This is a Message Board Post that is gatewayed to this mailing list.
Message Board URL:
Message Board Post:
The NYS Archives has the birth, marriage, and death indexes on microfiche. I was told a
few years ago that they were made from typed sheets of that information. From the
slightly blurry appearance of the text on the microfiche, I think they may have been made
from carbon copies.
The director was only kidding about the volunteering, but if you want to consider it as a
serious project, here is part of what would be involved.
a) Someone would have to find and organize an army of volunteers who live in New York
State, then receive their work, organize it, and pass it on to the webmaster.
b) The volunteers could access the microfiches which are available to the public at the
following 8 locations. I don't think the state is against this information being
online, so I don't think there would be any attempt to stop the project.
1) Albany - New York State Archives
2) Buffalo - Central Library, headquarters of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
3) Elmira - Steele Memorial Library
4) Glens Falls - Crandall Public Library
5) New York City - National Archives--Northeast Region
6) Rochester - Rochester Public Library
7) Syracuse - Onondaga Central Library at the Galleries
8) Watertown - Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library
c) All information for a particular year would have to be recorded in the same format (a
Soundex system was used in some years).
d) All data would have to proofread to avoid misleading the genealogists who view it. A
large number of typos are to be expected. Proofreading is extremely important, but most
genealogists won't do this. The proofreader should be a different person.
d) The data would have to assembled in a form, such as an Excel database or spreadsheet,
which could be accepted by a webmaster.
e) A webmaster must be found. That person would have m------------uch more work to do
than any other volunteer except the organizer of the project.
A decision would have to be made whether to make the data browsable or only accessible
using a search engine. I would recommend against the latter because people won't be
able to guess all of the surname spelling variations and the typing errors of the people
who made the lists from the original handwritten certificates, nor those made by the
volunteers in the project. I would guess that 10-15% of the names could only be found by
browsing through the lists of names.
As a wild guess, I think you would be dealing with about 6 million records. If 1000
records were listed on each webpage, that would be 6000 webpages.
Another scenario. If a way could be found to enlarge the microfiche data, a way might be
found to photocopy or photograph it. Then, the images could be viewed by an Optical
Character Recognition (OCR) program. It would convert the names to text. It would then
The author of this message may not be subscribed to this list. If you would like to reply
to them, please click on the Message Board URL link above and respond on the board.