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Projects

Current Projects

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African-American Families Project

March 18, 2020 01:21 PM
We have been working to dramatically improve the coverage of African Americans on the Family Tree as a way to create new discovery experiences. We used an automated tool to add over six million African Americans to the Family Tree as family unity using data from the 1900 and 1910 US Census. We have been working with volunteers to connect these individuals to their extended family members using record hints and public member trees on other websites. The best way to help with this project is to invite African Americans in our community to set up a free FamilySearch account and add in what they know about their family. They will likely quickly connect with some of the families that we have added to the Family Tree.
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Census Tree Project

We are creating a Census Tree that will link the 188 million people that lived in the United States between 1900 and 1940 across each of the census records for these years they appear in and connect each person to all of their one-hop relatives (parents, siblings, spouses, and children). The Census Tree will provide the largest longitudinal data set ever created in the United States and will open up many opportunities for research in economics, demography, sociology, and public health. Here is a link to the paper and slides about the project that we recently presented in Oslo. We are working with several groups on this project including Kasey Buckles, Steve Ruggles, Cathy Fitch, and Jonas Helgertz.
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Automated Indexing

March 18, 2020 01:24 PM
We currently have a grant from the MIH and a grant from the NSF to develop tools to automatically index historical records. We are currently focused on US Census records but the tools we are developing will allow us to automatically index records from many different countries. We've also created a new way to index, called reverse indexing. You can try it out at indexing.fhtl.byu.edu, and the key innovation is that you just mark the ones that shouldn’t be there and then hit submit to index the whole batch at once. We also have a mobile indexing app, bit.ly/rll-index, in which each of the images on this app were snipped and indexed by a machine learning algorithm. Currently, we can narrow the correct name to a small set of options and the indexing app will allow us to improve our hand-writing recognition until it is able to match the accuracy of a human. We are working with Kasey Buckles, Mark Clement, Christian Dahl, and Torben Johansen on this the project.
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Harvard Project

March 18, 2020 01:25 PM
We have gathered data on every students who attended Harvard during the early 1900s. During this time period, Harvard randomly assigned room mates and we are using this exogenous variation to examine the impact of your college room mate on long-run economic outcomes. The project involves a combination of computer vision, natural language processing, and record linking that are the three core strengths of our lab. We are working with Val Michelman and Seth Zimmerman on this project.
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Academic Partner Projects

March 18, 2020 01:26 PM
We have worked on projects for several academic partners. The students in our lab helped Martha Bailey (University of Michigan) with the LIFEM project, Adriana Lleras-Muney (UCLA) and Anna Aizer (Brown) with the Mother’s Pension project, Rick Hornbeck (Chicago) with a project to digitize and index the US manufacturing census, and Ran Abramitzky (Stanford) and Leah Boustan (UCLA) with a project related to Ellis Island oral histories. We will help with any projects that can directly benefit FamilySearch either by improving the Family Tree or expanding their indexed data collections. Our main motivation for these projects is to provide meaningful research experiences to BYU students. Contact Joe Price (joe_price@byu.edu) if you would like the Record Linking Lab to help with a project.
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