Just a brief rejoinder to Naomi Fatouros' et. al. discussion on the EIDB. I
am pleased to read that with help she was able to find BELKOWSKY. However, I
am always dismayed to read that researchers would expect the original ship's
bursars and the LDS volunteers to have put as much precision and time into
the original work as the researchers would.
By the time the emigrants showed up at the ships in England/Scotland,Belgium
or Germany, their original papers, possibly handwritten in cyrillic, may have
been interpreted into two or three other languages and handled several times.
And how well could the bursar's staff communicate with the passengers? Were
the emigrants able to detect errors as their names were entered into the
manifests, or would they have cared?
Then there is the issue of handwriting and its interpretation. I have
related the story on the discussion group site before how my gm & gf,
traveling with another woman, used the name OMANZOW/OMANAZOW. They were
entered consecutively on the manifest, and read by the LDS volunteer as
ORUANZOW,OMANZOW, and OMAZAW. The handwriting of whoever entered them on the
manifest was inconsistent enough to read them that way (the OMAZAW was fairly
clear), although common sense would dictate that they were one family. In
fact, they all appear on the typed detainee manifest as OMANZOW/OMANAZOW.
Had the LDS volunteer spent the time to do more investigation, there would
have been more accuracy.
But given the linguistic hurdles at the turn of the century and the sheer
enormity of the indexing project, I'm amazed at how much of the data base is
useful at this stage. In this day and age where we expect a mountain of data
to be available to us with the click of a mouse, a few key strokes and spell
check, we may not fully appreciate the work place of 100 years ago.