In a separate article today, I republished Footnote.com's announcement of the company's new Great Depression Collection. The mention of the first ever interactive 1930 U.S. Census caught my eye. This looks like a great resource for genealogists.
Of course, Footnote.com is a sponsor of this newsletter, so I always closely watch any new announcements from the company. Even so, I think the info about the Interactive 1930 Census would have caught my eye even if the company was not a sponsor. Other companies already offer the 1930 Census images, so one might think this is simply a duplication of what other companies have done. However, a quick look at the "interactive" features shows that Footnote's new offering is quite different from anything seen before.
Footnote's version of the 1930 U.S. Census shows images of the original records as recorded in the enumerators' handwriting. Every name is indexed, and you can search by a variety of criteria. That isn't much different from the census records available on Footnote's competitors. What IS different, however, is the interactive part.
Previous census offerings from other companies operate in a "read only" mode. That is, you can read the records, but nothing else. The new offering announced today allows Footnote members the opportunity to contribute their own family photos, documents, and stories by attaching them to the names shown in the census.
For instance, if you see your grandparents' listing in the 1930 census records, you can add your own photographs of the grandparent(s), and you can write about the family stories and most anything else that you feel is relevant. Future researchers who find the same people in the census records will see that additional material has been added and will be able to view that material, if they wish.
In addition to contributing to the census documents, members can automatically create Footnote Pages for any individual found in the census. Footnote Pages have been available for some time, and the new census records are nicely integrated into those pages. Footnote Pages allow users to create timelines, photo galleries, maps, and links to other Footnote Pages. A Footnote Page allows the user to add all sorts of information about ancestors, now including 1930 Census images.
Footnote Pages can serve as memorial pages, research pages, or simply a starting place where individual shoeboxes of memories and memorabilia can be uploaded. A Footnote Page already exists for every individual listed in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), and I would assume that a high percentage of those people also are recorded in the 1930 census records. Any Footnote member can go to the Footnote Page and fill in additional information about the person, now including images from the 1930 U.S. Census.
If you do encounter someone who is listed in the census records but is not listed in the SSDI, you can quickly create a Footnote Page for that person and build the memorial page, research page, or whatever you wish.
In short, Footnote has converted the census records from a simple listing of facts into a truly interactive memorial to the people listed.
I have already found my parents and my grandparents in Footnote's interactive 1930 census records and am now building memorial pages for all six of them.