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From: <>
Subject: [APG] FW: "Fun" with ancestry.com
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 18:49:15 -0600

Gary wrote:
>There's nothing magical about Americans in this respect, but they generally
have a better feel for American names than non-Americans.

You're right here, too, Gary. Still, there's a problem with the underlying
concept that transcribers should render a name however they *think* it is
meant to be, rather than how the record actually reads.

Transcription standards in genealogy (as in most learned fields) require one
to copy exactly what one sees. If we believe the original makes an error,
and that the text should read differently, then the standard is to place our
"correction" in square editorial brackets alongside what the document
actually says. We are not to "silently correct" it.

It is my understanding that Ancestry.com also instructs its keyers---whether
they are in the U.S. or abroad---to follow the standard of entering what the
document appears to say, rather than what they think might have been meant.
(And if my "understanding" of their policy is in error here, I'm sure
someone at Ancestry.com will correct me promptly!)


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
APG member, Tennessee

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