Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Indexing Chicago Catholic Church Records: Tip for Reading Polish Surnames

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm determined to contribute some time to indexing Chicago's Catholic parish records because I think it will create a much-needed resource for pre-Fire research and this morning I'm working on a page from a Polish church.
I'm familiar with the records and I've even bumped into a lot of Polish surnames in 5+ years of working with Chicago vital record searches but I'm still struggling to read some of the names.
This morning I was puzzling over the surname in this entry:
The "kowiak" was clear but was the surname really Autkowiak? It just didn't feel right.
I went to the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) website and pulled up the Dziennik Chicagoski Death Notice Index Search 1890-1929. I typed "kowiak" in the surname box, chose "wild card search" and hit enter. In this case, the answer to my question was on the first page of results.
Antkowiak. Of course! I know that "n" and "u" are often misread but it's so easy to forget when I'm reading names that are unfamiliar.
I suspect this database will prove to be a huge help as I work at accurately transcribing other names.
If you have other insights that will help make this project easier for other indexers, please post them as comments.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

There are several people with a lot of expertise indexing these together in a Facebook group called Share Batch Indexing, Etc. We would love to have you join us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/341166519283573/