Saturday, December 14, 2013

From one of our most faithful and talented helpers ...

A long-time blog reader feeds us a steady stream of research. Sometimes we already have what he sends, but often we don’t. He sends even the most minor details. Sometimes it’s a newspaper paragraph only a sentence or two long. Details matter. They can be story altering. He recently sent two newspaper articles about Payton Bowman, one of the key figures in Russell’s early ministry. We had copies of Bowman’s records found in a Methodist archive. The two short mentions of Bowman that Ton sent opened up new detail. We re-wrote the section on Bowman. Here is his essay.

The frustration and fun of research, by a fiend of the blog

In these Internet days doing research is made easier. Many data are made digitally available, like newspapers, genealogical data, photos and many many more. Google has digitized many books, and made them available on the net. Original Watchtower publications are scanned and made available by collectors.

OCR is the family of programs that is used to read phographed pages. If OCR was not used, you would have to read all those newspaper pages. But OCR is not perfect, though it gets better all the time.

Like the advertisement for skates by Russell’s uncle. It is not hard to find, but you have to use multiple searches like Birney & Co, Birney and Co, Burney and co, Thomas Birney, Birny, Th Birney, T Birney. That's the way to avoid all mistakes made by OCR.

Human indexing, like on the website is also possible, but not perfect too.

The answer to the question: Who married first: Charles and Maria or Joseph and Emma? would have been answered a long time ago, if not the name "JL Russel" (sic) as it appeared in the census had been indexed as "Russel JL Russel."

Also the research can be hindered by multiple people having the same name. In Russells days there was also a Charles T Russell of Connecticut in Liverpool as an envy extraordinary. And a stemer of the same name. The magazine Zion's Say Star by A.D.Jones changed its name to Day Star. And ooooops in those days a horse with that name appears in the papers hundreds of times. Is there a reference to the Day Star we are looking for? The horse was more successful the the magazine......

So if you try to help the owners of this blog (what I encourage), be aware of the numerous possibilities of mistyping and other stumble-bocks.

If you have a bit of feeling for doing research you may be able to find many things for a blog like this. And if what you find is helpful it is real fun.

Of course it can be frustrating. No marriage of Joseph and Emma is on the net yet. Many historical websites want to be paid (which can pay itself out when they deliver a lot of the searched for material. Google stopped its newspaper collection, and it is not avilable any more (if someone knows how, please let me know).

But many are free. See , , , ,

for many free (and paid) historical newspaper sites

Please if you have a little time, do some research. I am sure Rachael and Bruce are willing to make a new entry next to this one where they will mention the items and persons they would like to know more about. Nothing more fun than a book in which you find that footnote to your discovery (without your name of course) which you can show your family and friends, telling them "I found this. Good, eh".


jerome said...

Thanks for all your hard work, and for the links for others to search further.

roberto said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

So ... I pushed the wrong button and managed to delete Roberto's comment. Bad me. Sorry. He said thanks.

roberto said...

Who is the author of this article?