Adding PINs to the database is a work in progress.
We want seeks to reduce the ambiguity often encountered when you find in persons' names in historical documents by creating an historical equivalent of the modern Social Security Number. Called a Personal Identification Number (PIN), it is a decimal code normally based on a person's dates of birth and death:
PIN = Date of Birth + . (period) + Date of Death
For example, Jefferson County, (West) Virginia, resident Henry Shepherd was born on January 4, 1793, and died on October 12, 1870. His PIN is 01041793.10121870. Coding rules have been established to deal with missing birth or death dates or with persons, such as twins, who may be born and die on the dame day. Also, the database does not allow duplicate PINs to be entered.
Why use Date of Birth and Date of Death for the PIN instead of incrementally assigned numbers? We hope it will give users more flexibility in searching sources. To really test this hypothesis, we need to add more data to WVGP. We can always use another numbering system if it doesn't work.
PINs are assigned when a personal profile is created for an individual. Consisting of information about the individual's family, social, political, business, and military history, the profile provides a standard against which a personal name is compared, much as a candidate fingerprint is compared to a known one to determine identity (Figure 1). Personal profiles include references for the information they contain, and levels of confidence can be assigned to PINs so that researchers can weigh the evidence for themselves.When PINs are added to digitized census records, a single search will display relevant data in numerous sources.
The goal is to let you search the database by PIN or surname, locate profiles persons who might match the one you are looking for, and then use the PIN and / or surname to search other sources in WVGP. Of course, these other sources need to be coded with PIN numbers for the searches to work, and that will take some time. Soon you will be able to help by submitting Personal Profiles for Jefferson County residents of your choice. Watch our Announcements for details.