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RE: correcting 1901 census

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  • Robert Boynton
    I tried volunteering for transcribing the 1916 Census and I found it impossible on certain pages so I know how difficult it can be at its worst. I am amazed on
    Message 1 of 2 , May 23, 2011

      I tried volunteering for transcribing the 1916 Census and I found it impossible on certain pages so I know how difficult it can be at its worst.  I am amazed on how quickly they get it done and they realize that errors are made


      Over the past few years, I have sent many corrections to US and Canada census records to Ancestry .ca or com.


      I find them very appreciative.  Sometimes they take a little time to make corrections but the corrections rarely change the original transcription but appear as an additional transcription and they show up in their indices later on.  You have to be patient.


      They will correct their original transcription as above but rarely replace the original.


      One year I made so many corrections to their Census transcriptions that they sent me a free copy of Family Tree Maker!




      From: owner-dist-gen@... [mailto:owner-dist-gen@...] On Behalf Of Rosemary Kry
      Sent: May-23-11 8:35 PM
      To: dist-gen@...
      Subject: correcting 1901 census


      Does anyone have information that could help Marilyn?  It must indeed be a frustrating situation.  If you have suggestions on how she could have an entry fixed, could you please contact her at the email address below her name.  Thanks  :)


       I am working with census files, Alberta District (later Alberta) and for 1901 have noticed very particular kinds of errors in the Volunteer index that is being developed. I have responded as per the opportunities on that web page, but my response is essentially dismissed because the reader/system maintains that the indexer's 'reading' of any given name is the correct reading, and input such as mine is then not relevant. (In fact, my input points to the problems with that reading of the name, and provides evidence from within the site that my reading of the name is correct, not the volunteers reading... as I know it is, for it is my grandfather's file/name). 

      In particular, my grandfather's name which is "Smith" comes up in the index as "Truitt" (partly because the enumerator tends to cross both the t and h when they are together)... the junior constable who is serving in Wetaskiwin with my grandfather gets his name right (Firth) despite the exact same 'crossing' of both the t and the h at the end. In fact, the enumerator, whose name is Mathew E O'Brian, does the same with his first name, at the top of the page, as well as when he enumerates his own family. The indexer interprets the m in my grandfather's name as an 'r', and even a cursory glance at the M in NWMP (occupation field) should enable him/her to see that the second letter is an m, not an r. (As should a glance at the r in Firth's name, which is not at all like the m in my grandfather's name). The only slightly ambiguous letter in my grandfather's name is the initial consonant, the S. The top loop is somewhat 'clipped' so there is little or no open space in that loop. Even that can easily be tested against other text in the enumerator's document. For example, every 'son' on this page shows the same S, although in other places in the document the enumerator quite often prints out that capital S when it is the initial consonant of a name.


      Obviously, given this kind of evidence, if the response is 'the enumerator wrote Truitt' then it is impossible to correct the name and correctly identify the person being enumerated. Ancestry.com also has 'Truitt' as the name; perhaps you will know who cribbed from whom on these two files... Ancestry goes one better, giving his birthplace as Ireland. I think the index has it correct as England but I did not recall making that check...perhaps that field is not in the index files.



      So...my question(s) to you....

                  a) How does one get a family name corrected on the 1901 census? So far it seems that not only I, but many others on the index site, are dismissed when they indicate a name is spelled incorrectly, or is the wrong name. (And there are a lot of errors of that nature; I know my home district well, and know many of the names are not correctly 'read' by the volunteer. In most cases, they are correctly spelled by the enumerator, who will be a local person). In the case of my grandfather I can provide ample evidence of the error, for example, there is no NWMP person with the name Truitt in the whole of the NWMP database on-line). 

      b) I know this is volunteer work, and do not mean to cast aspersion on those people's efforts. Or if it is Ancestry.com work and they pay poorly for their documenters, or perhaps also rely on volunteers. There is actually considerable skill involved to correctly read the writing from multiple 'hands'.


      c) My problem is not so much with the initial error, tho' any second reader (proofing) person should have picked this one up...but with the response of the 'system' when a correction is offered. These are not inconsequential errors for anyone trying to do their own or someone else's genealogy. In effect, my grandfather has completely disappeared from the 1901 census. 


      d) So, more succinctly, my question to you...how can I locate the group/volunteer system that is presently doing this indexing work? I am quite willing to take on the proofing for my own district... or really the area from about Wetaskiwin to Edberg West to East, and Bashaw to Duhamel/Camrose south to north.  But I have to get past the 'filter' which dismisses my input as irrelevant. I am quite certain no one in the 'system' wants those kinds of errors, and goodness knows I do not claim to be error proof in my own work... but I am pretty good at reading a wide variety of hands. 


      I would appreciate any advice you can give me, including simply contact names/addresses/information.


      My thanks


      Marilyn Assheton-Smith


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