Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 12

Hello, it's Sunday that means FamilySearch Indexing time. I guess I'm really moving along now in my speed and ability to index. I actually indexed 150 individuals for a grand total of 1174 individuals indexed to date. I just knew once I hit the thousand mark the numbers would just start flying by.

I once again picked Vermont 1900 U. S. Federal Census records. Since I do most of my genealogy work in the neighboring state of New York I am very familiar with the names and type of handwriting in that locality. In fact the writing was really amazing to me, it had such a local flair. I have seen many, many people write in that style. It made me think of all the school teachers that must of influenced the local kids to write a particular way. It was really difficult for me to read the handwriting in the southern part of the US when I did those census records. I'm not sure it's always a hard and fast rule but there is some truth in regional trends is handwriting.

While I was indexing I would stumble upon older people born in the 1830's and it would just make me think of the early days of the Church? What did the people that I indexed think about Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church. I was working in Windham Co. next door to Windsor Co, VT. I got all excited when I found a Smith in my records, but they were born in New Jersey so I wouldn't think they were related. Wouldn't it of been major coolness if they were!

I must of been indexing some areas with money because there were a lot of servants. The census taker again felt they didn't need to put an "S" for single for those that were under the age of 12. Luckily I had a chance to use my shortcut "Ctrl-B" that I learned last week. As I was marking the fields I realized that if I was the census taker I probably would of done the same thing they did! It just seems reasonable to leave the field blank when you are talking about a kid. I can't even refer to my almost 18 year old son as a single person. His older brother and sister are single but he's still a kid to me right now. Well, maybe thats a poor example because he's the baby in the family, oh well.

So what I am trying to get at is not everyone follows the rules. I'm sure in census taking school (grin) they were told to mark the field, just like us indexers are told to. As I pondered upon the situation I thought how many indexers would mark that blank field or put an "S" in to "correct" the census? The rule by the way is to mark it BLANK - it is a required field. See if you "correct" it and put an "S" in there you are going to make a lot of work for other people. Some think they are helping but in fact they are not. If one goes around and corrects the census records and the next person follows the rule then that record is going to unnecessarily go to arbitration and a third person will have to decide which is primary (they save both entries). I have no idea how we are doing on arbitration but my reasoning is that if an arbitrator is not arbitrating then they can be indexing and the work just gets done all the sooner.

So my words of wisdom to you this day is to follow the rules while indexing and enter what you see - let us all just play nicely now and follow the rules.

On a different note I received a great tip from a reader for you this week.
Hi Renee,

I enjoy reading your blogs. I've been doing indexing off and on for several months now and thought I would share this tip with you. Try listening to music while you type. I am able to get a batch done just a little bit quicker when I am listening to music.

Karen Bush
Page, AZ
Thanks Karen this is excellent advice. When I first started indexing I mentioned how I listened to KZION. I really think that LDS spiritually uplifting music in the background really helped me learn and retain what I needed to do in indexing. It also calms the moments of frustration that come when learning to do something different. I highly, highly agree with your observation.

For whatever reason KZION doesn't seem to work for me anymore, I mean the station not as a type of mood setter. I've also tried BYU Radio and I can't get that in either. I don't know what's up with my computer not being able to access those stations? Today I indexed while listening to the album "The Best of Jenny Oaks Baker" sure can't go wrong with that music.

I was late getting a chance to listen to KSL's "Relatively Speaking" so I listened to KNRS 570 Talk Radio over the internet for a while too. (I was hanging out in my computer room and not in the living room where my husband is watching T.V.) "Relatively Speaking" is a genealogy related talk show with hosts Jackie McKay and Mary Slawson. It's on every Sunday from 4-6pm (MST). You know that might just be the ticket; I should try indexing during their show each week! A double dose of genealogy, can you think of any other kind of high to be on?

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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