Burn Bridle Press – Bucks County History

Data Crunching

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My initial assessment of the Solebury Friends grave data presented a number of problems.

First, the online list is alphabetical by surname and broken up into nine pages. This was a total pain when I decided to count the children buried in the first three rows. I had to run a text search in my browser for the row numbers and read every grave listing, recording hash marks for those listed as children, then repeat the process twenty seven times (3 rows x 9 pages) and add up my results. To make matters worse, many of the graves are missing dates and names. A lot of them have a family relationship (son of, wife of) listed in lieu of a first name.

How can I extract meaningful information from this data?

I decided to organize the information in a database to  make it easily searchable and to allow me filter and aggregate the data more efficiently. Because many individual plots are missing information I hope to identify trends that will tell us about Strangers Row as a whole.

Can we establish a date range for the undated graves? Are there really a disproportionate number of children?

It’s been a grueling process, but the database is beginning to yield some interesting results. Look for an update later today.

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Written by Moses Doan

March 25, 2011 at 6:37 am

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