1858 Map Indexing

1858 Map Indexing
Project: Transcribe every name on the 1858 town map for searchable access

The oldest comprehensive map of this area is the 1858 wall map by H.F. Walling. This large map (5’x 5′) showed every road in the county for the first time, and named every home, school, church and business. It is a remarkable snapshot of local history.

The town maps from “Walling” will be inventoried in detail by volunteers. Every name will be transcribed into a database which will include the present status of the 1858 site. Volunteers will provide brief reports on six sites to highlight the uses of the old map.

The database and reports will be published on this site and issued in printed form for the library and historical society.

Each map is divided into 4 sections for easier indexing.
To see this example (2mb JPEG) click on the image.

The Village map will also be indexed.

Detail from the Bernardston 1858 map

Indexers will use standard “indexing rules” which are available at this site.

The goal is to get all of the names on the map into a database for research and for statistical analysis. All text on the maps will be indexed: personal names, businesses, schools, geographic features, village names etc.

Map Indexing Rules — Outline of Actions

A) prepare a worksheet map for each town/village – gridded into 4 sections for larger towns.
B) hand-write all names on lined paper worksheet
C) type the hand notes into an Excel Spreadsheet
D) check the spreadsheet list against the original map
E) Combine into a database. Add sorting fields and explanatory info


Indexing Rules — Worksheet Indexing (on paper) (see Sample Hand Notes)
Initial indexing is best done on paper rather than on a computer because hand notes provide a record of your original indexing so it can be checked against the original. If you want to go direct to a PC, be sure to keep a printout of your first draft in its raw form. See Spreadsheet Transcribing below..

1) use lots of paper-one side only. Leave space for corrections, additions. Label each page, your name, date.
2) Index the little dot (the house) if name is outside of grid or town.
3) If dot is on grid line use the grid where the name is.
4) Work from left to right / top to bottom across the map. Follow roads.
5) Mark off / cross out each name on the map itself after you index it.
6) Note that grid lines and Town lines are potential problem areas – you might miss names at edges!
7) Spell it EXACTLY as it is. Don’t correct errors, don’t interpret abbreviations; don’t transpose initial and last name. These are important so we can do a check against the original map later.
8) BUT, Don’t just leave a empty entry – guess or spell the word partially. Use square brackets. Examples: [Smi?] Jon[…]ton or Ma[..]fy (You don’t need to be perfect – just thorough)
9) DO include non-personal names: geographic features, entries like “Store”, village names. Type a river name where the actual name is (eg index the word “Fall” in “Fall River” if the name straddles a grid line).
10) If the same name appears twice (eg 2 houses nearby), index it twice. We aren’t just indexing names, we are also collecting statistical data.
11) DO write notes on the map worksheet. Comments, guesses etc are helpful. Circle illegible names on the map.

Be very careful. Correcting mistakes can take a lot longer than just doing it right to begin with. The final result wants to be something we can be proud of!

Indexing Rules – Spreadsheet Transcribing

After the handwritten notes are completed, type the hand notes into an Excel spreadsheet – still keeping the entry as it appears on the map, but separating the surname or building name from the firstname(s) of the owner, using rules below.. We are NOT doing any cross-referencing or multiple indexing in this phase. That will happen later.

Example of Spreadsheet – Marked Up
Sample Spreadsheet – to Download (use as a template)

1) Keep the spreadsheet in the same order as the original notes.
2) Type in the notes just as they appear (with an occasional exception as noted).
3) Do NOT add any cross-reference entries
Fname Lname
(eg “B. Jones Soap Factory” = B. Jones Soap Factory (don’t add an entry for “Soap

This is important because the typed notes will be compared with the original map for accuracy-checking. The spreadsheet list needs to be almost identical to the original map for easy and accurate checking.

4) Put titles in the Fname field, and Occupation etc in the Lname field
“Rev. J.L. Adams, Pastor” = Rev. J.L. Adams, Pastor
Sometimes this will result in very long Lname entries:
For example ________ North Academy, Rev. H.J. Moore, Principal
(we will add a cross-reference for Reverend Moore later!)

5) If two owners, just index the first: ________ Dean & Child’s Store
(index Dean, not Child’s. We will add Childs cross reference later)

6) This method will result in some differing entries, as in these 3 different ways a Hotel might be labelled.
“Hotel” = _________ Hotel
“B. Jones Hotel” = B. ______ Jones Hotel
(we will cross-reference these later)
“Hotel B. Jones” = _________ Hotel B. Jones

7) Type abbreviated or superscript entries as normal text: eg “ Wm” , “Cos” (Cos= abbreviation for Company’s))
8) Put “no names” in Lname field if there is an unlabelled house dot. __________ NO NAME
Use all capitals (this will make it easier to pull those out if we need to)
9) Do not “no name” the clusters of house dots in village centers if these sites are named on the village detail map.

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