Why are these documents being frequently marked as containing no extractable data? (Domiciled Mercha
Frequently as I am reviewing indexed documents for the Chinese Immigrant project, I find the document entitled "Merchants - Domiciled Chinese Merchants" marked as no extractable data, They usually contain numerous names. I just finished reviewing and fixing one that contained 126 names. If this had happened infrequently, it would be understandable. But it has been happening over and over again for weeks. For sure, this is not a list of the passengers getting off the ships. But it does provide information about those passengers. The first column contains the name of someone in the US who knows the passenger. Often it is the name of a company, not a person. So I can see why that name would not be indexed. But midway is a column where the passenger's mother's name is listed, then any brothers and then sisters. Then the very next - and last-column on the page contains the signature of the passenger. It is frequently written in Chinese characters. But for someone who is searching for their Chinese relatives and ancestors, that Chinese passenger name would be very significant and this document contains names of the relatives for the passenger. Also the names should be done in order going across the page, not doing the 1st column all the way down and then the mother's name column all the way down. The names are to be linked to the passenger, so need to be done from left to right all the way before going to the next line.
Hi Rosalie. Please consider joining the Indexing Chat Group. Also, please post the full name of the project you are referring to. I haven’t been able to find it from the references to it that you’ve mentioned. I can’t imagine why it would be a restricted project. @Heather R Jacobs do you know anything about this project?Thanks.0
From the description, this sounds a lot like the passenger lists of Chinese travelers during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943). In the early days of the Act, the Chinese passenger travelling to the US would have to provide a lot of information. From the National Archives site:
"Domiciled Merchants" were required to provide the name and address of their firm and to reveal what percentage of the firm they owned. "Born in the US" supplements provide information on the passenger's parents and names and residences of brothers and sisters residing in the United States. Supplements for "Wives and Minor Children of Merchants" include the date and place of marriage and the names of brothers and sisters. These supplements also include the passenger's signature in Chinese characters.
Usually we don't index the names of other people on a passenger list or a manifest, only the principle. If there was more information to be collected, like the parents names, there would be fields on the entry form, i.e., Fathers Given Name, Father's Surname, Mother's Given Name, Mother's Surname. Do these special indexing projects include the project instructions such as What to Index? Sometimes they will tell us to mark the supplemental documents as No, No Extractable Data.
Generally they tell us not to index the names of other people on the record, like this instruction from the current New York Passenger List project:
- Often the names of relatives or people accompanying the principal person are included on the documents. Do not create records for accompanying persons or relatives.
It would be rare to see an instruction to create a new record for every name.0