Saturday, April 7, 2012

Adventures in Indexing

I decided, as I am having difficulties finding family members in the 1940 census, that I would while away the time between now and the debut of the indexes I may be needing, to contribute to the hastening of that day by doing some indexing myself.

So I went to the indexing site, read the information, watched the tutorial videos, and downloaded the software, and got started. My practice download consisted in a draft record for a fellow in Puerto Rico. I see that there are records in Spanish waiting to be indexed, so when the 1940 census is done, I might take on some of those.

Some of the things I have found in my brief bout of indexing today:

In that Puerto Rican sample, mentioned above, though it was not in the 1940 census, there was something I was happy to be able to remedy.  Either the fellow who filled in the form was in the habit of making his lower-case r's look like lower-case t's, or he just did not know how to spell the place name.  Knowing a little about Puerto Rico and a lot about Spanish, I was able to correct it (which the instructions said to do if you have certain knowledge).

A family consisting in a Pennsylvania German and a Mexican, and their daughter. The surname of the daughter was entered and then crossed out, as it was different from that of the parents, yet she was young and single. And her name had been written as "Carlos." Very clearly, it said "Carlos." That's a little strange, but after all, I have already mentioned females named Clifford and Russell in this blog.

There was another family which made me feel kind of sad, because they were Japanese in California in 1940, and I knew where they would soon be headed -- the internment camps. The youngest daughter was only 3. I have heard George Takei -- yes, that George Takei -- talk about his own family being interned when he was something like five years old. Not a pretty chapter in our history.

I did not come up on any really humorous entries -- odd names and that (except for the daughter named Carlos).  However, having names mis-sexed is not uncommon.  My father-in-law's name was Marshall.  In one census when he was a youngster, his name is entered as Marsha.  And I have seen in the 1920 census the entry for an "Ella" Ness, daughter, in the family of Peter Ness of Chicago, a baker.  There was no "Ella" Ness -- the entry is a mistake, and the relationship should be son, and the name should be ELIOT Ness -- the famous Prohibition agent who busted up Al Capone's breweries and facilitated the IRS tax case against Capone.

But I'll be indexing more, and will surely find some more oddities.

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