Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2010-01 > 1263740507
Subject: Re: [S-I] Failure notice
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 15:01:47 +0000 (UTC)
> One wonders if this kind of error will ever be corrected, or "officially" documented.
There is now an option to correct indexes in Ancestry. I have told them many times and they do correct them. There was no way to inform them of various kinds of errors but I think that may have been addressed too....They have actually got back to me regarding problems I've reported (much to my astonishment). I did tell them about this township.
>One of the major problems with "digital" searching is exactly this --- one assumes an exact match.
Only if one isn't too well educated. Whether the documents are indexed professionally or not, because in the past there was no such thing as standardized spelling, it is irrelevant. You must learn to do a 'fuzzy search'. What can help with this is experience searching with the particular search engine. The internal algorithms to return near matches varies. I have spent hours looking for one family in one census -- and found them. I can probably find them faster because I have a lot of experience now with what Ancestry's search will turn up and what it won't, so I know what kinds of additional searchers to do -- sometimes!! IGI is a different animal and a different learning curve.
Most search engines will display near matches for you -- IGI, Ancestry, Google, etc. Those are real important to look at too.
>Without being able to either see the entire record base, as Linda did here, or being able to see the original >records, one has ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE that the data being "searched" is in fact the data which you THINK it is.
Right. You can't assume because some information shows up in an index that it has been transcribed correctly. Plus there might be a lot more information in the actual record. Hence in genealogy classes, books, and articles, you are always taught to view the original material or a reasonable facsimle thereof. We often think ordering the microfilm at LDS is 'good enough' but some pages may not have been filmed. Still for me most of the time the microfilm is 'good enough'.
Plus there's the interpretation angle. Once we are before the age of typewriters, we're dealing with hand written information. Some of it is legible and some is not. As we move further back in time the script used changes and it becomes more illegible to the point where you must learn to decypher the script. After determining what kind of script it is. I recall an event where my mother found some handwriting inside an old family clock. What did it say? I don't know. I couldnt' identify the letters even. I couldn't tell if it was a German script (common here in PA) or early American. My mother thought it was German but the name was her Irish grandfather.... Still my mother was sure she knew what it said and angry that I'd not venture a guess. I knew if I did it would become another family shibboleth based on a guess. She didn't leave the clock to me of course!!!
Some of the Scottish script in the 1600s is so different it is difficult to tell without study if the language is Scots or Latin.... The Scots used Latin a lot. In court documents, up to 1823 I think it was. On use for high school Latin I ever found.
Someone (don't know who) started a rumor in my family that our ancestor was ordained an elder by an early minister. However I have viewed several transcriptions of this man's diary and it ain't there. The original (I am told) is almost illegible. Is it there or not? Donno. Did some one in the family decide some chicken scratch in the original said he was ordained an elder? Maybe. Does it really say that? Possibly no one will ever know. The only way to ever know is hire an experienced paleontologist .
The OCR technology gets better and better but it all needs to be checked. It is very particular about the font. Documents created to be OCRed are created using special OCR fonts. ( I worked in the industry) Mixed font is very hard to OCR accurately. The ink can also affect the quality of the OCR -- or the degree of fadedness.
Still it's amazing to me (knowing the complexity of the problem and the expensiveness of state of the art software) how much good stuff there is out there. Very little of it could have ever been 'found' by us before. Just too many hours in a library somewhere.
I am very addicted to google books these days. I have found frees PDF of books I bought for $100 or more, building my library, back in the days when I no time but more cash. Now I got time by no cash, which is not a problem due to google books. However it is difficult to lie in bed and read a PDF file. Laptops just don't cuddle up like a book and when you fall asleep and it crashes to the floor....well.....it's more expensive <grin>.