Monday, October 2, 2017

Mining the "Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920" Collection on FamilySearch

I try to be aware of the record collections that are added or updated on, FamilySearch and MyHeritage just in case a collection will contain records for my ancestors or persons with Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Buck, Dill, etc.

When I find an added or updated collection, I search for my surnames of interest.  If they have quite a few, then I "mine" that collection for records.  I don't wait for Hints or Matches, I search for the surname and then take the time it takes to add the persons, records, and sources to my RootsMagic family tree database.

Last week, FamilySearch updated the "Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920" collection, which now has 1,141,063 indexed records with 742,594 record images.  However, there are often dozens of records on each image.  This collection is also on AmericanAncestors, with a full index, but I don't think they have the post 1915 records yet.  When I searched this collection for Seaver, there were 321 matches - all of them from the 1916 to 1920 time frame.  

Over the last few days, I have looked at the first 60 records in the match list, looked at the indexed information and the record, found or added the Seaver person (and spouse if a marriage) in my database, added the event date, and added the source citation for the record.  It's relatively slow going, I can do 10 to 15 entries in an hour, so I'm doing this 20 entries at a time.  Four hours down, about 17 hours to go.  It will take a month or so to finish this one, but it's doable.

As an example, here is the 5th page of matches:

I clicked on the first record for a child named "Seaver" born in Boston in 1919, whose parents were Nelson H. and Edith (Jones) Seaver.  When I clicked on the name, I saw:

FamilySearch opens a record summary, with a source citation and a record thumbnail image, just below the name on the match list.  Here is the record image when I click on the link to "View the original record."

Of the 60 records that I have worked through so far, only two are for people who I don't have in my RootsMagic database.  For most of them, I either didn't have an event date, a spouse's name, or a mother's last name.  Now I do.

Here is the source citation for the "Seaver" entry above crafted by FamilySearch:

"Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920", database with images,   FamilySearch  ( : 28 September 2017), Seaver, 1919.

Strangely, some of the birth records have the source citation format above.  Other birth records have a somewhat different format, also crafted by FamilySearch:

"Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920," database with images,   FamilySearch  ( : 4 December 2014), Robert Granfield Seaver, 08 Jul 1917; citing Birth, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States, certificate number 1878, page 242, State Archives, Boston.

I prefer the second version, and I wonder why there are two different formats in this one collection.  Ah, perhaps it is because they were added to the collection on different dates.  Note the first example was added 28 September 2017, and the second example was added 4 December 2014.  After checking many of the matches on the list, I think that's the reason why.

321 Seaver records on the list, 261 to go! 


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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