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Archiver > APG > 2009-01 > 1232134879

From: <>
Subject: Re: [APG] FW: "Fun" with ancestry.com
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 13:41:19 -0600
References: <01a001c97774$41d57670$c5806350$@net><9751CABE606E47399B7533478E8AD78E@YOUR58BA15CF1B>
In-Reply-To: <9751CABE606E47399B7533478E8AD78E@YOUR58BA15CF1B>

Dick wrote:
>But what the transcriber "actually sees" is not always what is _actually_
written on the page.
>1930 census . . .Grandpa's last name is written almost identical to that of
my Uncle Frank. To me, of course, both names look to be PENCE.
>Grandpa, on page 2A, appears in the Ancestry.com index as Allen M. PEVER.
>Uncle Frank, on page 2B, appears in the Ancestry.com index as Frank PRUCE.

You're absolutely right, Dick. Even when the enumerator hears and spells the
name correctly, it can be misread. But, as Michael John said last night:

>It is easier to read the name when we know what it is. . . .


>It is those familiar with the local families who are the best transcribers,
but that is a theoretical ideal that is not possible in most situations.

We all deplore "wrong readings," but it is unrealistic to expect indexers to
be clairvoyants or, even, to have the collective wisdom of all on this list.

Until we figure out a way to have all records indexed by local individuals
who are thoroughly familiar with both the local families and the traits of
each culture who settled the region, these problems will exist. Frankly, I
don't expect the ideal to happen any time soon.

In the meanwhile, a more practical policy, IMO, would be the old standard:
If you see a problem, don't just vent---devise a solution.

Applying that policy here, we might immediately do four things to turn
"venting" into constructive criticism:

1. Develop a list of procedures we think would resolve the indexing
2. Contact each provider of historical data on whom we rely and ask if they
would provide a copy of their own quality-control process for indexers and
those who supervise indexers.
3. Compare our list with the corporate lists, to identify potentially useful
procedures not being applied.
4. Go back to the providers with a targeted list of potential solutions not
yet applied and ask for a discussion of the pros and cons of each method we
think would ameliorate current problems.


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

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