RHODESIA VOTER REGISTRATION PROJECT
Not a question, but more just out of concern about the rubbish being published that is created by i) people who are indexing / reviewing South African and Rhodesian projects when they have never stepped foot on the continent and do not know the place names, common peoples names or the language, and ii) the malicious place name standardiser getting hold of it, and either undoing what has been indexed or fabricating random junk often from countries not even associated with the project concerned, based merely on a few letters, or phrases that it reads.
This is my own observations meant to help with some aspects of the Rhodesia voters project, and hopefully limit the damage by the malicious place name standardiser. The biggest recurring problem in this project is the confusing place name stamps, which seem to have not been adequately covered in PI. On the 1950s &1960s forms, there are often multiple place names along the bottom, either rubber stamped in capital letters or handwritten. Which ones do you use??
The name on the bottom left is the CONSTITUENCY REGISTRATION place, as this ties in with the physical location of where the persons home residence is stated further up the form. The name on the bottom right is one of the 15 DISTRICTS to which voting ballots from all the surrounding constituencies were then further consolidated to after the election for the "big picture" of the country's results. The name on the bottom right will also have a code, usually 2 letters with 2 numbers written next to it, which is a cross reference corresponding to the initials of the original constituency the person was registered under on the bottom left.
ONLY record the constituency name on the bottom left, EXCLUDING the alpha numeric code, in the format: CONSTITUENCY NAME, MAIN TOWN NAME * if applicable (eg Salisbury, Bulawayo, Umtali or Gwelo - see note below), COUNTRY NAME eg Southern Rhodesia or Rhodesia.
If the DISTRICT name on the right is indexed, it is going to confuse the place name standardiser even more than it usually is, as these district names are often the same as established towns many kilometres further away, or river names, or regions that do not exist in the place name database.
Sometimes there are two places on the bottom left, one is crossed out, this is usually the case when the persons residence was on the boundary of 2 constituencies. Use the one that isn't crossed out. If both are still showing, and you are still in doubt, as a last resort look at the persons physical address stated further up the form to determine a town/place.
In the attached images are some examples from 1960s, Example1: Should be Que Que, Southern Rhodesia, NOT Que Que, Gokwe, Southern Rhodesia. Que Que is a town in its own right and Gokwe is another town which is 140km away. The standardiser will dump it to Gokwe, Zimbabwe. Example2: Should be Borrowdale, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (see note below on Sby & Byo), not Borrowdale, Bindura, Southern Rhodesia. Borrowdale is a suburb of Salisbury and Bindura is a town 90km away. Standardiser will dump it to Bindura, Zimbabwe.
In the images attached, are the constituencies overall around the country. NOTE: SALISBURY is sub divided into 18 smaller sub constituencies; BULAWAYO is sub divided into 9 smaller sub constituencies, UMTALI is sub divided in Umtali East and Umtali West; GWELO is sub divided into Gwelo Town and Gwelo Rural. DO NOT just put the sub constituency without the city/town name. To prevent the standardiser messing things up as usual, it needs to be indexed as (name of sub constituency), Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia or (name of sub constituency), Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia otherwise this is a sample of the results (there are many more) https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=salisbury%20south&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=eastern&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=marlborough&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=queenspark&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=jameson&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=central&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=greendale&f.collectionId=3740407 and https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=hartley&f.collectionId=3740407
Also a lot of the images have the rubber stamp on the top left corner, or its printed on the form saying P.O. Box Causeway. This is NOT A CONSTITUENCY, it is the main Salisbury post office where mail in registrations from around the country were returned to. PI and FH are ambiguous and say "the registration place may be recorded at the top of the first image" So many records (4K and counting) are getting incorrectly indexed, reviewed and standardised to Causeway https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=causeway&f.collectionId=3740407 which is i) wrong as it disregards the persons actual reg place in the country and ii) a random farm in a completely different province.
Do not just put Gatooma if the place comes up. The standardiser has invented a place called Gatooma, Chiredzi, Masvingo These are 3 completely different towns in very different parts around the country and from different timeframes https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=gatooma%2C%20chiredzi%2C%20masvingo&f.collectionId=3740407
Although not specifically mentioned in PI, always add Southern Rhodesia to pre 1968 records, or Rhodesia to post 1968 records (although UDI was 1965, they seem to have continued using the same forms and stamps. You will see from 1968. the word Southern has been cut off the rubber stamps). If you omit the country, or do not use the correct name convention for the time period, standardiser will overwrite all of whats been indexed with the modern day town name, eg instead of Fort Victoria, Southern Rhodesia, it will be overwritten as Masvingo, Zimbabwe. PI says do not expand abbreviations, however if you follow this and put abbreviated initials S R the standardiser will turn it into Suriname which is in South America, or for Rh the standardiser will turn it into Rhone, France.
When indexing/reviewing also remember if the LAST one or two images of your batch is an indexable image, to use reference images to call up the rest of the following images for that packet, as often there is extractable data to use such as maiden name, birth date, birth place. If this step is missed, whoever gets the next batch in the sequence will mark their image 1 (or more) that contains the second half of the packet from the previous batch you had, as NED and the info wont be captured!
Reviewers please also watch out for these recurring problems - the indexers who i) insist on either leaving the woman's maiden name off completely or putting it in the christian name box. ii) on the 1952 form for women, they are blindly copying the birth date and place of the husband shown under question 3c instead of looking at page 2 question 10a&b for her details. iii) birth dates and places in general for male & female keep getting left off as they are not being extracted from the subsequent pages of the packets
Constituencies for the various years covered can also be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1946_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1962_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970_Rhodesian_general_election?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Rhodesian_general_election?
That should be a help to those indexing these records. We do ask people to not index records they feel uncomfortable doing. No shame in returning them!1
The complete list of voter registration constituencies over the years2
- What about these project instructions regarding your instructions above?
- The registration place may be indicated either at the top of the first page of the document or with the claimant's signature of declaration on the last page of the voter registration packet. Index all places that were stamped or written on the document in regards to the registration place. Index the names of places in order of smallest to largest, separated by commas. Do not index the residence place as the registration place.
- Additionally, on claim for transfer documents, index the electoral district to which the record is being transferred.
Hi Peggy, as I had stated at top of my post, these are my observations, they are not my instructions. At the end of the day PI needs to be followed no matter how flawed it is. Since my post, we did manage to at least get somewhat of a rework on the flawed/ambiguous PI, but as usual with familysearch, via a third party instead of dealing direct with the people concerned. Some of my points were addressed, others remain. My point to FS about looking at the persons residence, as this ultimately determined the constituency registered in, was turned into "do not index residence place" instead of a more useful "look at residence place as a clue to help determine the correct registration place". However the amended PI still says "index all places that were stamped or written" meaning this project is going to be published with irrelevant/rubbish for placenames for the following reasons:
1) The rubber stamped Causeway: Although they did address the problem of the rubber stamped PO Box Causeway by hiding a brief mention of it in field help for registration place, it is not prominent enough and goes against above current PI
2) The rubber stamp/handwritten placenames bottom left/right side of form: This project is Voters Roll (A) ie the "white" voters roll. At election, they voted for their constituency seat shown bottom left, but they also at the same time voted to have a say in the Voters Roll (B) ie the "black" voters roll result, which was a District vote, the district shown bottom right. By indexing both places, it will create a non sensical place as the district name is often a river like Marimba or Mukivisi, or coincidentally a town name, as per my highlight Gatooma (town), Gokwe (town) or Borrowdale (Salisbury suburb), Bindura (town) instead of the normal hierarchy created by commas in a placename.
3) The problem of Salisbury, Bulawayo, Umtali and Gwelo being divided into sub constituencies. PI still fails to address these, as often just the constituency without the town name is recorded (unless looking at the residence of the person where it is shown). The result, they are still being standardised to other countries as per my seach results originally highlighted.
3) The registration place at the top of the form: Note these are hand written by the voter, and often unknown or incorrectly filled in by the voter, and are at odds with the correct place subsequently stamped or filled in by the official at end of form.
4) The placename standardiser will get hold of the records. Despite trying to reach out to people at FS on the placename database, my attempts have gone unanswered for months. The database contains many ridiculous entries for Zimbabwe, and virtually zero of the old town names of Southern Rhodesia/Rhodesia. It has zero constituency names which this project will be attempting to be standardised to. The result? Garbage will be pushed out, and the standardiser will be even more confused than it usually is by adding the B Roll District vote placename into the mix.0
The Registration Place Field Help instructions appear to be more for birth place. The first 4 paragraphs are irrelevant are they not? Are the instructions up to date so that they match the examples?0
I have done more of these than I should have after reading this. I knew in my heart something didn't sound right to me so I stopped working on this project. Reason I didn't continue was that before I retired, I was the Supervisor of the Board of Elections of our county. So I'm really feeling guilty because I knew something wasn't right but chalked it up to the fact that this was another country and maybe they did things differently than we did here. I really think consideration should be given to at least stopping the indexing & reviewing of this project and re-doing the instructions. I don't know what can be done about what has already been done but at least we can stop doing any more until the instructions are updated.1