NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Isaac Riley

Record Linking Lab
Brigham Young University
435 Crabtree Technology Building
Provo, UT 84602

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Brigham Young University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2019Combining Family History and Machine Learning to Link Historical Records
with Joseph Price, Kasey Buckles, Jacob Van Leeuwen: w26227
A key challenge for research on many questions in the social sciences is that it is difficult to link historical records in a way that allows investigators to observe people at different points in their life or across generations. In this paper, we develop a new approach that relies on millions of record links created by individual contributors to a large, public, wiki-style family tree. First, we use these “true” links to inform the decisions one needs to make when using traditional linking methods. Second, we use the links to construct a training data set for use in supervised machine learning methods. We describe the procedure we use and illustrate the potential of our approach by linking individuals across the 100% samples of the US decennial censuses from 1900, 1910, and 1920. We...
 
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