Zimbabwe—Voter Registration, 1938–1973 (Part B)
gary_noble, I have been working on this project for several months. I have obviously made mistakes and might have missed some information but I have tried hard to follow the project and field instructions. I know where to look for maiden names and also where to find the birth place and date for the claimant. I also understand the name changes for the country over the years and have been careful to include the correct country name.
The Registration place has always been some what confusing, so I much appreciate your post. The problem is that the project and field instructions do not lead to this end result.
Project Examples for the Registration place field: #1Lomagundi A, Southern Rhodesia. #3 Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. The actual constituency shown at the bottom of the page is Gwelo Rural. #4 Bulawayo Central, Southern Rhodesia. #Field help Gatooma, Rhodesia
None of these examples fit the format that is proposed in your post.
So my Question is as an indexer advised to follow the instructions carefully what am I supposed to do?
To me this seems to be mainly a problem with "the malicious place name standardiser"
Any guidance or suggestions would be much appreciated. The batch I currently have open does include Gatooma.
The instructions for this project do not say to index the "factually correct" place. We index what is on the document, unless the directions say otherwise.
The field help is very clear for these registration places:
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. If, and only if, the registration place was not written elsewhere on the document, index the registration place stamped on the document. On claim for transfer documents, index the electoral district to which the record is being transferred, along with the country, if listed, in this field.
If the country isn't listed on the document it would not be indexed. Perhaps the problem is occurring because this is an advanced project and sometimes when there aren't other projects, all levels of indexers work on the project. But, one can only expect that indexers/reviewers will index what is requested, both from the field helps and the examples.1
Unfortunately it would seem the people that put together the PI haven't been to Rhodesia, and as so often with Familysearch, they do not reach out, nor like to take advice from people that have an understanding of the countries concerned. The project has numerous shortcomings, the most glaring mistake to start with is that the project "part B" is named "Zimbabwe". Zimbabwe existed post 1980 as im sure you are aware. This project is for voter registrations 1938-1973, ie pre 1980, therefore pre Zimbabwe. "Part A" project was at least within the ballpark of being correctly called "Rhodesia". As usual entries are being messed up, and are being standardised to Zimbabwe, based on the incorrect title. Added to this is that the standardisation database does not contain many of these "registration places" so they are going to get messed up regardless of what correct info is entered, and those that it does have it wants to turn them into the currently known names post 1980. What is also concerning for this part B project is that under PI, it states, discreetly, "these records could have additional viewing restrictions", so these records we are all wasting time on may not even be viewable when published. The place name database also does not take into account, nor reflect changes to names of towns, provinces etc as they were known through the history of the country.
In the PI examples they have chosen to highlight, lets go through one at a time:
1) Claim of transfer Lomagundi "A" note this is the name the claimant has filled in in his own writing, to the best of his belief, it is not the official place name. For 1939 elections, the constituency was officially just Lomagundi, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election? What happens if A or B is recorded? The standardiser gets hold of it and turns it into Uganda https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=a&f.collectionId=3740407 or https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=b&f.collectionId=3740407
2) How to index a 2 page image voter reg. This is a 1939 registration, with constituency filled in by the claimant, to the best of his belief, it is not the official registration place, refer 1939 constituencies - Avondale had its own constituency, as a suburb, within Salisbury the capital https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_Southern_Rhodesian_general_election? Looking at the persons residence confirms this, but PI chose to omit the need to consult the persons physical residence, yet this important information formed the main criteria in determining the voting constituency the claimant was registered in.
3 ) How to index a 3 page image voter reg. This is blatantly wrong by the people who loaded the PI. Under section A, question 4 it clearly states the persons physical location as Gwelo, and as you have rightly picked up, at the bottom of the form it is stamped Gwelo Rural. Where did PI get Salisbury from? If you look at 3 images, page 3, they have decided to grab the word "Salisbury" from the preprinted stationery, again, this is part of the PO Box Causeway, Salisbury fiasco I highlighted on my other post. What they are thus implying is that for this election registration, everyone who registered in 1963, their constituency "must be" Salisbury, because the preprinted form says so!!!
4) How to index a 4 page image voter reg. Again the people who wrote the PI, it would appear had no clue that the main towns and cities were further broken down into sub constituencies, based on their suburb names. Yes they have picked up Bulawayo Central as a constituency, but have chosen to ignore the city name "Bulawayo". Therefore when the standardiser gets hold of it, it will be shipped off to Central, Paraguay https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&q.anyPlace=central&f.collectionId=3740407
What I would like to suggest is that you, and anyone else reading these posts and wants to be involved in Rhodesia or South Africa projects, join us on our facebook group. There you will be able to post queries in real time, as well as receiving proper training on the ins and outs of these projects https://www.facebook.com/groups/1180571762017412
As with all projects, PI saying "follow everything to the tee", even though it is flawed, together with "do not expand abbreviations or correct misspellings" means that it is always going to be at odds, and pulling in opposite directions to their place name standardiser, which then takes those flawed instructions, abbreviations and misspellings, cannot resolve them, latches onto random letters thus contained, and pushes out garbage placenames as a result.0
What is your share batch # for Gatooma? I can take a look at it. You will note the Gatooma and Wankie constituencies extend over vast areas of land, other than just the actual locations of the physical town by the same name, which is going to cause problems with the place name standardiser...0
Following on from this, Rhodesia voters A project example images are just as messed up:
1) How to index a 1 page image voter reg: This is not a "1 page image record" like a 1939 record would be, it is a "claim for transfer" and should have been labelled as such like they have done in the part B example. So already this has introduced an element of confusion as it contains 2 constituencies Gwelo and Selukwe
2) How to index a 2 page image voter reg: Again they have ignored the sub constituency for the city, despite it being shown 3 times on the form as Hillcrest, they have only put it as "Bulawayo". They have also put it as "Southern Rhodesia" but this is a 1972 registration, by which time the country was simply "Rhodesia"
3) How to index a 3 page image voter reg: In this example they have shown it as "Western" Note this again has been filled in by the claimant, to the best of his belief. It is not an official constituency in 1952. "Western" existed as a constituency in 1948, covering the area from West of Bulawayo boundary to Victoria Falls. It does not exist as either an established place in the country or exist in the standardiser database, so we wait to see what the standardiser does with this one. On this 1952 registration, the person lived in Essexvale. This town falls under Umzingwane constituency, as shown on bottom left and should have been shown this way in the example.
4) How to index a 4 page image voter reg: In this example they have managed to record the sub constituency as Bulawayo Central, but have left the city name off, so again, this would be standardised to Central, Paraguay0
Following on from this Rhodesia part "A" project examples are just as messed up:
1) How to index a 1 image voter reg: This is not a "1 image voter reg" it is a "claim for transfer" and should have been labelled as such like they did with the part B example. Already this has introduced an element of confusion by showing 2 constituencies Gwelo and Selukwe, then selecting Selukwe
2) How to index a 2 image voter reg: In this example they have recorded the city name Bulawayo, but have ignored the sub constituency "Hillcrest" despite it being shown 3 times. They have also called the country Southern Rhodesia. This is a 1972 reg, by which time the country was simply known as "Rhodesia"
3) How to index a 3 image voter reg: In this example they have recorded it as "Western" as the claimant filled in the form to the best of his belief. Western existeed on the 1948 voters registration as a constituency, covering the area from west of Bulawayo boundary to Victoria Falls. It is not a place name in the country, and does not exist in the place name standardiser, so we wait to see what the standardiser does with this. It did not feature on the 1952 voters constituency. This person lived in Essexvale, a town that falls under Umzingwane, as stated on bottom left, and should have been recorded as such.
4) How to index a 4 image voter reg: his example recorded the city Bulawayo, but ignored the sub constituency of "Bulawayo Central"0
I see what you mean about the field help place of Gatooma. This is really a poor choice to use. Im quite sure they could have found a better example from the first page of the claimants details, rather than the p.o. box address and rubber stamp of the magistrates office of the registering officer :(0
gary_noble. I would be happy to have you review my work. I have indexed according to PI and field help instructions as I understand them. Image 1 : I know that Kuruman is in South Africa but I can't actually decipher what is written for country of birth. Image 4: Hillcrest is shown on bottom left page 1 and Bulawayo is with signature on last page so I included both. Image 7: Gatooma is both hand written and stamped on bottom left of page so according to instructions would be indexed as Gatooma, Rhodesia, the year is 1973 so Rhodesia only. The field help says: index the electoral district to which the record is being transferred, along with the country, if listed, in this field.
The batch code for this batch is: M3C9-3JT0
Image 1 Birthplace: Kuruman, Bech Prot (abbreviation for Bechuanaland Protectorate - modern day Botswana) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/SouthAfrica1885.jpg
Image 2: NED
Image 3: Reg place to be factually correct: Hillcrest, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (constituency list for this particular year not available, see the list for 1970 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970_Rhodesian_general_election that includes the sub constituency breakdown for Bulawayo)
Image 4: Correct
Image 5: NED
Image 6: NED
Image 7: Correct, she moved from Umtali West to Gatooma, and this is further evidenced by her address in section C question 10
Image 8: Reg place to be factually correct: Umtali West, Umtali, Southern Rhodesia0
Melissa, I am well aware of what the PI & FH says, and unfortunately it was very poorly written and flawed on so many levels. All thats going to happen is this will be yet another project pushed through with a large proportion of non meaningful results. It will be indexed using a flawed PI, then the malicious place name standardiser which is not fit for purpose will then get hold of it, and mess it up even more0
I understand too, but, the instructions need to be followed as presented. There might be a reason that the project owners have requested them written as such. You probably should ask that the two extensive posts you have written, with great care, be sent off to the project managers of the record collection. Personally, I would put both of these discussions in the Suggest an Idea group and have your facebook group give you a bunch of UP VOTES! You make excellent points, which are well illustrated in each of these discussions. But, they need to be shared with the people in charge and suggest an idea might get you better results. Best wishes!1
I appreciate the comments and information. Thank you very much.0
There appears to be new instructions for "Registration Place". The Project Instructions and the Field Help:Registration Place all show just the country, "Southern Rhodesia" up through 1967 and "Rhodesia" 1968 on. We no longer put down the Electorial District?
Can some one confirm that this is correct? The original Project Instructions examples showed Electorial District, Country.
When did they change the instructions?0
Clintonrspeas, I noticed the change a couple of days ago. I carefully read trough all of the instructions and reviewed all of the examples and then called the help line to check. The person I talked with was not familiar with the project so reviewed the instructions and examples and confirmed that as you have noted above, only the appropriate country name is required for the "Registration Place".
Enjoy your indexing and have a happy New Year.🙂0