Toronto Necropolis in February

Toronto Necropolis © Jane E. MacNamara

As we sit comfortably in front of our home computers indexing the burial registers of the Toronto Necropolis, I thought you might like to see what the actual cemetery looked like on a rainy February 27, 2010. The photos also help to explain the reason for all the complicated burial location descriptions like “gore next to”.

In the first two months of 2010, we have indexed well over 10,000 names. But there are many, many more to go!

Guarded by Necropolis lions © Jane E. MacNamara

If you’d like to help, we’d be very glad of your assistance. Please see the Toronto Trust Indexing page to find out how to sign up.

Moving eastward to the Toronto Necropolis!

Necropolis entrance

Necropolis entrance and chapel (courtesy David Reed)

We’re making great progress on the York General Burying Ground, and we’ll soon be moving on to the Toronto Necropolis records. We’ll be moving east to the edge of the Don River valley, and forward in time—with a bit of an overlap with the York General Burying Ground. I’m sure we’ll recognize lots of families.

When you download your first batch of the Necropolis, you’ll want to reorganize the indexing fields to make the job easier. Here are the instructions:

ORGANIZE FIELDS
When you have the indexing page open, you’ll see a “View” menu at the top left. Choose “Organize fields” and you can easily hide the fields you don’t need for the Necropolis, and drag the others into the correct order using the arrows between the columns. Just highlight the field name on the left, and use the second arrow button to move it to the box on the right, or use the third and fourth buttons to shuffle it up or down.

Here’s a screen shot of what the “Organize fields” should look like for the Necropolis.

Necropolis fields

"Organize Fields" settings for the Toronto Necropolis

Tricks for deciphering that careless handwriting!

L to R: Reduce, Enlarge, Invert (negative), Brightness/contrast

L to R: Reduce, Enlarge, Invert (switch to negative), Brightness/contrast

Don’t you sometimes wish you could ask that clerk why he didn’t use better ink, or a sharper pen, or at least why he didn’t take his time? Did he not realize that we’d be trying to read his writing 100 years later!

Here are a few tricks you can try:

  • Enlarging and reducing the size. You’ll find the enlarging controls at the top left of the indexing screen, just above the image (the plus and minus buttons.) It is not always the case that bigger is better. Sometimes seeing a letter or word in context  will help.
  • Darkening the page to make very faint ink look denser. You can also change the contrast. Use the “sun” button at the top left to get sliders for brightness and contrast. It may take a few seconds for your screen to show the change.
  • Strange, but true, that sometimes switching to a negative image make fine lines stand out really well. This technique slows the computer down a little, so be patient. The button to “invert” the image, also at the top left, is black and white split diagonally.
  • Share a batch with another transcriber. Sometimes what you need is a second opinion. Go to the “File” menu at the top left and select “share batch”. You will get a number that you can e-mail to another project member, who will be able to open the same batch and be that other pair of eyes.

We’re all working with different computers and screens, and yes,—EYES. If you come upon a batch that you are finding really difficult, and you think it may be either your equipment or your eyesight that is the problem, the best route might be for you to send the batch back for someone else to do. Look for “Return batch” under the “File” menu.

No problem. There are lots of other batches to go around. Don’t feel you have to struggle!

Recording additional property owners

Quite frequently, we’ve been coming across plots with multiple owners–likely siblings in most cases. We have been recording only the first owner which meant that we might be missing the opportunity to index additional family surnames .

NEW: If there are two or more owners, record all the first names, separated with the word “or” in the “Property of: Given Name” field. For instance, “John or Peter or Susan”. Record all the surnames in the “Property of: Surname” field, again, separated with “or”. For instance, ” Cooper or Smith or Brown”.

If the given names have been abbreviated, do not expand them. If you can’t decipher a name, use ctrl+u to mark it unreadable.

How do I deal with two names on one line?

Indexer Pat Jeffs has brought forward a anomaly in the Mount Pleasant registers for which we now have an answer. Pat noted that, in a couple of cases, there were two individuals listed on a single line in the register–one set of twin infants, and a husband and wife.

Each individual should have a separate line entry. Do them in the order written. The line numbers increase automatically, but you can change them. The second number will be a duplicate, but that’s OK.

Remember that if there’s not an actual name the line should be marked as a blank; don’t be tempted to use “wife” or “child”, etc.

Instructions for this problem have now been added to the field help screens. Thank you to Pat (from England) for asking, and Rose (from Utah) for providing the answer.