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14 July 2016 @ 05:26 pm
It's fun and educational! (At least to someone like me)  
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.
 
 
 
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 14th, 2016 11:33 pm (UTC)
I do a lot of genealogy and use Familysearch a lot, they have some stuff ancestry.com doesn't and even when they both have the same documents I've found the same search can bring up different things on the different sites. Familysearch also has a lot of scanned but not indexed documents so I've pored through things like the birth or death record books of different counties in MN trying to find information. And the handwriting can be... well, at least the English ones I can usually figure out (I've also look at Swedish and Quebec church records, Polish marriage records and German birth/death records and wow, talk about incomprehensible). My computer won't let me download the program thing for the 72 in 72 thing, unfortunately, but it sounds like you're having a lot of fun!
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 14th, 2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
I do a lot of genealogy and use Familysearch a lot, they have some stuff ancestry.com doesn't and even when they both have the same documents I've found the same search can bring up different things on the different sites.

That's what drew me in! When I was looking for WWII registration cards, I remembered some great-great Uncle of mine had one on Ancestry, but my subscription had run out so I couldn't look at it. I popped his name into Family Search, and there it was, and I also found who I think is a relative of my Great-Great-Grandmother's I'd like to explore more. I didn't even know there was another branch of that family who lived in Canada.

It's too bad you can't download the software, it's definitely a lot of fun. For me, at least. I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea. But I kind of like reading as I'm noting and going 'huh, there's no father listed anywhere on this birth record, I bet that was a scandal' or 'that poor man, 39 years old and a widower and six children, the youngest only one or two, that's awful'. It's historical nosiness.

And the handwriting can be... well, at least the English ones I can usually figure out (I've also look at Swedish and Quebec church records, Polish marriage records and German birth/death records and wow, talk about incomprehensible).

I read French pretty fluently (speak and understand it less), and it sometimes takes both my mom and I to sort out some of the Quebec records. Thankfully, most of the records I've transcribed are in modern, relatively neat handwriting, but the farther you go back in time, the harder it is to read. FamilySearch has lessons on how to read Secretary hand, though, and there's a quick reference for different ways people formed letters within the programme if you get stuck. Though that sometimes doesn't help. I have the hardest time with W and M, for some reason. Even when I know it must be an M, it looks like a W to me.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 12:10 am (UTC)
I have a world-level ancestry subscription so access to not only US but most of the things they have in their system no matter where it's from- if you'd ever like me to search for you I'd be happy to.

Handwriting does change a lot through time, it can be hard to parse sometimes, especially if it isn't a good scan of the original document. There's also the issue of people's names not having a standard spelling and just being put down however the official doing the document felt on that particular day. It can be so frustrating!
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 03:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for the offer! I took a break from Ancestry because I'd run the gamut of what they had to offer, and the mysteries I needed solved didn't seem like they were going to be solved. I thought I'd wait for a bit to let the resources renew and hope something new would pop up for me.


There's also the issue of people's names not having a standard spelling and just being put down however the official doing the document felt on that particular day. It can be so frustrating!

I have a specific generation of my family who knew neither how to spell their names nor what age they were. One of them started out life as Almina, somewhere along the way became Elmina, and concluded her life as Rena. Not to mention her father, who started out as Jean Baptiste and ended life as Johny. Or the Wade/Waid/Waitt line.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 03:17 am (UTC)
I also have access (via my library's subscription) to fold3, newspapers.com and genealogybank but all are fairly US-centric so I don't know how helpful they might be to you.

What gets me frustrated is dates. My great grandfather filled out his WWI, WWII and naturalization forms with different birthdates on each (it is definitely the right man, his address and other data matches up). To some extent, I know it's that until the second half of the 20th century or so dates weren't anywhere are important while now they're everywhere and needed for IDs and tax forms and whatnot every day.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 03:26 am (UTC)
The only person you might be able to help me out with if you have newspapers.com is a woman called Mildred Anna Hauver. She was born in Canada in 1902 and died in Worcester, Mass in 1990. If there's an obit for her, I'd love to see it. Brothers Merrill, Raymond, and Byron, and a sister named Nina. Daughter of John and Clara. She married one of my ancestors, and left him, and appears on all census records as single after the fact, despite them never having gotten a divorce. I'm curious if her obit has any new information in it.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 03:30 am (UTC)
Is Hauver her maiden or married name?
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 03:31 am (UTC)
Maiden, but she went by it for the rest of her life, as far as I can see. Baziner was her married name (or variation thereof).
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 03:40 am (UTC)
No luck, sorry. Her findagrave memorial doesn't have an obit either and all Ancestry had was her Social Security Death Index (BORN: 31 Jul 1902
Died: 12 Jun 1990) and Massachusetts death index which had the same info.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 03:45 am (UTC)
No worries, thanks for looking! It's a big mystery in my family, and we're trying to figure out why she left. I've tracked most of her life, but I was wondering if her obit would have mentioned my ancestor at all. I have a border crossing document for her coming over the border to America within the year of her marrying my ancestor and she claims she's single on it, and never been married. I just want to know what happened! :-P
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 03:52 am (UTC)
I think I found her in the 1930 and 1940 censuses? For 1930 she says she immigrated in 1921, spoke French as well as English and was listed as single (she's a maid in Westchester, NY in this one so I'm not sure it's the right woman). 1940 she's in Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts and listed as Canadian English, married and a general maid.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 03:58 am (UTC)
Yep, that's her! I had seen those censes, but they don't make sense, since she married my great-grandfather in Canada in 1925, and by 1926 had crossed the border saying she was single, and then in 1930 she's a maid and single, and by 1940 she's still a maid, but married now, but still using her maiden name, and I think I found another record after that where she's decided she's single again. I just want to know what happened!! I don't think we ever will. She and my great-grandfather never divorced. My great-grandfather had her declared dead many decades later, so he could finally marry my great-grandmother after their children were grown up. They didn't have the internet then, so he couldn't track her after she left, and no one ever knew where she went.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 04:02 am (UTC)
There has to be some story there. Gah, genealogy can be so frustrating, so many tales we can almost taste but never quite will.

She's in various MA directories (I found in '49, '58 and '59) all as maid or no employment mentioned all under Hauver.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 04:14 am (UTC)
Huh. The story in the family is that she ran off with a man, but if she did, I guess she never married him.

Wait...this came up at Family Search. Can you access it if you have genealogybank access?

Edited at 2016-07-15 04:15 am (UTC)
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 04:30 am (UTC)
Well, darn it, now genealogybank isn't letting me log in, saying the login from my library is no longer valid.

Huh, so apparently the library quit providing access to it the end of June and it hadn't updated the login when I tried earlier or something. Bah, sorry. I guess I can't access it.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 04:31 am (UTC)
No worries! I'm sure if it listed my great-grandfather in the obit, the indexer would have put his name down. Probably a longshot anyway. :-P
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 04:41 am (UTC)
Aha! Googling got me this:


MILDRED A. HAUVER, 87
Published on June 14, 1990, Article 1 of 10 found.

NORTH BROOKFIELD - Mildred A. Hauver, 87, of 20 Central St. died Tuesday in Hermitage Nursing Home, Worcester, after an illness.
She leaves a brother, Raymond F. Hauver of Fishkill, N.Y.; and several nieces and nephews. She was born in Granby, Quebec, Canada, daughter of John G. S. and Clara L. (Olmstead) Hauver and had lived here for more than 20 years.
She had been employed at Lutheran Nursing Home, Worcester, for more than 20 years, retiring in 1968.

(the entire obit is apparently 145 words but costs $1.95 to read)

found via search here:http://www.telegram.com/archives?_ga=1.78088340.1888993253.1467085494
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 04:46 am (UTC)
Oh, awesome! Thank you. I'd Googled myself, but I didn't come up with anything. You rock.
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 04:51 am (UTC)
:)

I have discovered some tricks along the way. When just "So+so obituary" doesn't bring up anything I try "Place-where-they-lived newspaper" to find what newspapers cover that area and then search about on the newspaper's site for older obits or try "newspaper's name obituaries"
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on July 15th, 2016 04:56 am (UTC)
I will give that a try in the future. Thanks so much for your help!
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on July 15th, 2016 04:57 am (UTC)
:) Glad I could!
shadowfireflameshadowfireflame on July 15th, 2016 12:21 am (UTC)
Awesome! I do genealogy research and mainly use Ancestry, but familysearch is also great! That sounds like such a cool project, and I'm glad you're learning a lot from it as well.