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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Indexing [Randy Seaver article]

Art I found this article somewhat applicable in relation to the issues you pose.
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Subject: Indexing [excerpts]

1) Indexing census records is a difficult task because of the informant's knowledge (or lack thereof), the enumerator's attention (or lack thereof) and handwriting skills (good to poor), and indexer's attention and skills.

2) A 12% error rate on FamilySearch shows the imperfections of the indexing process - but it is about one half of the 23% error rate on Ancestry.com .

3) The two indexers plus an arbitrator process on FamilySearch appears to work better than whatever process that Ancestry.com employs (a single indexer? Volunteer or paid? English speaking? Located where?).

4) In order to find target persons, a researcher will have to employ all available census indexes and use all of their "tricks of the search" to find the most elusive persons.

5) My recommended search strategy is to use the FamilySearch index with the target name, then try wild cards, age, birthplace and residence filters to try to find the elusive targets. If a searcher cannot find their target on FamilySearch, then do the same type of search on Ancestry.com .

My standard search is with exact names, but I use wild cards and the filters very early in my search efforts. I know that many given names and surnames can be misspelled because of the problems with informants, enumerators and indexers, so I try to use wild cards for capital and lower case letters that look like other letters. For the "Seaver" surname, it's not unusual for me to try sea*, *ver, *vers, ?eaver, se*er*, ?e*er, ?e*ers, etc.”


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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