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Getting the “Facts” Online

Getting the “Facts” Online

You know those transcriptions on FamilySearch and Ancestry and such? I am thinking they are done by a computer with no brain and they are never proofread. Along comes a collector, adds them to their genealogy and yet another nonsense “fact” is born.

On FamilySearch I found an obituary abstract. You have to go to a pay site to see the actual obituary. The deceased person is Robert William Jr. His father is Robert Thomas. Duh! How does that follow?

His wife is listed twice, by the same name, obviously a duplicate. His mother is correct, even listing her maiden name. And then there is his son, William Thomas Jr. They were obviously junior crazy that day. I note none of the three generations of juniors are “senior” or “III.”

In the obituary I have the deceased’s name and the names of his parents are correct. He has no children at all. He is listed as “junior” even though he clearly is not. It is from a different newspaper, more local.

I have the birth and death certificates of all three of the deceased. They are correct.

He did, of course, have parents. He did have children including a son. He had grandchildren. There were no juniors in any of the generations.

FamilySearch is not the only guilty site, just the one in this example.

As more and more transcriptions make it online free with actual images on pay sites I expect these lovely transcriptions to fill family histories. Will there will be any truthful family histories in 50 years?


1940 Census

1940 Census

I’m not excited about the 1940 Census. I know. I know. It’s heresy to say that with all the hype that is going on. But it’s true. I know where all my ancestors and most other family members were in 1940 – same place they were in 1930 – and 1920. For the most part, same place they had been for the last 100 years. The only difference is in 1940 they will all be in one township instead of two or, if we go back far enough, three. So I just can’t get excited about it.

And frankly, be honest, how many of you don’t know where your parents or grandparents were in 1940? You might be excited to see the information in writing – maybe you are in the 1940 census – but are you really expecting a big surprise?

I am excited about transcribing the 1940 Census. I think the method in place for doing this, enlisting the help of local genealogical societies to transcribe local counties, will provide future researchers with a much more accurate transcription than we have ever had. We know the local names. That means our grandchildren will not have to be creative in searching for names. Now that’s something to be excited about.