Notes from the past…


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I am an Indexer!

FamilySearch IndexingAnd it is so easy to do… and so much fun!

A huge amount of the genealogical data that I have found on my ancestors is available thanks to the hard work of volunteers. I, too, am a volunteer, for Find-A-Grave and Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. But my work for Find-A-Grave is rather limited (weather, time, location) and RAOGK is in limbo right now.

I want to continue to PAY IT FORWARD!

I have been thinking about volunteering to index the 1940 U S Census images, but I was really undecided…

  • How difficult will it be?
  • How much time does it take?
  • Will I be committed to work at a certain pace?

Fear of commitment? I reckon…

But last night, I took the plunge and said “I do!”

I signed up, downloaded the indexing software, watched the introductory video (all of which took about 15 minutes to complete)… and then my soon-to-be-3-year-old-grandson Justin came to visit….

So this morning I downloaded the first batch of images (I chose Texas Death Certificates, of course!) and began my career as an Indexer!

indexingThe software is extremely simple to use and the toughest part of the whole job was reading the handwritten entries.

I’VE BEEN TRYING TO DECIPHER HANDWRITING ON GENEALOGICAL DOCUMENTS FOR YEARS!!!

Nothing new here.

The first batch of images was of 1o death certificates from Nov 1911 in Kaufman County, Texas. Took about 10 minutes to complete. Piece o’ cake!

And I can do this at 3am in my jammies!


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The 1940 U S Census: Did you know…?

From the United States Census Bureau website:

First Use of Questions Asked Only on a Sample Basis
The 1940 Census was the first in which enumerators asked a random sample of the population (roughly 1 in 20 people) an extra set of more detailed questions, including place of birth of their mother and father, mother tongue, veteran status (or whether wife, widow or child of vet), whether deductions for Social Security were made from wages, occupation, industry and class of worker, and, for women who had ever been married, whether they had been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children ever born. All in all, 34 questions were asked of all households, with another 16 asked of the one in 20 sample.

I sure hope some of my ancestors were among that random sample!


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How I created my RootsMagic 1940 U S Census “Wish List”

Yesterday, Randy very kindly mentioned my post from Monday about my 1940 U S Census “Wish List”. Thanks, Randy!

So how did I create my list of people to search for on 2 April 2012 (ONLY 33 DAYS AWAY!!!)?

I use RootsMagic 5 for my database, so this is what I did:

Step 1: Open RM5, click on Reports at the top of the page, then click on Custom Reports.

Step 2: Click on +New, then create a 4-column report, with headers for Surname, Given Name, Birth and Death. (Notice the little cubes with the arrows above the columns? That’s how you add or delete columns).

Step 3: Click on the next line below Surname (Line 1), choose Cell Type: Field and from the drop-down menu choose Surname. Do this across the columns of the report (Given names, birth date, death date).

Your 1940 Census Custom Report template is ready, this is what you should have so far:

RM5 Custom Report #1

Step 5: Click OK at the bottom of the page, choose a name for your report, click OK, and you are back on the main Custom Report page.

Step 6: Now comes the fun part… first, highlight your report from the Available Reports list, then on People to include, click Select from list.

Step 7: Go to the top left of that page, click Mark group, then from the drop-down menu Select people by data fields.

Step 8: Click the first Select field and from the drop-down menu select Birth, from the next column’s drop-down menu, select date, then from the next column’s drop-down menu select is after, then in the next column enter 1850. (I chose this date because I don’t know of anyone in my database in that time period who lived to be more than 90 years old. Adjust your report accordingly).

Step 9: Jump down to the next row, and select and in the first column, then from the next Select field, from the drop-down menu select Birth, then date, then is before, and finally enter 1941.

Step 10: Jump down to the next row, and select and in the first column, then from the next Select field, from the drop-down menu select Death, then date, then is after, and finally enter 1939.

This is what you should have now:

Custom report #2

Step 11: Click OK at the bottom of that page, you will be shown a page that states Marked 132 people (My total, yours will be different), then click OK on that page, click OK at the bottom of the next Select People page, and you are back to the original Custom Report page.

Step 12: Click on Generate Report at the bottom of that page and you have your 1940 U S Census “Wish List”!

At the top right of the Report Viewer, click on Settings and from there you can adjust Fonts or Layout to your liking.