Sunday, April 17, 2022

Correcting 1950 U.S. Census Entries Using the FamilySearch "Get Involved" App

 I wrote about finding my birth family in the 1950 United States Census in San Diego in Finding My Parents Family in San Diego in the 1950 U.S. Census two weeks ago.  I found that the National Archives name index, generated by a handwriting recognition algorithm, had indexed my father's last name as "Seaner" and my name as "Randilly." applied their handwriting recognition algorithm to the images and created a better index (in my opinion) in 9 days, and then FamilySearch volunteers started reviewing the Ancestry index  and making corrections as necessary.  I waited until California was available to do any indexing, but now it is available for Name Indexing only, and is about 30% complete.  

I wanted to make sure my father's last name and my first name were correct (as written) in the index.  Here is how I did it:

1)  Using the "Get Involved" app using a browser, I went to the 1950 census site:

Here I saw that California was now available to index, and was less than 24% reviewed.  I put "California" in the search field and saw:

At this time, I can not review families (meaning the details other than names) but could review Document Headers and Names.  I chose to "Review Names."

2)  I had the option to specify a surname or not.  I knew that my grandparents were on the same census page as my birth family was, and I knew it was spelled "Caringer" on the census, so I put that in the surname field above.  I didn't know if there was more than one census page with that name spelling but I knew that there were several pages with "Seaner" and "Seaver" and "Carringer" (because I checked!).  

Sure enough, there was only the one page with a "Caringer" and it found the entry for my grandfather on the image above.  I started at the top of the page and reviewed the last names and given names on each line, and clicked one of the "Match" or "Edit" or "Unsure" buttons at the bottom of the screen for each.    There were several lines with "no one home" or similar, which I marked as "Not a Person" using the button on the bottom right of the screen.

3)  My grandfather's entry is on line 25, and it was indexed by the algorithm as it was clearly spelled on the page - as "Caringer."  So I clicked "Match" for his name, my grandmother's name, and my great-grandmother's names on the lines below his.

4)  I had to  choose what to do with my father's last name, which was indexed as "Seaner" by the algorithm.  To me, it is clearly "Seaver," plus I knew what it should have been.  So I clicked the "Edit" button, and put my cursor in the "Surname" field above, and corrected "Seaner" to "Seaver" - and clicked the "Submit" button.  Easy peasy.  The indexing algorithm put my mother's name as "Betty" (it was "Betly" in the NARA index), so I clicked "Match" for that.  Then I was down to line 30, and my name:

The algorithm had indexed my name as "Randell."  Remember, it was "Randilly" on the NARA index?  But to me it says "Randell J" and not just "Randell" or "Randilly."  So I edited it to say "Randell J":
5)  After I clicked the "Submit" button, I was done with the page, and there were no other pages with "Caringer" on them, so I saw:

6)  I should note that if you want to go back to a person and correct your entry or decision, you can click the "Back" button on the bottom left of the screens above.  

I went back to the start and entered "Carringer" in the "Surname" search field and indexed several other pages.  To date, I have indexed 419 names just today - probably 4 pages worth.  

7)  This is really easy to do, and I'm glad that I can help a little bit.  I will do more - perhaps on my laptop while watching baseball games.  I want to try the "Review Families" option when the California pages are available.  

I don't know if the corrections are immediately added to the Ancestry-generated index or not.  I can still put "Caringer" in the surname search field because I didn't edit that last name.  But I will probably have to go through the first 27 names on the page to get to my Seaver family to find out.

I encourage everybody with an interest to contribute to this "Get Involved" effort on FamilySearch.  The sooner all of the names, families and page headers are reviewed, the sooner we will have a useful index for each state.


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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