Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Addiction

As if I didn't have enough to keep myself occupied what with applying for jobs, baking cookies, crocheting stuff, painting, sewing, working full-time, working part-time, writing, reading, and being addicted to facebook, I am now also addicted to indexing census files on familysearch.org. I've always been obsessed with genealogy, and old stuff in general, so my two passions have united in this volunteer effort. Familysearch.org is a website run by the LDS church where people can find information about their ancestors and stuff, but of course people can only search what is online, and there are millions of census records and other primary documents that were written up in the 1800s, and made into microfiches later, but now need to be entered into a digital format. So anyone who wants to can volunteer to download some scanned images of these records and enter the information into table form, so it can be eventually used by people who are searching for information about their ancestors. So far today I have transcribed five pages of Canadian census forms from 1860. It's so fascinating, because even though I am just copying the names, nationalities, and ages of the people, the census forms also include occupation and other things like how many acres of land the person owned at the time, and what crops they were growing. It's so interesting to see peoples occupations listed, everything from "Servant" to "Gentleman." The occupations of some of the women are "Spinster" or "Widow." Some people might find this kind of work utterly boring, but I can't get enough of it. My imagination starts to see these long-ago people, and contemplate what their lives were like.

So, if you want to do it to, all you have to do is go to the website, click on the indexing tab, create an account, read the tutorials, and get going. Once I figured out how to download the latest version of Java, I was all set to go in a matter of minutes.

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