NYC Births and 1920 Census #general

Steve Harris <ccchs@...>

Because they are potentially useful to NYC researchers, I'd like to
clear up some things about two recent databases on

1. The "New York City Births, 1891-1902" database is just what it says.
It contains name, borough, birthdate, and certificate number, and can be
searched by these elements (you must use the correct date format). If an
ancestor is found, their certificate can be ordered >from the FHL (using
their site to find the appropriate microfilm roll) or >from the NYC
archives. Like most databases, it is frustratingly
impossible to search by wild card. It also has some anomalies, such as
the Irish-ization of Esther Osherovitz to O'Sherovitz. Contrary to the
information displayed on Ancestry's site, it is not an extraction from
the usual hard-to-use and often illegible index books, because it has
full names and middle initials that are truncated in those books. It is
most likely taken >from index cards or the documents themselves. >from my
experience so far, it is (randomly) missing about 20% of the names in
the index books. It is still free, but won't be for much longer. We can
fervently hope that more records are posted in the future, or wait for
the NYC Archives to complete their long-awaited index automation

2. The Census Images are part of Ancestry's larger, extremely ambitious
project to make all censuses available on the Web. They are census page
images of not-great, but usable, resolution. So far, the larger (i.e.,
all NYC) counties are not posted; the Ancestry rep I spoke to said they
will be in the next few weeks, though he was a bit skeptical. The site
also mentions that a head-of-household on-line index is being prepared,
which would be great if it actually happens. There is no 1920 index
on-line now, but the Enumeration District descriptions are on-line,
which facilitates searching by address.

Steve Harris
Berkeley, CA

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