Thursday, March 26, 2009

Footnote.com's Great Depression Collection - Post 1: First Views

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http://www.footnote.com/ has released their Great Depression Collection comprised of:

* Information on the Major Events of the 1930's
* The 1930 United States Census (indexes, images, annotations)
* Every Day Life and Major News


The Footnote.com press release announcing this major release can be read on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog here. Dick also has an excellent description of some of the features in a separate commentary here. Diane Haddad posted additional information on her Genealogy Insider blog post here. I'm sure that other bloggers will publish the press release so I won't.

I am a paid www.Footnote.com subscriber, so I went this morning to see what this new set of databases looked like. The home page looks different:



The Great Depression collection is highlighted near the bottom of the home page. I clicked on the link for it:





These pages look so sad, don't they? There are three links on this page, and I visited each of them in turn. Here is the Major Events page:




Here is the 1930 United States Census search page:



Here is the Every Day Life and Major News page:




There are three important issues for genealogists using the 1930 U.S. Census collection release:

1. The user can search for individuals in the 1930 US Census using a given name and surname, including a wild card (*), and narrow the search using locality, state, county, ED, estimated birth year, family number and sheet number. The neat thing here is that the wild card can be used anywhere in the name!!! For example, I looked for my dad, Frederick Seaver, and he was listed if I used "fred* seaver," "fr* seaver," "*red* seaver," etc. This is a much more powerful wild card search than any other search engine.

2. When the user finds a person in the 1930 US Census, they can click on the person's census information and open a Footnote Page for that person. The user can then add vital record information, photographs, links, life events, stories, etc. to the person's Footnote Page. This extends Footnote Pages to more than 100 million more persons - those people that were included in the 1930 US Census. This is a powerful incentive for genealogy researchers to add to already created Footnote Pages.

3. If a person in the 1930 US Census, who now has a Footnote Page, already has a Footnote Page (for example, created from the SSDI Collection) the two Footnote Pages can be linked together, but cannot be merged (at least I couldn't make that happen).

Footnote.com did a very smart thing when they started Footnote Pages - they made it relatively easy for genealogists to add information about their family members and ancestral families. They "seeded" them with the Social Security Death Index in September 2008, and then with the World War II Enlistments in December 2008. That created over 90 million Footnote Pages. This 1930 US Census "seeding" creates more than 100 million more Footnote Pages.

My hope is that more people will add information to the existing Footnote Pages and create more of their own for the Ancestral Families. If this system of Footnote Pages catch on, they can become an excellent repository of documented genealogy research. Currently, the information added to a Footnote Page needs to be uploaded (photos, videos, links), or added by typing it in (vital records, life events, stories, although text can be cut and pasted from another source).

Stay tuned - in future posts, I will provide some step-by-step screens of using the 1930 Census on Footnote.com, the Footnote Page created by the 1930 Census seeding, and then try to link it to the previously created Footnote Page.

1 comment:

hypergene said...

Great overview.

Merging Footnote Pages is not available just yet. You can connect them as "Same Person."