Keying, and Rekeying


When we audit the data that has been submitted we sometimes find a few records that weren’t keyed correctly but generally there aren’t many.  Every once in a while we find that there is a field that isn’t a few fields that hadn’t been keyed according to instructions – or our interpretation of the instructions.  This is the case with parts of the following two projects so we are returning a few of the image sets so we can catpure the data that was not keyed.  (When we can we will only return part of the projects but there are other times where we will return all of the image sets to be keyed, or reviewed again.)

Washington, Enrollment and Allotment Applications of Washington Indians, 1911-1919 - In this case we found that the birth location was often not keyed.  We asked that the birth location be keyed for the Affidavit records.  And the field help states to, “Key the city of birth using the dictionary for assistance. If the birth city is not in the dictionary then key as seen.The birth city will be after the birth date on the line with the phrase “at or near”.  It is only provided for the applicant, not the children.”  If you have questions regarding how the field should be keyed, or about returning the image sets to be keyed again please address submit them as comments on this post.

Scots in the West Indies, 1707-1857 - For this project there were a few interesting finds.  We found that often people were entering the probate location as the death location.  Whereas the probate location isn’t necessarily the death location we would like the probate year entered as the death year when one isn’t present on the record.  In summary – do not enter the probate location as the death location but do enter the probate year as the death year when the death year isn’t on the record.  If you have questions regarding how the field should be keyed, or about returning the image sets to be keyed again please address submit them as comments on this post.

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In your processes are you able to determine which reviewers were passing the errors thru and return only those sets belonging to the “offenders?”

Is it possible to bring them back for a second REVIEW rather than a rekeying, as often times the entry on the names themselves is otherwise accurate?

I reviewed lots of the Scots in the West Indies image sets first time round and had to delete lots of probate locations, but it had usually been keyed as the residence place, not the death place. (It may not have been clear to keyers that this was a probate as it was abbreviated to “pro”.) Also keyers tended to key the year of probate as the residence year, which I also deleted as one thing we do know is that the deceased was not resident anywhere on this earth when probate was granted!

The probate year will not always be the same as the year of the person’s death as probate could be granted years after death! I never saw any instruction saying to treat the date (or year) of probate as the date of death, so I don’t understand why you say that this field was not keyed according to instructions? It is a shame that you didn’t specify up front that you wanted the probate year treated as the death year.

I feel that I have wasted an awful lot of time on this project and don’t know whether I can bear to do it all over again just to add in a supposed death year which may not be correct in any case.

I kept saying there was something wrong with the Washington Indians project. I was sure something was wrong, and now at least I know that I wasn’t imagining it. I felt like there was a reviewer that was replacing correct information with incorrect information all along in that project.

I don’t understand the phrase, “If the birth city is not in the dictionary then key as seen.” I thought we were to key as seen; why are we using a drop-down list at all?

Overall, the drop-down dictionaries theoretically (and sometimes actually) make keying faster & easier as you can select common terms from the dropdown (even without using the mouse) rather than typing them out every time. They can also be a helpful source of suggestions for possible interpretations of hard-to-read data.

But unless specifically intructed otherwise (such as when keying months) keyers should not assume that the dropdown contains the only valid values for a field and otherwise using it as a crutch; they should be basing their keying on what’s seen and merely using the dropdowns as an aid, and that’s basically what the stock phrase, “If the [datum] is not in the dictionary then key as seen” means.

Type your comment here.
Where there is an apostrophe in an abbreviated nameplace, such as ‘W’ford’ do we include it?

@diane, yes, we do include the apostrophes.

I was interested in helping key the Scots in the West Indies 1707-1857 and have only just found this post about the probate. Please add these intstructions into a specific place findable from the Wiki article on the project as I can wholeheartedly agree that it is dispiriting to find out after the fact that the probate year can be entered as death year only if there is no other death year. You have this project tagged as intermediate difficulty and so it is – but only if the instructions are crystal clear. Thank you.

Scots in the West Indies – your keying example on Wiki has a person (James Barclay) with a probate year and no death year. The probate year was not keyed as death year in this example, which all conscientious keyers would have followed.