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1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

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1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:58 pm

Sorry guys - another thread! Seems like it isn't just FMP who have 1939 issues but TNA as well.

I've just received my copy of the April 2016 edition of WDYTYA and there's an interesting letter in there from Ian Court. He describes his failure to find his family in Bispham in the 1939 but goes on to describe an interesting analysis he did (and deserves credit for). Apparently "virtually all the streets ... in the north of Blackpool have all been incorrectly indexed as Blackburn".

I had a further delve myself. For background, note that Blackburn Enumeration Districts commence NBA and Blackpool EDs commence NCA (and go on into NCB, etc.).

Looking at the problem data, my belief is that it's not a case that thousands of households have been incorrectly indexed. Yes, they end up incorrect, but I believe that the original error is in the look-up file that (presumably) maps the reference to a place-name. What's more, the TNA Discovery Catalogue has the same error. TNA Pieces Reference RG 101/4236A thru RG 101/4245H inclusive are all ED codes beginning NCA or NCB and are all described as Blackburn (ED Codes NBA etc) when they should be Blackpool (ED Codes NCA etc.).

Clearly there is a common theme going on here. There's a definite error, probably in the mapping from reference to a place-name. This seems to cause TNA's descriptions to be wrong and the transcripts on FMP to be wrong. Where did the error start? No idea - if the descriptions were supplied by TNA to FMP, then FMP are actually innocent, but it could be that the descriptions started with FMP and so TNA are innocent.

I've mailed TNA telling them that their descriptions are wrong and I've also contacted FMP suggesting where they have an issue. (No doubt they'll initially respond with some scripted irrelevance but I'm used to that. Maybe the second time I submit it, it'll get read properly.)
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby junkers » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:24 am

I don't think that TNA are to blame, the entry at the top level of the RG 101 series says "The material in this series was made available online through our partner website on 2 November 2015. The piece level descriptions were later added to TNA's online catalogue Discovery during November 2015". There is a possibility that FMP have gone by what is on the front of any cover for the entries, a policy which TNA ask departments not to do (although few follow the guidance), but it should be obvious that if you are dealing with Blackpool then it is not Blackburn, it does again raise the issue of the quality of the transcriptions, it would be interesting to see if other private organisations transcribed the data and came up with different transcriptions.
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby junkers » Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:16 am

I hope that this is not repeated in the individual transcriptions but the Enumeration District codes at FMP (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/articles/19 ... -districts) have several errors:-
JHD: Easingworld (should be Easingwold)
TWE: Felixtowe (should be Felixstowe)
WFR and WHR: Newton Abbott (should be Newton Abbot)
ZDB: Bettwys-y-coed (should be Betwys-y-coed)
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby DaveTomo » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:12 am

This is just unprofessional carelessness and a lack of quality control or audit processes in FMP.

I found exactly the same error in some FMP census records last year. It was not until I had done a lot of work to show the error and used my technical experience to define the probably cause that FMP paid any attention. It was fixed within a couple of days after that. Fixing the decode end of lookup tables is trivial, much less than an hour's work to do all those you have listed. FMP should be fixing the 1939 errors very quickly.
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:58 pm

FMP's Support team didn't immediately return my query without reading but do appear to have taken the time to read it as they have responded:
Dear Adrian
Thank you for taking the time to report this problem.
Our technical team are aware of the specific problem that you reported and we will be implementing a solution as soon as is possible.
Your patience while we work to resolve this is much appreciated.

Not actually quite sure why it takes any amount of time unless part of the solution needs to be re-supplying Kew with a set of corrected Catalogue entries.

Having said that, my expectation of a quick fix is based on the idea that the database is in 3rd normal form (sorry, guys, but the IT literate will understand and there's no simpler way to describe it). If the database isn't in 3rd normal form (and Data Warehouses, to take another example, are emphatically not 3NF), then it might take more time to write SQL(?) to repopulate the updated values.

I've got a feeling as well that another similar, slightly different, thing is awry - at the foot of the "Transcription" of a household, there is text that looks like this:
Ref: RG101/4003A/010/7 Letter Code: LEOM

In many cases that Letter Code is blank, even though the jurisdiction appears at the top of the transcript. Such an oddity always raises my suspicions that there is an issue, though what, I can't tell.
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby Sylcec » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:37 am

G'day gentlemen!
The problem with the 1939 Register indexing and FMP is not unique.
The company also has the contract with the British Library for indexing and providing images of large tranches of the India Office Records. There is a particular series which I have in the past consulted on microfilm of "Calendars of Probate from the District Courts in India" - a rather nasty group of records providing tabulated or summarised information about grants of probate. FMP have indexed the records - possibly correctly, though there is no way to tell, as when you click on the image, all that appears is a covering letter which appears at the beginning of the particular volume. There is no way to go forward or back to the images of the actual probate calendars! Hopeless!!! :(
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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:18 am

Yes, the omission of the forward & reverse / left & right arrows from some datasets is something they are notorious for. It's not consistent - some parish registers have them, some were introduced without them, gaining them later. I wanted to page through the Cheshire Electoral Registers this week - nope. As you say, it becomes vital to do this if the identification data is on the earlier page, as it is with the Cheshire Land Tax stuff, and you don't trust the indexing - done by FamilySearch in that case.

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Re: 1939 Register and TNA Discovery Placenames

Postby ianc60 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:13 am

Hello Adrian, my name is Ian Court, and at the start of this thread you very kindly highlight an issue I raised with FMP just prior to Xmas '15.
After a lengthy wait FMP finally attempted to resolve my problem, but unfortunately still have not fully fixed it!

I can now do a 'person' search for my grandparents, and it correctly brings up their address in Sunnybank Ave, Blackpool....although for reasons unknown to me it is actually shown as Sunny Bank Ave(not all one word)..but I can live with that!!

However doing an 'address' search is another matter and this is still a complete shambles.

If you just did a search on Sunny Bank Avenue, (no town)..a few would appear, and oddly still one for Blackburn as well as one for Blackpool...if you ask for all addresses in those streets, the Blackpool one will give you nothing..whilst the Blackburn one will give you all the addresses..but these are actually all Blackpool...go to house number 61...and you will find my grandparents. It's not just this street....it is every street in the north of Blackpool...do the same search for Caxton Avenue as an example, and you will get the same scenario.

I continue to be less than impressed with FMP....months down the line and still not resolved...and they want to charge you for the 'privilege' of using the Register!



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