Sunday, June 08, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 46

I was greeted by the following message this week.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Freemen Letters Project Nearing Completion
Date: 05 Jun 2008

We greatly appreciate all the efforts that have been made on the Freedmen Letters project. This is the first time FamilySearch Indexing has united volunteers to complete a project by a specific date. Because of your individual efforts, we have seen what great things we can accomplish together in such a short period of time. Since May 16th, participants in this project indexed over 106,000 images. That is an amazing accomplishment!

The project is now 97% complete. We are just three days away from our goal date of June 8th. There may be times when batches will not be available. This does not necessarily mean the project is complete; it just means that all of the batches are assigned to volunteers. Please check back often to see if any batches become available until you receive word from us that the project is complete.

If you have a batch from this project that you are not planning to index, please return the batch as soon as possible for someone else to index. To return a batch:
  1. On the start page of the FamilySearch indexing application, click on the batch to be returned.
  2. Click Return Batch.
  3. Click OK.
If you started working on a batch, but you do not think you can finish indexing it by Sunday, save your work to the server and then return the batch for someone else to complete. To save your work to the server and return the batch:
  1. Open the batch.
  2. On the menu bar, click File.
  3. Click Save to Server.
  4. On the menu bar, click File again.
  5. Click Return Batch...
  6. Click OK.
Thank you again for all of your efforts. The progress of this project is being tracked on the FamilySearch indexing home page, Please check there for more information.
I went to the website and saw this message posted.
June 7, 2008: Progress of the Freedmen Letters Project

The Freedmen Letters project is currently 99% complete. Our goal is to finish indexing by Sunday, June 8th. We have seen amazing results from the combined worldwide effort so far. There are still indexing and arbitration batches left to submit. If you do not see any available to download, continue to check back until you hear from us that the project is complete. Keep up the great work!
So of course I had to attempt indexing one last batch of letters. It really wasn't a surprise that the Freedmen Letters weren't even on the list to download from. I think it is great that we indexed that project so quickly. I can't say that I honestly got wrapped up in indexing that project but I did a couple of batches. But, I guess even a few batches by thousands of people helped to get that project done.

I am actually kind of surprised at how slim the pickins are for English language batches on FamilySearch Indexing. I just don't want to learn German, French or Spanish. Aren't I just terrible! I'm even that way in my research. Once I have an ancestor crossing the ocean I just leave him on the docks and go look for someone else to research. I haven't even attempted to work on my husband's lines because his father was born in Poland and his mother in France. If my kids ever catch the genealogy bug the field is wide open for them. I suppose someday my mind will change but right now it's not like I'm lacking in people to do research for. If I ever did find an Irish ancestor among my lines I think I just might be persuaded to do some foreign research then. But, I haven't found any connection there yet.

I don't know how many of you I might of offended with my comments. I love cultures and people just not the learning a foreign tongue part added with a terrible old script. I admire people that research in foreign lands. It would be fantastic to travel to some native home country and see that lands of your ancestors. I think the only way I would get there is if I hired a professional researcher to do the work for me.

My only experience in trying to learn a foreign language was in high school. I took French for a couple of years. Sadly our school district was very humble and the only French teacher they could afford was a man that was shot in the jaw during the war and spoke French with a lisp. No one would sit in the front row because he would spit all over you when he spoke. It confused me to no end. I would sit and listen to him speak and then turn around and have to go into the lab to listen to French tapes. It sounded like I was learning two different languages. I would just sit and cry with frustration. I wanted so badly to drop the class but my parents wouldn't allow me to because Renee is a French name. Maybe with this background you can understand my avoidance of learning a foreign language.

Let's see the only English language projects available are:
  • Louisiana - 1870 Federal Census
  • Louisiana - 1850-1854 Death Certificates
  • Ohio - 1870 US Federal Census
I guess you can guess what I picked. Yup, the death certificates - some of my favorites! I was almost afraid I wasn't going to be able to index it. After waiting 7 minutes for it to download I finally got up and made myself an ice cream cone. When I was done it was up, YIPEE!

The whole time I was indexing it was painfully slow. It was taking forever for all the images to load. I had one lady that I indexed and her name was Mrs. Ernest Stevens. The information knew her parents names, the deceased birth date and place, but not her name. That was a kicker for me. Then I saw it was sort of a pattern for married women to be known as Mrs. So-in-So. I guess that is the 1930's for you.

Then I had a son as an information for his 70 year old father's death. He didn't know his date of birth, birth place or his parent's names. That was kind of sad for me. Must be grief or they didn't speak about such things to each other. The saddest one was a 2 year old that died due to sudden myocardial failure under a general anesthetic for a circumcision. That would be total shock for everyone involved. Such minor surgery too. It said it was due to the anesthesia.

Well I only did the one batch because it ate up so much of my time this evening. I only indexed 19 names for a grand total to date of 7,673. Gotta get to bed and then get up early tomorrow morning.

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


Sue Anne said...

I'm hoping that different projects get uploaded to work on. I think there might be a combination of things happening:
a) When they've wanted people to focus on certain projects (previously it was one of the Wisconsin projects), I noticed that they tended not to have other projects available.
b) I'm wondering if demand might be starting to catch up with the supply. I don't know how many people in Salt Lake are actively working on getting the projects uploaded, but with the growth in people signing up to index it may not be enough.

Anonymous said...

The lack of English projects is due to the push to complete the Freedman Letters. I called one of the managers of the Indexing at the church offices on 11 June and complained. He said there were a lot of 1870 US Federal Census records left to do and some should be posted by Thursday, 12 June. I have been told to notify him if they don't appear and he will fix it. Count on it! It isn't a matter of supply—we have the whole vault to index. They were trying to "encourage" everyone into doing Freedmen. Guess it worked, but it's time to give us more English projects.