More on indexing the 1940 Census

I’m still helping to index the 1940 census and am enjoying it.  As I posted earlier, I’ve learned some things about 1940 and am glad to help the project.  I’ve since learned a few more things:

  • While in an earlier post I said that the arbitrators were making more mistakes than I was, this is no longer true.  While I still catch mistakes from them, the arbitration has gotten better and has helped me learn how to better recognize what the handwriting said.  There has been a lot of complaining on the FamilySearch community board about the quality of arbitration, but here is what I think happened.  The arbitrators are just volunteers like the rest of us, they just have more experience and wish to do the work.  When the 1940 Census came out it was new for everyone, indexer and arbitrator alike,  so everyone had to learn the procedures for doing the indexing from scratch.  Plus, FamilySearch itself was updating the rules as people came up with questions they the organization hadn’t thought of.  I’m hoping that as the procedures get settled and people get used to them the arbitration issue blows over.
  • While being mis-corrected by the arbitrators bugged me a lot at first, I’m over it now.  This isn’t a competition, and our scores aren’t public. I learn from my mistakes and live with theirs.
  • I’m still waiting to figure out what happens, though, when I mark an incorrect arbitration for review.  One person has posted on the FamilySearch boards that arbitrated events never change, but FamilySearch Support said that the reviewers are swamped. Now that we have arbitrators, we need superabitrators. :-) I’ll be patient on this one.
  • Delaware was the first state done.  I wonder how the quality will compare with later states once people learn the system.
  • Indexing, while a relaxing and rote process, does require some creativity when dealing with  bad handwriting.  You have to get past what that handwriting looks like to consider what it might be, and then see if that fits.
  • It’s strange seeing so many names like Gertrude and Beulah, especially on young women.  Names come and go like fashions, though.
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4 Responses to More on indexing the 1940 Census

  1. Sheryl says:

    I enjoyed your comment about how names come and go, like fashions. People probably can guess my age within a few years based upon my name.

  2. Pingback: Arbitration Results Ruining Your Day? | GenVoyage

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