Edit system will not allow me to edit a field that was indexed incorrectly as a blank, nor others
😥Here's a situation in which the indexer just left something blank rather than simply type what was there. In this case, the 1850 census enumerator wrote:
which in this case means, literally, Anderson County. That's where the census was, so it seems like a reasonable entry. Ok, fine, I will correct it. Nope! Since this field is blank I presume, the Edit ability is missing, too. So I can edit the name, event date, and event place, I cannot edit:
- The Birthplace
- The age
- The sex
- The Race
- The occupation
What is going on? Why are several fields available to edit, while others aren't? The age and sex aren't blank, the birthplace and occupation are...
Áine Ní Donnghaile ✭✭✭✭✭
In addition to @Julia Szent-Györgyi's accurate answer, the fields in a census are limited to what is supposed to be recorded. The county is not a legitimate answer for that field in the 1850 US Census, especially since the state is not included.
9. Under heading 9, "Place of birth." The marshal should ask the place of birth of each person in the family. If born in the State or Territory where they reside, insert the name or initials of the State or Territory, or the name of the government or country if without the United States. The names of the several States may be abbreviated.
Where the place of birth is unknown, state "unknown."0
The index correction function on FamilySearch is very limited: it only applies to some collections, and only to some of the fields within those collections. It also cannot add or delete entries or fields, so for example if the indexers missed a line or a field, it cannot be added, and if something like pater ignotus ("father unknown") was indexed as a name, those fields cannot be deleted or blanked. (The best one can do is to replace the nonsense with a dash.)
The thing to keep in mind is that the index is not the data. It is merely a finding aid for the data. If you're trying to correct the index for a relative, then by definition the index has done its job: you found the record.1
May I offer the long term problem that incorrect information in the fields generates, namely when references are not available the information is accepted as correct,
For example, over time jobs that once existed and are no longer known loose their meaning, as well as the significant clue for place. In this instance reference, "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6DH-ZS9 : 29 May 2021), William F Pike, 1870.
The Indexer typed “sla coptain”. When I viewed the record I could easily see that it was “sea captain”. I am older, always lived in coastal communities and familiar with such jobs, so I know this
It is sad that the future arrived so quickly such that particular indexer had never heard of a Sea Captain. How many years need to pass before more information is lost and adults are repeating that their great-great-grandpa was a sla coptain and what type of stories are they going to create to make it fit?
Regarding the the comment above that the index, even if wrong finds the right people, I’m not finding that. The above example was suggested in email and not the same party and I m not finding information that should be available and wondered for years, if it was wrongly indexed, which means I will never find it.
I pray that you will see the value of correct information and put forth the vehicle to have incorrectly indexed records rectified.0
@Áine Ní Donnghaile, what a wonderful resource (i.e., enumeration instructions). I'm going to bookmark that one! Just as an aside, I'm skeptical that the marshal actually asked each person for anything. Just a "thanks" for this additional resource.0
I also found this problem where the incorrect sex was specified in a Mexican death record for my grandfather - in the index record he was listed as female and his wife as male. The edit function would not allow me to change this.
I contacted [email protected] and got this answer:
"Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support to report the error of transcription regarding the sex of Arturo Montemayor Jimenez. We have carefully reviewed the image and the record detail page (indexed information) and unfortunately this record cannot be Edited at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. Here are a few common reasons why you cannot correct a transcription error that you find. As of March 2020, the capability to edit incorrect dates and places can depend on language, location, and the collection. For other corrections available for users to make, the capability is coming, we ask you for your patience. We suggest to use this record to attach it to the person’s tree with a note clarifying the error, and monitor with us another time to see if the record can be edited. To bypass the wrong indexing, it is suggested to save this record on your source box, then go to the person’s page and attach the record from the source box. "
I don't know if it's so much people not knowing what a sea captain is (Even if we live nowhere near the sea, we've all heard the leader of a ship called a captain in books, movies, and TV shows!) and more that cursive might as well be a second language to my generation--if we can read it at all, most of us cannot read it well. I actually took a BYU-Idaho Online class for indexing, and the first thing they did was teach us cursive, because, well, none of us had used it in over a decade. My younger siblings never learned cursive to begin with, because the schools stopped teaching it. Those of us who did learn it never got any practice, since nobody uses it, and so we forgot it. Cursive simply isn't relevant in everyday life anymore.
The indexer probably just wrote what they saw after being unable to figure it out, as is recommended. That doesn't mean they, or anyone who read it, thought it was correct, it just means that the indexer couldn't read it any better. They will and possibly have gotten better with practice.
Thankfully, our brains have functions specifically dedicated to detect the difference between real language and gibberish, so l don't think anybody is going to be saying they had a "sla coptain" for a Grandfather. Even a Kindergartener could tell you it's nonsense. (Come to think of it, it is actually possible that the indexer wasn't a native English speaker, but I don't suppose that's likely.) Even if they didn't figure it out, most people nowadays would search Google to find out what that is, revealing...
Whelp, I just found out that the S.L.A. is part of the coast guard, so there is such a thing as an S.L.A. captain. At least it involves boats?
Yeah, FamilySearch definitely need to get to work on allowing these to be corrected, because there will always be someone with more practice who can read it better. I'm personally more worried about incorrectly indexed names, which make the records harder to find.0