Due to fic research (I was trying to look up and find what info a WWII registration card had on it, and stumbled into a black hole), I ended up registering at Family Search, a free genealogy website run by the Latter Day Saints Church. Which means, I was invited to take part in their 72 in 72 Indexing project, which is a project to get 72 thousand people to index old document records for 72 hours (July 15-17, so starting tomorrow). Which sounded sort of fun, so I checked it out, and it turns out you can actually start indexing it at any point, and I'm having a lot of fun working on it. The 72 in 72 website is here
, if you'd like to join in. You download a piece of software, and then you can start indexing. It's pretty straightforward and easy: you choose the batch you'd like to work on, download, fill in the blanks for the images there, and return it. Then someone arbitrates it and corrects any errors they find. It's free, in that you don't get anything but your own satisfaction for doing it, but if you're a history nerd like me, it's definitely fun to look at the old records and see what was happening.
You have tons of projects to choose from, and they're rated Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, so you can decide which level you're at. You have no pressure to do a certain amount, and you have a week to do each batch you download, and if you decide you can't/don't want to work on it, you just send it back for someone else to index instead, and there's no penalty. The documents range from census and birth records to more interesting stuff like newspaper birth and obits, and even things like bounty documents. Here is some stuff I have learned so far:
- Almost everyone in 1880s France was was either Jean, Jeanne, Claude or Claudine. And if you weren't one of those, you were Pierre, Marie, Joseph or Josephine, with the occasional Philiberte and François thrown in.
- On South African death records, at least in the 1930s, there was a category for 'deceased's occupation or, if a woman, her husband's occupation', like, if you were a woman, either you can't possibly have a job or if you do, we don't care about it.
- British birth announcements are the most British things you have ever read, at least in the 1930s. It reads something like '17th ult., Mrs George Crabtree, 123 Address street, of a son'. That's the whole thing. Sometimes you get the name of the baby, sometimes the mother isn't even listed as a person and it's 'the wife of so and so'.
- Also, when someone dies, they listed the time and route of the funeral cortege for them, so presumably you can stand along the route. Which is a foreign concept to me, so that's cool information to learn.
- People in Belgium in the early 1900s had at least three given names, if not more, and sometimes up to five or six. And usually one of them was Ghislain/Ghislaine.
- On handwritten documents, where you decide to dot the I is totally up to artistic pleasure, so you can just, apparently, dot it for letters down and make the person transcribing have to hunt down the loop it belongs to.
Anyhoodle, I just thought I'd ramble about this in case it appealed to anyone else out there. I enjoy data entry, history, and names, so this is a perfect storm of a hobby for me.