Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mining the SSDI - Finding Married Females in my RootsMagic Database

I mentioned in Are You Prepared to Research Without the SSDI? that I was going to "mine" the Social Security Death Index for persons in my RootsMagic database.  The "targets" are my ancestral family members (mostly siblings of my ancestors) and persons in my One-Name Study collections - Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill and Buck.

I'm using the collection for now because it permits me to easily search by birth year.  The useful information in the SSDI are birth year, death year and last residence (assuming that they actually died there - it's a lead, of course).

I can search, person-by-person, in my database for the person listed in the SSDI list.  That is easily done using the person index in RootsMagic 5 for males.  The problem is that a female who married a Seaver, say, is in my RootsMagic database with her maiden name, or perhaps no surname at all.

So how can I find the right Ann, Mary, Sally or Beulah in the RootsMagic database?  I picked a person from the SSDI database, Beulah Seaver (born 5 Dec 1907, died Aug 1986, last residence: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) as my target).  Here's my process:

1)  In RootsMagic 5, click on the "Search" menu item and select the "Person list."

2)  That opens up the Person list in the "RootsMagic Explorer" window, and you can click on "NameFind" button to open the "Name Find" window.  I typed in the first name "Beulah" and last name "Seaver."  Note that it will find both birth and married last names.  There is also an "Allow close matches" checkbox (I didn't check it):

3)  After clicking OK, the search began and I eventually found Beulah McClain in my database, who married Paul Revere Seaver, with a matching birth date.  If the first person found isn't the right one, then you can click the "Next" button to find the next match.

Is this the right Beulah?  I think it is, mainly because Paul Revere Seaver's SSDI entry indicates that his last residence was Pittsburgh also.

The task becomes more difficult if I don't have an exact birth date, or if the given name is more common.  But it's manageable.

4)  From the screen above, I clicked on the "Select" button (lower right-hand corner of the window), and the Paul Seaver family view opened in RootsMagic. I clicked on Beulah and added a "Death" Fact to the list of facts with the SSDI information.  I then clicked on the "Sources" button and then "Cite existing source" and selected the SSDI from my list of master sources.  I added the citation detail to the entry, as seen below:

5) The SSDI entry also provides the birth date, so I wanted to use the same source citation for that Fact.  I clicked on "OK" on the screen above, and the "Death sources for Beulah McClain" window appeared, and I clicked on the "Memorize" button to save the source citation:

6)  I went to the Birth Fact for Beulah, clicked on the "Sources" button, and clicked on "Paste" in the "Birth sources for Beulah McClain."  The added birth source shows up in the Sources list:

The process took about one minute to work through for this particular entry.  A search for a common first name often takes longer.

It would be helpful if another search criteria was available to use on the "Name Find" menu, like a birth year or birth place.  I think that I can do a "Custom Report" in RootsMagic to find all persons named Beulah who were born in 1907 and married a Seaver, but I think that the process above finds them much more quickly.

In my SSDI mining effort for the Seaver surname, I started with birth years before 1870 and have worked my way up to 1907.  I was finding about 50% of the Seaver entries in the 1870's, but in the early 1900s I'm finding only about 10% or so in my database.  That's because I have not found records naming the spouses of Seaver males, or of Seaver females, past the 1930 U.S. Census.  The 1940 U.S. Census will really help me with this, but I'll need the index to make it work well.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

bgwiehle said...

Beulah's obit wasn't indexed (will need the date to search manually), but here's her husband's,5006519&dq=beulah+seaver+pttisburgh&hl=en
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan 20, 1999
Paul Revere Seaver obituary