do check your own "Arbitration Results" to improve your indexing, it really does help!

I will work arbitrating until this 1940 census thing is done, so please keep up the great work!

What I'm currently working on: 1940 US census, Virginia.  My current points this month: 1250. (updated 6:20 PM Apr 9)  A few of those points are from other arbitrating I have done on Texas Death records etc.

I think it would be really great if we could get some kind of progress charts up, I realize that may be over-reaching with the server strain already, but I'd sure like to see some progress charts, leaderboards etc.
In the meantime, please comment on this post with your current points this month at familysearch.

Lets get this done in weeks not months!  200 records a person means it is entirely possible for us to be finished this in days!  Lets beat Ancestry.com to having the complete index (and first index for every state too?!)

Update:  FamilySearch and friends have completed their first state index for the 1940 census.  The entire state of Delaware is now complete!  Great job everyone! bolded % is from Apr 10th.

Colorado is 86% done 89% 
Kansas is 82% done 86% 
Oregon is 75% done.  82% 
Virginia 23% 
New Hampshire 17%
California 9% 
Florida 6%
Oklahoma 4%
Texas 3%
Minnesota 3%
Alabama 3%
Illinois 2%
Lousianna 2%
Mississippi 2%
Pennsylvania 2%

Over at Ancestry.com they have completed the Delaware and the Nevada indexes. They are in the process of the District of Columbia index.

On a personal note, today I made my 1000 record goal, and set a new goal for 2000 records for the upcoming week.

Update:  Most common indexing mistake I am finding now (Tuesday, April 10)  is that when a child is under 5, no matter what is written for the 1935 residence columns use BLANK.

Latest Update (11:16 am Apr 11th):

I'm noticing that the almost done states have less than 7 days expirations on them.  

Colorado 93%
Kansas  89%
Oregon 89%
Virginia 39% 
New Hampshire 25%
California 6%  (?? down from 9%?) 
Florida 7%
Oklahoma 5%
Texas 3% 
Minnesota 5% 
Alabama 5%
Illinois 2%  
Lousianna 3%
Mississippi 3%
Pennsylvania 2%
Indiana 6%

Montana 1%
Arizona 2%
Nebraska 1%

Monday, April 2, 2012

1940 US census is here!

I'm so excited.  Once a decade the census release day comes, and for me its a huge holiday!  I am sitting here waiting for the first batches to index and arbitrate to become available.

Ancestry seems to be a bit ahead of FamilySearch in getting the browsable images for each state online.

I had no trouble viewing a census page at Ancestry.com, and havent tried yet on the other sites but I hear that 1.9 million visitors were causing issues for the National Archives.  I predicted this, as I expected a huge number of people would want to browse and find their family right away.

As I have posted elsewhere, I will be focusing on helping with the FamilySearch indexing

Ancestry will be indexing the census on their own (Im assuming with their overseas non-English speaking indexing team, more on this later!)  and putting it behind their paywall after some time.  But for now there is this new Free  Access offer from Ancestry.com to help you located your family the new 1940 census before it is indexed:


Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's from my daughter

Today, I went upstairs to get my littlest kids settled in bed.  When I came downstairs, I looked at my inbox and it was filled with about 20 "Your Relative Finder Introduction was declined" from 23andMe Notifications.  I almost fainted.  They were all blank emails from my daughter, who temporarily changed her name on hotmail to fool me.  I guess this gives you all an idea of how much of a pout and tantrum I pull when I get a decline that this was the one and only April Fool's trick my kids tried on me!

George Starr

George Starr was born in Ireland.

George Starr married Jane Johnston.


1861 Census of Canada

1871 Census of Canada

1891 Census of Canada

Richard Silas Mulligan

grandfather of Jean Mulligan
Great-great grandfather of Kristina Lee Hewitt

Richard was born 1865 in Quebec, Canada.  His parents were James Mulligan and Jane Gabie.

Richard Silas Mulligan married Ellen Jane Powell.

Richard Silas Mulligan and Ellen Jane "Nellie" Powell Mulligan

Richard died 23 Dec 1953.

Richard was buried at Holy Trinity Anglican Cemetery, Pontiac County, Quebec, Canada.

The children of Richard Silas Mulligan and Ellen Jane "Nellie" Powell include:

Ruby Tressa Jane Mulligan

Irvine Mason Ball Mulligan

Birdzel William Clemon Mulligan

Frances Lillian Althea Mulligan

Edgar Richard Bond Mulligan

Eleanor Winnifred Gertrude Mulligan

James Roland Carling Mulligan

Gladys Mildred Olive Mulligan

Dorothy Doris Eva Glen Mulligan

Elva Vivian Pearl Mulligan


1871 Census of Canada

1881 Census of Canada

1891 Census of Canada

1901 Census of Canada

1921 Census of Canada

The 1940 census is coming tomorrow!

As I understand it Ancestry.com will be doing their own indexing and FamilySearch teamed with findmypast.com and Archives.com will be doing their own indexing.

The difference is that in 2013 Ancestry.com will put their index behind their pay wall, and the index by Familysearch and their associates will remain free (like all records) on FamilySearch.

I for one intend to arbitrate and index like a freak when it becomes available.

I was attending a webiner the other day by Thomas MacEntee about how to use the various search tools to find your people in the 1940 census without the index, but think about this: if you used that time to index instead, how quickly would we all be able to find everyone we are looking for.  I personally intend to spend no time trying to find people without the index, and will spend my time working on the index.

You can sign up to index at https://the1940census.com