Just in time for FGS, the new and improved 1900 U.S. Federal Census is now live and free for a limited time, the first product of our U.S. Census agreement with FamilySearch. So what’s new and improved about it? Well, here are some basics:
- NEW IMAGES: Ancestry’s images, produced several years ago, were replaced with FamilySearch images, created recently from earlier generation microfilm and with the latest imaging technology. In the images below, a piece of tape that obscured text in the census image on Ancestry (top) is more transparent on the recently added FamilySearch image (bottom):
- NEW INDEX: We took our existing index with user-submitted corrections, and the new, double-keyed and arbitrated FamilySearch index and programmatically merged the two. A complex algorithm was designed specifically for this operation. The following are a couple quotes from one of our developers:
- “If a TGN (Ancestry) record was not linked [to a FamilySearch record], we also did a check to see if we could identify the FS (FamilySearch) image. If we got a match on state, county, township, ED, page number . . . then we would use the higher quality FS image in place of the TGN image. In summary, where possible a FS image was used in place of the TGN image.”
- “Also, FS provided more fielded data (several fields) in addition to what we had . . . Merging the two gives a more complete keyed set. Example: Where we estimated the birth year, they keyed it. Where they estimated the age, we had that keyed.”
- REMAINING FIXES: We do know of some issues with the browse, as well as some other items, that need to be fixed and we’re already working on those. If you find bugs or errors, please forward them on to me.
Again, for a limited time, the index is free. Search and view the data to your heart’s content. I hope you’ll take advantage of the first of the new and improved U.S. Federal Census databases on Ancestry.com.