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Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 29 Jan 2013 4:07AM GMT
Classification: Query
I apologize for this post -- I am assuming there has been conversation about this topic before, but I am unable to find the threads using the search tools on the board. I hope you're willing to offer your suggestions again!

I am interested in your practices around US Federal Census records. I am using FTM 2012 as well as AMT.

I use the "hint" feature of FTM/AMT, which sometimes is a link to a census record. I follow the link to review the hint and make appropriate selections to save the "fact" to the person in my tree. I also save the media file to my hard drive. It seems that the "default" for FTM and AMT is add this information as a "residence" fact. The file naming "default" for the media files is "YEAR United States Federal Census-#" (where the # is the next number in the sequence of files for that particular year's census files). Likewise, FTM/AMT have defaults for the source references for this data.

Here are my questions and wonderings:

1. Do you use these "defaults" from FTM/AMT?

2. Do you use Census data as a "Residence" fact, or manually configure the fact category to "Census" or some other fact category?

3. Do you make the date of the Census data specific to the date the data was collected (e.g. "14 Apr 1930") or more general to the year of the Census (e.g. "1930")?

4. Do you save the media (the image of the Census page) according to the year as defaulted in FTM/AMT, or do you identify the image with the name of the family documented in the image (e.g. "Smith, John H - 1930 US Federal Census" with John H Smith as the head of household)? Or do you have some other way of naming these media files?

5. Do you use the Source reference information as saved by FTM/AMT, or do you customize the Source information in some way?

I guess the general question would be: How do you process and utilize the Census information that ancestry.com makes available and how do you save that information in your digital filing system?

Again, I apologize if these are redundant questions. I am hoping to develop good practices now (I'm only about a year into documenting with FTM) rather than having to correct thousands of entries later. So I am hoping to learn from your best practices as I continue to develop my own. Thanks for your help!

--Jeff

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 29 Jan 2013 6:31AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 29 Jan 2013 6:32AM GMT
I'm curious. Why don't you just merge the census record into your FTM file or ancestry person record and let FTM/Ancestry handle all of this??

I used to use a separate Census fact for censuses, but it got to be too much trouble when I started my surname study and started merging from 10-20 families a day into my file. I changed over to the Residence Fact and haven't regretted it at all.

I don't know what names FTM assigns to the images and don't care. I view the Media Folder as if it were one big dumping ground - and I find any image I want to see through the source citation dialog screen. (Actually, I rarely use that to find the image on my hard disk; I usually click on "See this Record Online" link, which takes me to that record in my browser. So, I have very little need to look at the actual copy on my hard disk. I only copy them there for when the day comes that I terminate my ancestry subscription).

As for the sources and citations - that is my real sticking point with ancestry's structure. Much too complicated and long - sometimes repeating the text string "ancestry.com" 3 times or more when once would do. And... they often "forget" census page numbers, which drives me mad.

That's just my way of dealing with censuses.




Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 2:54AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hey Silverfox,

I appreciate your note, and recognize that letting FTM/Ancestry handle the fact details, source information, and media file naming is one way to handle Census data. With a few variations, that is what I have done until now. I'm of a bit of a different mind, though, as I continue to do more and more work with my family history. If I am investing my time and attention to doing genealogical research, I think that by investing just a bit more I will have computer files and family tree records that are more universally accessible than just relying on FTM. For example, the media files could be more useful outside of FTM if they had a naming system that was more intuitive and/or informative than simply listing the census year, name, and sequence number. Who knows where FTM will be in a generation or two, but my hope is that carefully archived digital files (changing to the current standards, of course) will be accessible in ways that are helpful. There are times when I look for a record or file and would prefer to not have to use FTM as a media sorter.

So I'm hoping that there are others who might have sought a practice to supplement the "defaults" offered by FTM/Ancestry. If you're willing to share, I'd love to learn...

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 5:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
I found a very helpful thread from 2011 which addresses several of the questions I have been raising:

http://boards.ancestry.co.uk/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=6100&...

Silverfox, you had good things to say in that thread, too!

I am still wondering about file naming conventions for census page images. Any thoughts?

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 2:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 30 Jan 2013 2:23PM GMT
>>4. Do you save the media (the image of the Census page) according to the
>>year as defaulted in FTM/AMT, or do you identify the image with the name of
>>the family documented in the image (e.g. "Smith, John H - 1930 US Federal
>>Census" with John H Smith as the head of household)? Or do you have some
>>other way of naming these media files?

All of your other questions are just a matter of personal preference. Personally I tend to leave the facts & info as it is set up by the program, as a simple matter of workload. Changing every automatic Residence fact to a Census fact would require an immense amount of time with (IMO) no significant benefit - but if you have the time & prefer the changes, go for it.

The name of the census image, however, should NOT contain the name of the person you're referencing. The image is not related to that person, it's related to a source - and the source is then related to a citation. The CITATION contains the name of the person, the SOURCE may have 40 different people on it.

If you want to rename the image with more detail, feel free to add anything that appears in the HEADER of the census page - the date, the district, the town, the enumerator's name if you wish. But remember that the image refers to the whole page, not just line #23 where your ancestor is listed.

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 5 Feb 2013 8:52PM GMT
Classification: Query
As others have said, it's a matter of personal preference. Here's what I do...

I save the media file with my own naming convention... year, type of census, town/city, name of head of household
Example - 1940 US Census - Boston, MA - John Doe

I then create a source/citation with the same name style.

This allows me to keep like "raw" media files together on my hard drive before I link it to FTM. I can then easily match it to the source/citation when I'm ready to load.

To each their own... find a style you like & stick with it. I changed mid-stream when I realized I was losing information and then had to go back and correct everything. UGH!!!!

Pete

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 7 Feb 2013 6:49PM GMT
Classification: Query
I rename the media files for ease of sorting and indentification. For census records the format is something like:
1940USFederalCensus_State_County_Town_EDNumber_SheetNumber

It varies a little since the conventions changed for the census over the years, i.e. there was not always Enumeration District numbers for example.

Since I might have several households all on the same census page this means that they can all point to the one media file instead of several -- which can happen if you download the data from Ancestry over many different years or if you got the image from another source.

Makes it easier for me to go and look at an image outside of the program as well since I do not need FTM open to interpret a string of random numbers in order to figure out what media file is associated with what census record.

--Elizabeth

Re: Census Data - Categories, Media, File Naming, etc.

Posted: 7 Feb 2013 7:02PM GMT
Classification: Query
@Shalandra: I do a similar thing with UK census and Australian Electoral Rolls. I also tag them with the family names.
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