Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on Databases and Pages

I wrote two posts last week about the Footnote announcement on the Census Records - in BIG Announcement - US Census Records and Follow-up to Announcement.

Because I had more questions, I emailed Justin Schroepfer of, and he responded to my questions:

1) Is your agreement with FamilySearch to only share the indexes for the census records?

A: We don’t have a standing agreement with FamilySearch that requires the sharing of these indexes. However, we do work with them to feature the census and additional indexes from Footnote on their site. We are fairly open with our indexes and have offered them to other sites. We feel that this provides value to the different sites and also helps increase the awareness of (all indexed information links to the images on

2) Is my understanding correct that you are creating unique indexes to all of the US census records? If so, that is wonderful, because of the indexing problems found on Ancestry!

A: You are correct; We are creating our own digital images and indexes for the census records.

3) What about the other census records - the Slave, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Social, etc? Any plans for those too?

A: We have already been discussing processing the slave records from the 1860 census. Any other records associated with the census from the National Archives will be considered for processing as well. We will review these additional records and consider for prioritization.

4) It looks like a user can see a Footnote Page from any of the census records, and can add to it, and I assume it can then be found in the Footnote Pages Search (is that a correct assumption?).

A: This is a good question and a little difficult to describe in an email. Rather than initially creating millions of Footnote Pages, a page will be immediately created from someone clicking on the link in the subdocument on the census record – sort of a “on-demand” solution. If a page has already been created, clicking on the link will take you to that existing page. Therefore, these pages will only be searchable in the Footnote Pages Search if the page has been created from the census sub-document by a user. Let me know if this isn’t clear.

5) Won't there be a number of pages for one person if they are in, say, 3 censuses, the WW2 Army Enlistments and the SSDI? Are you planning to get them all together somehow, or do we have to do it by linking to the other pages (or by downloading the census and other images to my computer and then uploading to the Footnote Page) on a Footnote Page?

A: Tough problem, I fear. Yes, duplication is always a challenge. We are looking at different solutions that will help eliminate the possibility of duplication or at least link similar pages.

My thanks to Justin for answering my questions.

His answer to question 4) explains why the census records are not counted in the Footnote Pages count. The user has to press the link to create the Footnote Page in any of the census records, and then it shows up in a search for footnote Pages. Having more than one Footnote Page for an individual is a challenge - but Footnote does permit you to put a link to the other page(s) on each Footnote page.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of I am a paid subscription customer.

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