Saturday, June 30, 2012

1 July Indexing Sunday!

The images for the 1940 US Census have been made available through the National Archives. To see what is searchable (by names) and to see the progress on the Indexing projects you can go here -

In areas for which the Indexing is not yet complete, you can browse the images, page by page. It may be tedious, but it is a Whole Lot better than working with the images on a microfilm reader! This is progress to have them made available in the internet for searching! But wouldn't you like to have them all indexed and searchable by name?

You, too, can help get that accomplished! This Sunday, 01 Jul 2012, there is a big push to have folks especially work on Indexing for the 1940 Census. Go here - - and sign up, if you have not already, or log in & put in some time on this. This is a great Sunday afternoon activity. You will be in good company. It is interesting work, and you will help a whole lot of people searching for their families :-D

If you have not done Indexing before, now is a great time to start. It is interesting. It is challenging (they want you to do your best to get it right), and you will learn a lot. The push is to complete the 1940 Census. You can choose where to work, or let the next needed area come up for you.

You will need to allow the download of a program onto your computer to do the indexing. This is a good thing. This will allow you to work offline if you want to and it will help keep track of your work's progress. Each batch (about a page in the census taker's book) is indexed by two people independently. Then their work is compared to each other, and any discrepancies are looked at by an arbitrator (someone who has more training and has been at this longer than you or I). You can look at the feedback on your work and get better at it.
You do get better at it, and faster. 'Betcha can't index just one.... Because it is some fun, some people do a lot if Indexing, but there is a Whole Lot that yet needs to be done. We are not in jeopardy of running out of projects. Historical societies in your part of -the world- sponsor indexing projects. If you have language skills besides English (your own research rakes you all over the world?) then you can help with those records, too, and learn some valuable skills that you can use for your own research. There are lots of tips and helps, and support for how to do this.

Typically you get a split screen - with the image that your are working to extract the information from in the top of the frame; and the template with a highlighter moving along for the information they want and where to type it in the bottom half. Creating an index is not extracting all the information, but just key information, so that someone will probably be able to identify their person or family, and then locate the image.

Indexing provides a tremendous service. Thank you for helping out! It will keep you off the streets at night, too!

Who do you know who was probably enumerated in the 1940 Census? What was going on in 1940? This was just before the outbreak of WWII. Did your family relocate during the Great Depression? Where were your guys when they went into the war effort? There are stories with your family - and Listen. Help your elders find themselves in the 1940 Census, or find their parents, or grandparents. It is good to feel like you know where you came from.