The surprise gift in the mail today from the LDS church. How nice to get it. I didn’t expect anything but my own knowledge that I helped in a small way.
Surname Spellings: It’s All In The Eye Of The Beholder
Early on in my genealogical research I was under the impression that it was best to look for the spelling of my maiden name Yates using just those letters. Boy, was I proved wrong almost immediately. While looking in census records for my ancestors with that surname I have found it spelled as Yates, Yats, Aytes, Yeats, Gates, Gats, to name just a few. Actually, the surname Yates refers to “gate keeper” so it wasn’t too far off to see it as Gates.
A lot of this confusion has to do with some illiterate census takers, and (sorry to say) transcribers who just couldn’t read the census takers scribbling. For instance, the Aytes transcription was because the census taker had made a big loop at the beginning of the Y and so to the transcriber it looked like an A. I may never have found my kin in Tennessee if I hadn’t had a kind soul in the Roane County Genealogical Society find the alternate name.
Searching the 1940 US Federal Census (to be released April 2nd, 2012)
With just this one example, I hope that it will encourage you to consider all spellings of the surname for which you are searching. Use your wildest imagination when you do it!
If you will be transcribing the The 1940 US Census, please use your best assessment when it comes to probable name spellings too.
Are You Ready For A Little Census Indexing? Game On! Week of March 19th.
It’s like a huge team, racing down field to make the initial kickoff of the game…here we go Indexers! (yes, I am kind of excited!) First though, a little practice:
- In order to be ready you have to download the indexing software.
- Completed a 1940 U.S. Census simulation batch before 30 March 2012
- To complete a practice batch, just log in to the indexing software and click “Download Batch” and look for *SIMULATION* 1940 U. S. CENSUS.
I’m happy to say I’ve completed my practice batch, and I have to tell you it was so easy to do. It took me hardly any time at all to get it done and submitted.
Contest? Did Someone Say Contest?
Opt in at the Games and Prizes page to enter
There’s a weekly contest for everyone (ALL of my readers). Why? Because there are actual prizes being given away, but you win no matter what because you’re helping promote a most noble deed: the indexing of the census so that it will be free to search through the efforts of a host of volunteers as well as sponsors like Archives™, Family Search and FindMyPast.com.
Two qualified entrants will be able to win two $50 Visa gift cards; one chosen at random may win a $100 Visa gift card. Contests will be ongoing and the topic will change each week. Visit the 1940 Census Blog for more information.
Disclosure: As part of the 1940 U.S Census Ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a Kindle Fire.