28 April 2012

1940 U.S. Census Indexing: No Ire-ish need apply

The 1940 U.S. Census FamilySearch indexing project involves two independent anonymous volunteers indexing each page and then an anonymous arbitrator reviewing and weighing differences between the indices and making the final calls for each page.  One may review the results of the arbitrator's work for those pages one has indexed. But there really is no recourse when one has been corrected incorrectly. Needless to say this has caused quite a bit of consternation among those whose work is being challenged.

Last week I received a congratulatory message from the 1940 U.S. Census indexing project: I'd indexed 50 pages. Of course this was immediately after I'd sent them (whomever they may be) a message complaining about arbitration of my completed Bronx, NY pages. 

I can handle editing. Really! But what threw me over the edge was Eire. Early in my 1940 Census indexing career (the first week in April), I indexed a record that showed the place of birth for several people as "Eire."  I thought this was rather quaint: sort of poetic, with a tinge of political statement. It reminded me of Formosa being called China or the Navajo, Dine. Eire was not, however, acceptable in the index of possible places in Family Search indexing, so I replaced it with the acceptable "Ireland." A day later the arbitrator corrected my Ireland entry and replaced it with "Irish Free State."

OK. I get it. I don't know much about Irish genealogy, but if the Eire equation equals "Irish Free State," I can do that math. "Irish Free State" must be politically correct. So, during my next indexing foray, Eire did not raise my ire.  As soon as it showed up again I dutifully typed "Irish Free State." A day later my arbitrator dutifully changed it back to Eire.

I can't decide if there are two arbitrators assigned to work my "case" or one arbitrator with multiple personalities. Arbitrator A is my friend in indexing and understands. S/he probably has knowing, friendly eyes and a been-there, done-that down-to-earth personality. Sure, s/he may have to correct an errant typo occasionally, but s/he is greatly relieved when s/he gets to one of my impeccably indexed pages knowing what an ace I am and knowing full-well that we are both outrageously competent.  Arbitrator A and I have a shared disgust regarding evil Arbitrator B who cannot follow instructions and hasn't a clue. Arbitrator B wears a visor, has squinty eyes and congenitally pursed lips and will spend hours replacing appropriately indexed <blank> with "Bronx," not quite digesting the fact that "same place" in the context of a page from the Bronx means "New York City" and, therefore, does not require repetition. S/he will also think that Manhattan is the name of New York County. 

I now cringe while indexing records with "same place" in column 17 because I cannot be sure which arbitrating personality will appear to correct my indexing: the one I'd like to have coffee with or the one I'd like to spill coffee on.

One saving grace has been the Family Search Indexing Forums. They provide an area for blowing off the steam that arbitrators generate in all of us perfectly fine indexers. Reading through the rants is good group therapy. And it relieves my stress. 

After reading several posts I realized we must all just pull back, de-stress and remember why we're here: to index all 132,000,000 people in the 1940 U.S. Census. No project of this size could accomplish this much, this fast without some glitches. The index won't be perfect, but it will be pretty darn good. And, frankly, I don't know why I'd need "same house" or "same place" indexed anyway.  Once I find the person I'm seeking in the 1940 Census, I'll look at the record itself.

FamilySearch Wiki has a recent update for indexing.  This has solved my Eire ire situation:   if Eire appears, index as written. Of course, we know that arbitrator A has read this, smiled sweetly and nodded knowingly, while Arbitrator B won't read the Wiki and refuses to change his/her habits. Erin go bragh!

03 April 2012

1940 U.S. Census: Liebross Inconsistencies

Well, my top genealogy goal yesterday was to find my mother and uncle, their parents, and some of my grandmother's siblings at 31 Colin Place. And last night I did find them when Ancestry loaded the EDs for Brooklyn. 

NY ED 24-1839 [click to see readable version]
The whole 31 Colin Place clan was there: the Wilson family (Joseph, Tillie, Norma and Ira) are on lines 24-27; and four of Tillie's Liebross siblings (Rose, Jerome J, Irving, and Celia) and Jerry's son Stanford are on lines 28-32. My grandmother Tillie was the informant.

I don't know what to make of the ages shown for the adults in the house.  My grandfather's would be correct: all the records I have for him are amazingly consistent that he was born in 1889.  But all the rest are apocryphal. Tillie was recorded as 10 years old when she emigrated to the USA in 1898. That would make her about 52 in 1940. Rose was 9 when she emigrated. So, she would have been about 50, not 41.

But I think my favorite ageless wonder was Great Aunt Celia. Ever since the 1920 U.S. Census, Celia had been getting younger. According to the family's manifest, she was born about 1894 and was the sixth of eight children (the two youngest being Jerry and Irving). Between 1910 and 1920 she aged only 8 years.  Between 1920 and 1930, and 1930 and 1940, she only had six birthdays each decade.  She was reported as 36 in 1940 and had miraculously become the youngest of the Liebross siblings!

I was a bit surprised to find Jerry and Stanford at 31 Colin Place in 1940 since other information I'd gathered indicated they'd likely be at 921 Montgomery Avenue, Brooklyn where Jerry also had his dental office. Since I'd already determined the ED for 921 Montgomery, I figured I'd look there, anyway.

NY ED 2102A [click to see readable version]
I'm glad I did. There they are again (lines 1-3)! Jerry and Stanford were counted twice in the 1940 U.S. Census and Jerry's wife/Standford's mother, Sadie, was the informant at 921 Montgomery. Sadie was hospitalized for the rest of her life some time during Stan's childhood. I now know that event had not occurred before April 1940. It did occur sometime before Jerry died in 1948.

02 April 2012

1940 U.S. Census: First find!

We'll I awoke at 5:00 A.M. ready to be online for the 1940 U.S. Census opening ceremony at the National Archives and Records Administration. I thought they did a nice job keeping the speakers to a minimum of speechifying and a maximum of interest and information - particularly with regard to genealogy and history. Of course, their opportunity to strut the stuff of the online images fizzled with a technological difficulty: they couldn't get their own site to load in a timely manner. Thank goodness they anticipated just such an exigency and had some illustrative slides at the ready. Unfortunately, that did not have quite the cachet of a live demonstration. ["Dear Myrtle" was in the audience and noted that people in Israel and Sweden were having no problem loading and viewing the images.  I was once fond of Myrt.]

Anyway, then it was my turn to try.  I'd decided that in my heart of hearts the very first image I wanted to locate was for 31 Colin Place, Brooklyn, NY where my mother, her parents and brother and several of her aunts and uncles should have been residing. On the NARA site, there are about three or four screens one must navigate before seeing the images.  The first one got me to a second that seemed to want the same information I'd just entered on the previous page. Over about 60 minutes I managed to get through about three of the pages, but never the fourth where an image might deign to load.

I left for an appointment, returned home, ate a good breakfast (one must keep up one's energy), and then sat down to try again.  No luck.  The last screen just sat there with a twirling spiral and never loaded the census images for ED 24-1839. I left it for about ten minutes and then decided to give up for now.

Never to be thwarted in my genealogical quest, I decided to try the old standby: Ancestry.  I knew they would not have all the images loaded on their system yet (they'd only been allowed to do so for a few hours), but I thought it would interesting to see what they'd accomplished thus far. Probably because I'm accustomed to their search function, I found their search less onerous than the NARA one. I clicked on "State" and New York was among the choices (great! they'd been loading NY as one of their first batches!). The next pull-down menu showed they'd loaded Albany and Bronx Counties.  OK, 31 Colin Place is not in the Bronx, but I should have other relatives in the Bronx in 1940.  

The pull-down menu for the Bronx showed that they'd not quite finished loading all the Enumeration Districts. So, I selected a low number ED from my ED stash and hit pay dirt.  Yetta G. Myers [sorry Peter], widow of Louis Myers who'd passed away in 1938, still lived at 1605 Walton Avenue, Bronx, NY.  Within ED 3-132A, I paged through 17 pages of 38 and found her on Census Population Schedule page 9B.

She was living with Regina Adelstein, identified as a cousin, and a maid, Isabel Novack, who'd been with the family for at least five years. Yetta was a widow listed as 44 years old. Her naturalization papers in 1925 listed her birthday as 15 July 1892. So, she may have shaved a few years off her age. [1]

Of interest is the name Adelstein.  Yetta and Louis' daughter, Renee, had married Howard Adelstein on 12 February 1940 in Montreal. [2]

Well, if ya ain't in Brooklyn, yeh no wheah! I'll try again, later.

1. "Petition for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944," digital images, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 2 April 2012), Petition for Naturalization No. 53575, Yetta Gladys Myers, 25 June 1924; citing National Archives and records Administration microfilm publication M1972, RG 21.
2. "Quebec, Vital Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 April 2012), Renee Myers and Howard M. Adelstein, 12 February 1940, Shearith Israel Congregation, Montreal, Quebec.

01 April 2012

1940 U.S. Census: Searching for the Myers Family

David and Ida (Chaye Sarah) Malzmann came to the United States in 1913 from Lubin, Russian Empire (today Ukraine) after all their sons and daughters had emigrated the New York City and changed the family name to Myers. David's brother, Zachary, followed in 1921 after his two sons, Israel and Jacob, were established in New York, as well. 

By 1940, the older generation had passed and some of the children had also. Myer, the first to emigrate to the USA in 1902, died in 1936 (in Monticello, NY where he'd retired to the Catskills), Louis in 1938 (in the Bronx), and Rebecca Myers Sotskess in January 1940 (in Manhattan). Eldest daughter, Sarah Myers Morris was discussed in a previous blog post with her Morris Family - so she won't be discussed here. 

Click to enlarge
For family history purposes, the following addresses are those closest in time to and most likely to yield hits in the 1940 U.S. Census.  1940 Enumeration Districts are indicated in blue.

Abraham & (Rebecca Myers) Sotskess
 1940 236 W. 10th Street, NY, NY [1]               31-48  
                                                or 31-49
 1942 102 Christopher Street, NY, NY [2]           31-50

(Louis) & Yetta G. Myers
 1938 1605 Walton Avenue, Bronx, NY [3]            3-132A

Joseph & Rose Myers
 1942 212 East 39th Street, NY, NY [4]             31-1041

Harry & Mollie Myers
 1942 578 Williams Avenue, Brooklyn, NY [5]        24-85

Israel & Eva Myers
 1940 1820 Morris Avenue, Bronx, NY [6]            3-127B 
                                                or 3-1497

Jacob & Bertha Myers
1942 636 Dahill Road, Brooklyn, NY [7]             24-2546B

1. New York, New York, Certificate and Record of Death no. 2120 (24 January 1940), Rebecca Sotskess, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
2. "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2012), Abraham Sotskess, card no. U1124, New York, NY.
3. Bronx County, New York, Certificate and Record of Death no. 9710 (8 November 1938), Louis Myers, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
4. "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital images, Ancestry.com,  Joseph Myers, card no. U2235, New York, NY.
5. "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital images, Ancestry.com, Harry Myers, card no. U3362, Brooklyn, NY.
6. Bronx County, New York, Certificate and Record of Death no. 4981 (20 May 1940), Israel Myers, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
7. "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital images, Ancestry.com, Jacob Myers, no. U253, Brooklyn, NY.

1940 U.S. Census: Seeking the Morris Family

Isidore Morris had been a glazier in New York City and, like many glaziers of the time, suffered a variety of maladies that may have been associated with his profession. Sometime after the 1930 U.S. Census Isidore and Sarah Myers Morris (my great grandparents) moved to a small farm in Perrineville, Monmouth County, New Jersey.  

They'd followed their eldest son, Max Morris, who had married and become a glazier in Red Bank, Monmouth County, NJ. Perrineville had grown into a hotbed of Eastern European Farmers.[1] For Isidore and Sarah this was a respite from their adult lifetimes in the New York City tenements. They had a small farm and farm house.  My father used to talk about milking his grandparents' cow when he went to visit - something quite unusual for a boy from Brooklyn. I have not found any records yet for my great grandparents' farm, but I do know its address courtesy of my cousin Hal Blatt.

Sometime before 1947 when Isidore passed away, he and his wife moved back to the City and to the Bronx.

Click to enlarge
The numbers in blue, below, are the 1940 U.S. Census Enumeration Districts for the addresses shown. When I am able to get online and check the 940 U.S. Census records (I hope it will be tomorrow), I will select these Enumeration Districts and page through 30-40 pages per ED until I find my relatives. If I cannot find them, I will have to wait for an every name index to be created (that's why I'm volunteering to help the effort).

Isidore and Sarah Myers Morris
1930   239 E. 105th Street, New York, NY [2] 31-1603 A or B
>1930  842 Sweetman's Lane, Perrineville, NJ 13-119 or 13-120
1947   627 Manida Street, Bronx, NY [3]      3-406
Jean Morris and Al Zimmerman
1940   2069 E. 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY [4] 24-383
1942   145 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, NY [5]    24-2487A

Max and Irene Morris 
1938   66 Pinckney, Red Bank, New Jersey [6] 13-155
1945   92 McLaren, Red Bank, NJ [7]          13-145 or 13-146

Murray and Pauline Morris
1937   2422 Benedict Avenue, Bronx, NY [8]   3-898

Esther Morris Blatt
1940   762 Brady Avenue, Bronx, NY [4]       3-840B

1. "Monmouth County," Jewish Virtual Library (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org : 
accessed 31 March 2012).
2. 1930 U.S. Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, New York City, 
Enumeration District (ED) 31-816, sheet 4B, dwelling 18, family 92, Isidore Morris; digital 
image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2012), citing National 
Archives microfilm publication T626.
3. Bronx County, New York, Certificate and Record of Death no. 12512 (22 December 1947), 
 Isidore Morris, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
4. Jeannette Zimmerman Petition for Naturalization No. 274072 (8 January 1940), 
Eastern District of New York, Volume 982; Records of the District Courts of the United 
States, National Archives and Records Administration.
5. "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital images, Ancestry.com, card 
Albert Zimmerman, no. U3139, Brooklyn, NY.
6. R.L. Polk & Co.'s 1938 Red Bank City Directory, (New York City, NY: R.L. Polk & Co., 
Inc., 1938), 127, entry for "Morris, Max"; digital image, Ancestry.com 
(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2012).
7. R.L. Polk & Co.'s 1945-46 Red Bank City Directory, (New York City, NY: R.L. Polk & 
Co., Inc., 1945), 279, entry for "Morris, Max"; digital image, Ancestry.com 
(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2012).
8. "Petition for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 April 2012), Petition for Naturalization No. 286624, Esther Blatt, 12 January 1937; citing National Archives and records Administration microfilm publication M1972.