Friday, April 12, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Friday, when I try to share reader comments on my blog posts, along with any additional comments or reactions of my own.

1)  On 2013 Readers Choice Awards in Genealogy (28 March 2013):

*  Kimberly Powell commented:  "I agree with everyone else that some of these categories should have been further broken down for more valid results, and the Education category is a great example. However, there is a limit on the number of categories and to include the obvious ones like software, I had to make choices. Genealogy education is my passion, so I was happy to at least be able to include the category. While the winners deserve a huge congratulations, there is a lot to be proud of for being one of the top 5 nominees. The goal was not just 'bragging rights,' but also to let readers know of opportunities and tools which they might not have otherwise explored. From emails I've received, I do think the contest achieved some of this.

"The Readers' Choice Awards are governed site-wide, so I have no input into items such as voting, etc. I do agree the captcha made things clunky, but this was put into place to help limit voting fraud. I know is continuing to refine and improve the process, and it is entirely possible that the recent appointment of Neil Vogel (the man behind the success of the Webby Awards) may help with this. Either way, I was proud that Genealogy was included this year and hope it brought some well-deserved recognition to all of the winners and finalists."

My comment:  Kimberly organized the genealogy section of these awards, and I thank her for explaining more about the process and the problems.  As Kimberly noted, inclusion of Genealogy as one of the award subjects was a big deal, and is real progress.  

2)  On Using Filters (9 April 2013):

*  Sonja Hunter noted:  "I have found certain items that Ancestry has in their databases, but they do not show up when I look at the county page. The last time I had a subscription, Ancestry had numerous city directories for Kalamazoo, Michigan. They simply do not appear when you look at the list of Kalamazoo county resources. Why they don't list them I have no idea."

*  Russ Worthington helped:  "I just found a bunch of Kalamazoo, Michigan City Directories, the first being 1889.

"I did not find it the way Randy showed us, with the filter, but I got there by selecting Michigan, as Randy showed but selected the "Schools, Directories & Church Histories" Category and the first item listed was U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta), then in the right panel selected Michigan, Kalamazoo.  Then you can select the year of the directory. 1880 to 1960 were selectable."

My comment:  You have to check both methods I think - some of the goodies, like City Directories and School Yearbooks, may be hiding in large record collections, as Russ demonstrated.  Items like these need to be added to the County pages on the FamilySearch Research Wiki and the Family History Wiki so that researchers can find them.

*  SearchShack asked:  "Am wondering if you have an example of a digital pension record index. Roots Magic doesn't seem to have an option for a digital record. In this case so far I've just seen the reference to it in Family Search which refers me to Fold3. Will see the record later but would love to know how to document the document so I source it correctly when I do research at our local Family History Center."

My comment:  RootsMagic does have source templates for:

*   "Military Records" (Federal service records, federal veterans benefit files, military service); 
*  "Military Records, Database" (Military Records, databases, online; war records, enlistment papers, POW); 
*  Military Records, Images" (Military Records, images, online; war records, enlistment papers, POW); 
*  "NA (U.S.) Images, Online" (National Archives (U.S.), Text and Image databases, online images; Database title as lead element);
*  "Pension Files, NARA Microfilm/fiche" (Pension File (Filmed); Publication title as lead source list element; Person of interest as lead footnote element); 
*  and several others.  

Look through the list of Source Templates to find the right one for your situation.  Create an Event for your person, then click on the "Sources" button for that Event and then the "Add New Source" button to find the right template.  You could print out the screen of the source template(s) you choose so that you can fill it out with all of the information when you see the actual record.  

For a "pension record index," presumably on microfilm, you probably want the  "Pension Files, NARA Microfilm/fiche" template;  for the actual file on Fold3, you will probably want the  "NA (U.S.) Images, Online" template.  If you see the record on Fold3, be sure to capture the source information for the record that is very complete on Fold3, and capture all of the images on a flash drive or cloud storage site.

*  Dan Stone said:  "You can also use the 'report a problem' feature, which I hope you did. Just yesterday, I came across a city directory from 1892 which was mistakenly referenced as 1829, which I reported. They seem to be good at making corrections, and users reporting problems is an important part of the databases continuing to get better."

*  Geolover commented:  " has been deleting a lot of stuff from citations. I have not been able to detect a pattern. They also have been revamping some indexes and extracts from relatively accurate to absolutely wrong in some cases.

"In the case of the Revolutionary War Rolls, they had the name index very early in their corporate internet installation, long before they had the microfilm images. Thus there was no indexing project that would have linked names to actual uploaded images. Every online index link to this group is to the first image that was uploaded from each microfilm roll, no matter what it was.  In this record group there are image sections and individual images that are not indexed at all.

"At the beginning of each roll is a summary of what is on each of the rolls, plus a list of what is on the particular microfilm roll. This can be tedious to page through, but can give a rough idea of where in the images one could best start browsing: the Jacket [file] Numbers are given here, and are in the microfilm images at the beginning of each Jacket, although not included in the index.

"A general list of what is on each microfilm roll (not broken down by Jackets) has most generously been provided by John K. Robertson and Bob McDonald: "

My comments:  My thanks to Geolover for adding pertinent information that explains how this problem happened.  The Robertson/McDonald website provides interesting context for the records in addition to a description of each microfilm roll.

I did not notify about this problem - I've been told that they read my blog and highlight issues raised on the blog for possible action.  

*  Genealogy in Ireland said:  "I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that's at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc."

My comment:  I love spam fan mail!  I wonder if there is a BS meter that can tell what is random misinformation on other blogs?  It would sure simplify my day.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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