Indexing should preferably (or exclusively?) done by native speakers of the respective language
edited September 28, 2020 in Suggest an Idea
János Virág said: Indexing should preferably (or exclusively?) done by native speakers of the respective language. There are tons of, often quite funny, misread names in the indexed Hungarian church records. Some examples: "Ferencz" (period spelling of today Ferenc, male given name) indexed as "Terenes"; "Szombatheli" (period spelling of today Szombathelyi, family name meaning "from Szombathely", a Hungarian city) indexed as "Szvarbatseli" etc. The elementary knowledge of Latin might often be useful. The birth of "Paulus et Anna, gemelli", i.e., "twins" was indexed as the birth of "Anna Gemelli". Latin uses declensions, therefore the father of the newborn child of "Stephanus" would, of course, appear as Stephani (child of S.) or Stephano (child born to S.) in the record, but in my opinion, it should be indexed in nominative, i.e. Stephanus. The recently introduced correction possibility is a big thing, but it is very time consuming and less productive to correct tons of misspelled names instead of indexing new ones.
Juli said: Latin is exactly where a "native speaker" requirement breaks down: nobody has been a native speaker of that language for more than a thousand years now. And what to do in indexing with "Stephani" is a perpetual argument; most projects have a "type what you see" rule, which can be tweaked to skip suffixes (index "István" instead of "Istvánnak"), but really doesn't adjust well to Latin declensions.
The two Hungarian baptismal indexes were done over a decade ago, possibly as long as twenty years ago, so any changes to indexing procedures are a moot point where they're concerned. Some of the Slovakia church books are more recently indexed, but that's a pretty complicated project -- I gave up on it at one point because I kept getting batches from Greek Catholic registers written in Cyrillic letters. (There does not appear to be a current part to the project, although I'm pretty sure it's not all complete.)
My favorite misindexing is from Bars county, i.e. now Slovakia, so I can't even correct it:
(It says "Gröbersberger Gustav" Right There at the beginning of the "parents" field, exactly where it's supposed to be. I really don't understand why the indexers completely skipped it and then got all creative with the rest of the field.)0
A van Helsdingen said: I have my own website with transcriptions of church records (https://sallandsdtb.wordpress.com/), and I always use the nominative form of Latin words. The rules for converting between cases are objective and uniform, so this common-sense convention should not cause controversey. It might cause confusion for some indexers in which case "type what you see" might not be so bad after all.
To make people only index in their native language would be quite harsh. For example I index on FS almost exclusively in Dutch. I cannot converse in Dutch, but my knowledge of Dutch genealogical terms and familiarity of the layout of the records means I have absolutely no trouble understanding the records. The only words I occasionally can't understand are occupations- and they aren't indexed in this project.
If indexing errors due to inability to speak the language is common, then maybe introducing a test/quiz before having to start indexing in a new language would be a good idea. But to ban people from indexing certain languages would cause ill feeling and could be perceived as racist.0