FamilySearch experimental search of handwritten wills and deeds

A FamilySearch collection, “Wills and deed records from the United States, 1630-1975,” was recently the subject of an experimental research project. One hundred and ten million records processed by handwriting recognition technology were opened up for searching.  Several people tried it before the experiment was closed and posted about their experience and enthusiasm on Reddit,”. A YouTube post by GenealogyTechnology demonstrated using it.

If you want to know more, the RootsTech presentation Advances in Computer Assisted Indexing of Historical Records by John Alexander from FamilySearch provides a helpful backgrounder.

In Canada, we benefitted from Ancestry’s index to the 1931 census completed in 2 days. The release was delayed for quality control.

The day is coming when AI interpretation of handwritten records will be something we can apply ourselves to a collection where online images are available. What Canadian records would you want to use it for?

One Reply to “FamilySearch experimental search of handwritten wills and deeds”

  1. For me, the best set of targets for this kind of application would be those collections where the information is not indexed for use by name but is already in a handwritten tabular format. The abstract registers for Ontario land records readily come to mind and not only because I make use of them often. There the information is catalogued by township, concession, and lot so we have to spend a lot of time digging if we are missing those details. Yet the abstract registers do include the names of the grantors and grantees in column format.

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