Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the Homer Pioneer Database

I use Legacy Family Tree software for my own family genealogy files, so I created a new Legacy database to start recording all the pioneers of Homer.  Legacy has a feature to create web pages, which I will use to attach the database to the www.Homer-NY.com web site for the one place study.

To get started, I found a nice index of the 1820 census on the Cortland County NYGENWEB site:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycortla/ - thanks to the volunteers who worked on that project.  By importing the names into my data base it saved me creating each of those records and typing in the names and gave me a base to start with.

Next I went to Ancestry to read the digital copies of the census.  I wanted to be sure I agreed with the interpretation of the names by the volunteers, plus I wanted to record the transcriptions of the composition of the households for future use, and source the information.  I also looked at the name interpretations on Ancestry's name index.  I have never compared the records of an entire town to the indexes before and was surprised by the number of errors I found.  Ancestry does allow you to record your own record interpretations to correct the indexes, and I found myself reporting quite a few errors.  Hopefully those corrections will help some newcomer find their ancestral records.  Some mistakes were repeat misinterpretations of handwriting conventions of the time.  Other mistakes made me wonder if Ancestry had used non English speaking volunteers to create these indexes - or individuals who had not lived in the United States.  I got that impression when I saw names that even beginning US genealogists would have recognized without error recorded incorrectly, and these did not appear to be typographical errors, just interpretation errors.

Once I felt I had a good representation of the individuals on the 1820 census, I went backwards to record the individuals in the 1800 census.  I had to remember that Homer was part of Onondaga County at that time.  Another caution, when browsing the Homer census records, the beginning page is not under Homer, but under Fabius.

Accessing the digital copies of the 1810 census has been problematic.  You can't browse the records - Homer doesn't come up.  You can't search for Homer under the residence for individuals - it doesn't come up.  You can search for Onondaga County and get Homer records, along with all the other towns.  I'll let you know how I deal with these problems afterwards.  I think I am going to go in a different direction next for variety sake.

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