Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Are you as easily distracted as I am? Sometimes it is a good thing and sometimes it is just, well, distracting.

Yesterday I was attempting to search for a Charles Isham in New York, born about 1824 and died before 1909. I was able to find him on the 1900 Census in Schoharie county, New York, which is where I expected him to be. Only the indexer (for Ancestry) has him listed as Charles QEHERU. 

Has anyone actually ever done indexing for Ancestry? Rumor has it they are using people from other countries. Other rumors are that they are using OCR (optical character recognition.) Personally, I think trained chimps could do a better job on indexing.

Oh, but I am getting distracted, again.  What I meant to say is that after finding Charles & his wife, Mary on the 1900 census, I went to the Old Fulton Postcards site to search for Charles Isham. I found lots of hits, but they weren't the right Charles Isham. I kept getting hits for Mary Lincoln and her husband Charles Isham. Lots of hits. This is Mary Lincoln, granddaughter of Abe and oldest daughter of Robert Lincoln. Normally, I would just ignore these hits, but since I have a connection to the Lincolns, I retrieved Mary Lincoln Isham's obituary and the announcement of their marriage. If you've ever had occasion to search for newspaper articles on this site, you will know that it can take a while for the site to display the search results.  When this happens, I try to open another tab in Internet Explorer and check out the genweb page or any other site that pops to mind to narrow down the search parameters.  Often I get distracted there too!

Now I think I should further distract myself and go hunting for Charles Isham, husband of Mary Lincoln, to see if I can find an obituary for him, since he predeceased her.

What was I working on again?


  1. You KNOW I can relate to this! It is almost painful, or funny, or BOTH!

  2. I have gotten distracted enough to totally forget the initial search. Aging hurts.

  3. Carol: I know. That's one of the ways we are alike!

    MAW: Been there. Recently!

  4. I have had many issues with some of Ancestry's indexing - I believe it depends on the database. I know there are ongoing volunteer projects where genealogists actually index records and I find these indices are not free from error but very accurate.

    For the others - when I submit my corrections, I also include a note asking them to stop using non-native English speakers to compile indices.

  5. Thomas, that's a good idea. Granted, some of these names can be hard to read, but if I can't read the handwriting after deciphering doctors' handwriting for over 10 years, then it can't be read.