Monday, July 30, 2012

1940 Census Update - Missouri now searchable on

Last Wednesday (July 25, 2012), updated the status of Missouri to "Completed" for the 1940  Census. Definitely a reason to celebrate.
Shameless exploitation of
some of my family!

They've added some nifty new features to help you stay on track as you zoom in for a closer look at images. For one, when viewing the page image, the person you click on is highlighted, along with the entire household.  Plus, once the image is enlarged to the point where you longer see the names on the left or the column headings at the top, sidebars appear with the names and column headings much in the fashion of an Excel spreadsheet.

I would like to say I appreciate all the hard work that has taken place to make this available to the public, along with the new features. BUT......... I really hope this index is a work in progress because it is riddled with errors. Fortunately there is a "Submit Alternative Information" option for each person.  I submitted 8 "alternatives" (5 name changes and 3 relationship changes and it would be 11, if gender was an option!) for the household in the first image.
Compare the transcribed information
to the original  handwritten copy above.

I understand handwriting can be difficult to read but I'm not sure the transcriber even had a firm understanding of cursive writing, relationships, or gender.  How hard is it to correctly interpret M or F? Since when does "Father-in-law" look like "Daughter"? If this information was double-checked, to say I'm appalled is an understatement.  This isn't just one instance of a "bad" page.  I searched for other branches of the ol' family tree in this Census and found similar errors in other households, e.g., incorrect name spellings, ages, and relationships!

There is still hope though! is involved in providing another index and currently shows Missouri as 100% indexed but not yet searchable due to conflicting information that is currently in arbitration.  Let's hope their index is more accurate and reliable and shames into an overhaul of their 1940 index because this shoddy work is causing me to question the validity of their transcriptions of other databases.

When I find out the Missouri Census is searchable, I'll provide an update.  In the mean time, good luck searching, you'll need it.

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