Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ancestry and the Canadian Voters Lists

Ancestry has recently released the Canadian Voters Lists, 1935-1980.  Voters lists, though not as comprehensive as a census, do allow the researcher to figure out where people lived until relatively recently, and gives researchers a chance to contact living individuals to further a search.  Ancestry is justifiably proud of their accomplishment, but there is one major problem.

The biggest problem is that not everyone in the voters list has actually made it to the transcription of the voters list.  Something I have noticed is that the wives are often excluded, eg Mr. John Halls shows up in the transcription, but his wife, Mrs. John Halls does not.  I can only conclude that whatever analyzed the OCR results was programmed to skip duplicates, with terrible results in the voters lists.  Not that every wife was dropped, but enough were to make it difficult.  Worse still, Ancestry has no way to add an entry that has been skipped.  All one can do is correct existing entries.

So to Ancestry, kudos for making the voters lists available, jeers for using an analysis program that considers Mrs and Mr to be the same.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Samuel P Halls

I recently came across an item about old stocks sold on eBay.  In this particular case it was a certificate from the Huron Gold Mining Company, and it was signed by SP Halls in the role of Secretary.  The certificate was dated May 8th, 1900, and must have been one of the last official duties that SP Halls ever performed.

His obituary notes that he left the local school at Easter of 1900, which was April 15th, and that less than a month later had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, and, at least to the observers of the time, less than fully capable mentally.

You can read a short article about the certificate here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Clarence Halls 1909-1936

Clarence Halls was the adopted son of John Halls and his sister Annie Halls.  He lived in North Dakota until the late 20's or early 30's and then moved to Butte, Montana.  At some point he met Jean Belgarde, and as far as I can tell, they married.  I have found various references to both Clarence and Jean in both North Dakota and Montana newspapers.

A few days ago I found Clarence's death certificate on FamilySearch.org and while I found out a few things, he is listed as divorced (Surprise!), the informant was listed as Elizabeth Halls of Helena, Montana, and he died from TB.  He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in Butte.  Mostly the death certificate just left me with other questions.

Questions like, who was Elizabeth Halls? Why (and when) did he divorce Jean?

Sadly there comes a time when you either need to go to a place in person, or hire a researcher.  I am fast approaching the point of hiring a researcher, or giving up.