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Monday, May 24, 2010

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF.


I had intended to summarize what I'd learned about my great great
grandfather Jonathan Phelps West and his brothers from the 1850-1880
Nonpopulation Census Schedules. But I hadn't found the 1880
Agricultural Schedule for JP yet and I wanted to take a last shot at it over
at Ancestry.com. Searching by name hadn't turned up anything so I
decided to search every image for every town in Oxford County, Maine.
The 1880 images show two pages and theorizing that the missing page
with JP might be a right hand page indexed under the name of the town
on the left hand page, I narrowed my search by looking at the last image
for each town. Sure enough, after starting alphabetically with the town of
Albany, I found the missing Upton, Maine image at the end of the images
for Grafton, Maine.

I discovered why the name search hadn't worked when I added the
record to JP's profile: he'd been indexed just as "Jonathan P." with no
last name!

Figuring I was now on a roll, I decided to try my luck with the same
method for the missing second page of the 1870 Agricultural Schedule.
This presented a different challenge. The images show two pages, the
right hand one being the front page of a record and the left hand page
being the second page of the previous record. Reasoning this time that
the missing second page might be indexed with the first page of the
following town, I decided to search the first image for each town. The
main trouble with this was that those pages don't have the names of the
towns or citizens on them; that information was on the front page. So
how could I tell if a page was the missing Upton page?

I looked at the image I had of the front page for anything that might be
dark enough to show through onto the second page. Nothing. Then, I
counted the number of entries on the page. There were 33, so logically,
there should be a corresponding number on the missing second page. I
started looking at the images for the 1870 Schedule and once again I
lucked out! The page preceding the page for the town of Gilead had 33
entries! But not taking any chances, I went through all the towns to see if
there was another image with the 33 entries, but there were no others.

So I have a few more posts to write before that summary.

And that's why it pays to be persistent!

3 comments:

hummer said...

You give us hope.

Kathy said...

I'm glad to see that you concur with my guess that the left hand page on these are from the previous person, and the right hand (with the names) is actually page one for a given person.

Your postings encouraged me to look at these schedules. They do contain some interesting stuff.

Thanks, Kathy

A rootdigger said...

It's a good thing we're all inventive and get our game!