June 17th, 2007


Unfortunate transcription error

kateshort and I were searching for various relatives in the U.S. Census section of Ancestry.com. Because the original handwriting clarity and spelling ability of the original census enumerators were sometimes near-illiterate at best, the person photographing the original pages was in an assembly line and often wasn't paying attention to things like focus and contrast, and the people who transcribed the data into Ancestry's indexes were obviously not familiar with every family they looked at, what's in the indexes is sometimes very different from either what's actually on the page or reality, all of which adds to the challenge factor. Case in point:

Whom we were searching for: Bertha Trottnow (an aunt of my maternal grandmother)

How it was indexed: Bertha Poothrow

kateshort's response when I discovered this entry: "You have got to be shitting me!"

(Also, Bertha's mother was named Adolphina. It's written on the page as "Ottophena", and indexed as "Ollophevn". Searching these indexes is sometimes a real character-builder.)

Feudalism: Serf & Turf