Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't You Wish....

I'm sure everyone who does research on their ancestry has at one point said, 'I wish I had asked [name of relative] more about themselves and their remembrances while they were still alive.'  I find myself putting any number of my relatives into the brackets almost daily - when I'm trying to determine who my Aunt Kate was married to before she married Allen Moore and what were her kids' names again; when I try to find my mother in the 1930 census, cause she just isn't listed with her parents; when I try to find why my grandpa and his brothers weren't living with their parents in the 1880 Potter Co, PA census and just where were they. 

Now that I have started transcribing records for FamilySearch.org and plan to help index the 1940 census, I realize what a difficult task it is to do some of this work.  Handwritten records are not exactly easy to read, not only because not everyone has excellent, blockstyle penmanship, but many people supplied nicknames instead of given names and didn't spell out the surname for the census takers, and some of the scanned copies are not the clearest to read.

This is a 1880 census for Garden Valley, Idaho.  See how clearly it was scanned and how neat the penmanship is.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  But I guess that is what attracts some people - the challenge to interpret just what is intended.

My advice is, while you have relatives that were around during the 1940 census still alive, you ask them the questions you might have about where were you living, where was Uncle [  ] living, what was their occupation, what did you do to make it through the depression years.  All the questions that might come up as you search through those pages before the census is indexed.  And if you really love a challenge and want to speed up the process of getting all those records indexed, find a place to volunteer. Here is the Family Roots and Branches blog that gives hints for volunteering:  http://family-genealogy.blogspot.com/2011/11/familysearch-volunteers-to-index-1940.html.

Here is a blank 1940 census form to get an idea of the information you will be able to glean once this is available.  http://c.mfcreative.com/email/1940/1940_US_Census_FINAL.pdf

Here's another site with info about volunteering:  https://the1940census.com/getting-started/

So, you have not excuse now.  Get ready for 1940 in 6 days.

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