Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Want to search the 1940 US Census? Look at MyHeritage.com

In a post not too long ago, I mentioned that MyHeritage.com will give Ancestry.com a run for its money. I think I was right. By tomorrow, MyHeritage will have a complete set of the 1940 U.S. Census records FREE online. I understand from talking with Gilad Japhet, the CEO of MyHeritage.com that their search engine will allow them to look at the metadata for the images supplied by the National Archives. This gives the search engine, see the screen shot below, the ability to search by state, county, city/town and also by keywords in the Enumeration District description and also search by Enumeration District. As a bonus, they also have link to Stephen P. Morse's Unified 1940 Census ED Finder to locate the districts.


In addition, MyHeritage.com is racing ahead to index the entire 1940 U.S. Census and match their indexes to their existing Family Trees. My best guess is that they will have the entire Census indexed before anyone else is able to do so, including FamilySearch.org with their Indexing project. Why? Because they are already releasing the indexes. In addition, they will give you an email notification of the indexes as they become available. Isn't this duplication of effort? Not really. Where one indexer might read a record in one way, another might see something different. Checking more than one index of the census records is a very good research strategy.

MyHeritage.com already has a huge database of Family Tree information with more than 62 million registered users, billions of historical records, 22 million family trees and close to 1 billion profiles in 38 different languages. Look what they have done with WorldVitalRecords.com; increased the number of subscribers by 53% in the last four months. Look out Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, here comes MyHeritage.com.

2 comments:

  1. I keep hearing from MyHeritage press releases that they are the biggest and best, and that they will have the searchable index before anyone else. That would be great, and I agree with your summation that the more indexes that exist, the better our chances for results. However, have you heard anything about their indexing process? Is this a U.S.based work-force indexing our records, and how will the index results be checked? We know from the collaborative effort that local societies and experts/residents will be concentrating their indexing hours on their state, which will provide local accuracy, plus, possibly 3 people could be overseeing each page of the census to ensure higher degree of quality (with the familysearch indexing system). MyHeritage claims they are going to guarantee 98% accuracy, yet they are also going to be faster than everyone else. I'm just really curious about what is going on behind the green curtain. I'm not so interested in them speed indexing - I'd rather wait a bit longer and know the index is reasonably solid on the accuracy front. So far, I'm not comforted by them just "telling" me they will be 98% accurate. I want to know how they can guarantee this. And....as of April 4th, the way I'm reading the indexing search results up on MyHeritage, they have completed one county in Rhode Island. According to the collaborative/FamilySearch effort, the entire state of Delaware is almost finished. This will be an interesting race!

    BTW, I have NO affiliation with FamilySearch....just a Genealogy Reference Librarian who will need to point my patrons to the most reliable source once indexes start popping up!

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  2. You made some interesting points. I wonder how does one define "98% accurate". I have been doing volunteer indexing for familysearch for 3 years. The census itself isn't 98% accurate. These are hand written documents, not typed, subject to interpretation. The enumerators often misspelled locations, the images are sometimes blurry or ink stained etc. Does "98% accurate mean we duplicated in database form exactly what is on the census page? Can't be done because of the various handwriting opinions. That is why having the image itself available is so important. Nope the best we can all do is to make our best effort, no guarantees.

    FamilySearch relies on volunteers, two independent indexers and a third who arbitrates between the two. How does Ancestry and MyHeritage work?

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