17 May 2009

Personalizing the Census

I've said before, that one reason that I love Footnote.com is the way that you can connect documents and records. This makes it easier to browse information about an individual, by connecting it all together.

Another reason why I love Footnote is along the same lines (connections are part of it): You can personalize documents, such as census records. What does this mean? Here's an example.

In 1930 the Britt family (Nathan, LeDora, Ollie, Sarah and Evoid) lived in Emanuel County, GA. They appear there on the census. There's a lot that you can learn about this family from the census, but it is very finite information, speaking only the the past and present. But what about the future? What about the aspects of life that the census form does not ask about? Well, there are lots of other records that you go searching for, or, if you're on footnote.com, you can continue to use the census to answer these questions.

With footnote.com, you can personalize and give life to the names on the census. Take Nathan Britt for instance. Click on his name an a window will pop up, giving you a bunch of options to add comments, photos, stories and relationships. I prefer to simply click on the "View Person Page" link on the top right of the window. From here, you will be able to do all of the previously mentioned options and more. This is the same page that you would see for a SSDI listing on footnote. If you've already personalized a SSDI page for this individual, scroll down to the "Related Pages" section and connect that page to this one as "The Same Person." Also, add relationships to other family members. This is as close to a family tree as you'll get on footnote.

Picture 5

If you haven't yet personalized a page for this person (I have not with Nathan), go ahead and do so with this one for the census listing. Add photos, vital record information, stories and more. Don't forget to Bookmark the page so that you can find it easily.

My page for Nathan now looks like this:
Picture 4

When you're done, go back to the census page. Nathan's listing is now personalized. Instead of just a name, I now have a photo. Changing tabs, I can see more details on his photo and relationship links. And I can click on "View Person Page" for more information.

Picture 1

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be researching a person, finding them for the first time, and finding information like this immediately? A genealogy jackpot! I really hope that this feature takes off with genealogists and would encourage others to play around with these features.

(Also, don't forget to click on "I'm related" on any of these pages. Your account will be linked to the page and other researchers will be able to contact you.)

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