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Archiver > APG > 2006-12 > 1165325095

From: Gary Mokotoff <>
Subject: [APG] More on Steve Morse Gold Form
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2006 08:27:29 -0500
In-Reply-To: <mailman.55.1165305818.4333.apg@rootsweb.com>

The functionality of the Stephen P. Morse site in searching for Jewish
immigrants has now been extended to the entire Ellis Island Database (EIDB).
It truly has become the Ultimate Ellis Island Search Engine. Called the
"Gold Form" at http://stevemorse.org, it undoubtedly will replace all other
variants at the site.

To search the Ellis Island Database using the Gold Form, there is no
required field; not even name. For example, if you cannot find an immigrant
but you know that he came from Parma, Italy, search using the town name
"Parma." There are just under 2,000 results. You can reduce the number of
false positives by adding gender, marital status, and estimate age and year
of arrival.

The Gold Form allows you to search on any of the following fields: given
name, family name, first name of companion, town name, ship name, port name,
range of years of arrival, range of age at time of arrival, range of year of
birth, marital status, gender, ethnicity. You can select which items in the
database to display and can sort the results by name, town, date of arrival,
age, ship port or passenger ID.

In the case of first name, surname, first name of companion and town name,
you can specify the information provided Starts With (or Is), Sounds Like or
Contains. The Sounds-Like option uses the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System
rather than the conventional soundex system. D-M soundex not only uses a
superior algorithm but extends the coding to the first six consonants rather
than four as done by the conventional soundex system. This eliminates many
false positives.

You may experience slow response time in the next few weeks because the site
is new and occasionally overloaded. I had a number of cases where the
response time was so long that the system timed out. Morse and his
associate, Gary Sandler, are addressing these problems.

Case Study
My personal experience is that when you cannot find an immigrant by name in
the EIDB because it is misspelled, providing all other information other
than name yields sufficiently few results that the individual easily can be
found. I was unable to find my grandfather, Morris Mokotoff, in the database
when searching by name. Using the Gold Form, I specified what I knew about
him. I knew his given name at time of arrival was some variant of Moshe
(Moszek, Moshe, etc.), so I specified the given name Started With "Mo." I
left the Family Name blank. He was born in 1888 and came to the U.S. between
1908 and 1913, so I specified his Birth Year was between 1885 and 1895 (the
ship's manifest asks age, which is often inaccurate) and his Arrival Year
was between 1908 and 1913. I knew he came from Warsaw which is represented
in the database in many ways (Warsaw, Warschau, etc.), so I specified the
Town Name Starts With "Wa." Finally I stated he was Jewish, Male and Single.

The results show how remarkable the Gold Form is. Out of 24 million
immigrants in the Ellis Island Database, only 140 met the criteria above.
One "Moische ...okaton," was my grandfather.

Gary Mokotoff

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