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%


  1. Thanks for these tips. I just finished my first 200. Now for my next 200. :)

  2. I am at 254 as of tonight. :) Trying to do at least 2 pages a day.

  3. just updated my total, 1250 so far! I really think we will have this done way sooner than people expected!

  4. Replies
    1. wtg! Anyone know the earliest expected completion date? I think we are going to wrap this up in weeks not months....

  5. 2751 this morning, just starting on a few more batches.