Track those Near Misses

I may never find the US passenger list entries for Wilhelmine (Trautvetter) Zenf and her children, but it will not be for lack of trying. It will also not be because I did not keep track of the entries that were eliminated from consideration.

To keep myself from looking at the same entry over and over (easy to do if one is using several different websites to search passenger lists), I’ve made a chart that summarizes the entry and why I eliminated it as being Wilhelmine or her children. The reason is important. That way if I discover what I “know” about the family is wrong, I can easily review my previous conclusions and look again at those entries that may now match what I know.

Additional columns could be added to the chart used in the illustration, including:

  • approximate year of birth
  • direct link to the image
  • note as to whether manifest image was downloaded to personal media

Before investing too much time in a “what I looked at to find this” chart, think about what pieces of information you’d like to know about the items that were eliminated from consideration. All those pieces of data are easiest to collect when using the index and viewing the image–not afterwards.