28 January 2010

It is All About Context

This image is from the 1855 Mercer County, Illinois State Census.

Just a couple of things I noticed while using this image for next week's issue of Casefile Clues.

The names are in rough alphabetical order--that's fairly evident from the screen shot here and very evident when viewing page after page.


The 6th entry on this image--the last name is not all that easy to read, admittedly.

However if I were indexing this page, I would have noticed the names were in approximate alphabetical order. The first letter of the last name begins with either an "S" or a "T." A "T" appears most likely looking at the "S"s right above it.

Ancestry.com indexed the name as "Andrew Frank." I realize why someone might have thought that if I had simply posted the image of the name completely out of context as I did here (although I still think the last two letters look like "sk" or maybe "sh.").

Ancestry.com also titled these 1855 census images a little strangely below the county level too, but I'll leave that comment for later.

It's not all about context, but context is extremely important. Nothing is created or exists in a vacuum.