Every single human intervention in a record-set leaves its own layer of errors and omissions. Even the originals have mistakes. My own birth cert records my father as a farmer, something that irritated him immensely when he found out – he was proud he couldn’t tell one end of a cow from another. I presume the registrar in Portiuncula hospital in 1954 didn’t know Da’s occupation and made a reasonable guess. In 1950s rural Ireland he would have been right most of the time.
Add to that the errors made when the records are catalogued. And then the omissions when they’re microfilmed. And the ones that are overlooked when the microfilms are digitised. Not to mention the mistranscriptions.
It’s a wonder we can find anything at all.
What set me off on this was last week’s post about 1911 census returns imaged online but not transcribed. It produced an itch that had to be scratched: what about all the other 1911 returns that are missing? Some fell down the back of a desk early on and never made it to the National Archives. Some were missed by the Mormon microfilm team, but exist in hard copy in NAI. And some were microfilmed but never made it online, for reasons only known to the digitisers, Library and Archives Canada.
So I’ve scratched that itch and put together a master list of
- online but untranscribed,
- microfilmed but not online,
- not microfilmed but in hard copy
- gone, God knows where.
The sources are the Rootschat forum on the topic, NAI’s own list of what’s missing (don’t ask) and my own fevered scratchings. I hope it will provide a home for any other refugees.
Time to break out the Calomine lotion.