Friday, August 3, 2012

Luck is What is Needed in Searching the 1940 Census

I am not here to give a negative review on Ancestry by any means. I love the site and use it often in my records search. However, I must say that for those who have not spent very much time on research, may not have the skills and the know how that is going to take in finding their relatives in the 1940 census.

After learning today that all states were indexed, I spent the better part of the day searching for my rather extensive family. Being that my husband and myself both have Ladner families, and are 5th cousins (but once again that is another blog, lol) we have a huge tree of Ladner's between us.

In looking for the Ladner's I have noticed many many transcription errors. This is going to happen when people are not hand writing experts, and are not familiar with local names and are working at a fast pace. So, after not finding most of the people I should have found I had to go back to a method I should not have had to use with a simple name like Ladner. I had to do soundex, and tried Lodner. Sure enough! Up pops about three pages of Lodner's! Which I could easily read as Ladner. I can see how someone not familiar with the name could mistake the a for an o.

So, I spent a good part of my time adding the correction messages for each of these persons with the wrong name.

Next came my maiden name of Saucier, same problem occurred. I would have never guessed this one using soundex clues. I only happened to notice on a page for Alfred Saucier that his family on a following page were all listed as Lousier. WHAT? A cursive S and a cursive L are not that similar!  So now I had to go and find all the Lousier and add error messages for them.

On one hand I am so excited that they are done and I can search finally, on the other hand it is a transcription error nightmare.

Then there was my cousin Leona for another example. I searched for Leona Saucier. Nothing came up. I knew she had to be there. So, I looked for her sister Bertha. Well, there was Bertha and Leone. Someone mistook the a for an e. So, if I were not experienced in alternate searches. I would be upset right now thinking I could not find my relative and would be on a message board complaining. As I have seen all day, on various boards.

I am hoping they will take note of the error messages and actually go in and either change the names or add the corrected name in parenthesis under each wrong name. So at least it will come up in a search for those as an alternate name.

Now, off to find Leran Ladner, who has been elusive thus far. One can only imagine how the name Leran will eventually be found!

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