Introducing the “Ancestry Errors Wiki”

Subscription genealogy websites–like Ancestry.com and Fold3.com–provide a great service to genealogists by providing remote access to digitized record images. In most cases, the image databases allow researchers to search or browse for their ancestors.

Unfortunately, occasional errors in imaging, image organization, or database programming on these websites cause inadvertent obstacles to our research. For example, some townships appear in the wrong county in one of the federal census databases. Or pages appear out of order. There are many examples of these kind of errors, but no way to know if your county of research suffers from one of them.

For this reason, I have created the Ancestry Errors Wiki. This wiki will provide a hub for genealogists to notify other genealogists of errors that exist on various subscription genealogy websites. In time, these errors may be corrected, but until then, researchers should be able to search for any known existing errors, and adjust their research accordingly.

The purpose of this site is not to report name-indexing errors. Both Ancestry and Fold3 contain effective internal mechanisms for amending and modifying indexing errors. This site is for the reporting of imaging or programming errors only.

The site uses the wiki platform, so that any user can create and edit content. This will allow the site to include information based on the research experience of the whole online genealogy community.

I would like to invite all genealogists to visit the site and add any errors of which they are aware. Only with all of our help will this site be a successful and useful resource.

Visit the “Ancestry Errors Wiki” at http://ancestryerrors.wikia.com/wiki/Ancestry_Errors_Wiki. For more information, contact Michael Hait, CG, at michael.hait@hotmail.com.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Clarise on August 1, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Great idea – Thanks Michael!

    Reply

  2. Posted by bluejay on August 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Interesting idea! What about non-subscription websites such as FamilySearch? They have the same types of problems. And FamilySearch doesn’t yet have the ability to add corrections to the index….

    Reply

  3. Wonderful idea. Would this cover things such as missing images and mismatch of index to image in the World War I Draft Registration cards (for Brooklyn, you have to hit the back arrow six or seven times to find the image that matches the extracted information pulled up by a search)?

    Reply

  4. Michael,

    I think this is a great idea, and a great resource for both customers and companies.

    Actually, when I first read your blog title, I thought the database was going to be for errors detected in compiled genealogies which have been and continue to be promulgated by the Internet (especially those older genealogies that relied so heavily on correspondence rather than actual records).

    It would be nice to have a single resource for those types of errors as well, as well as a way for people to crowdsource efforts to correct them and add new information. Do you know if there already is such a resource? I wonder if people would be interested in such a database/wiki.

    Blaine

    Reply

    • That is an interesting idea.

      I do not know of any single, central resource for these corrections. However, many case studies published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The American Genealogist, and other peer reviewed journals address errors in old compiled genealogies. And of course, there are nearly as many more recent genealogies with more accurate information, on the same families.

      As far as inaccurate information on the Internet goes, I don’t think there is any way to stop the flow. At this point, there are more inaccurate genealogies online than you can shake a leaf at!

      Michael

      Reply

  5. I couldn’t agree more (and nice pun!). And you’re right, I’ve read a number of peer-reviewed articles (and an entire book once) that corrected errors found in old genealogies. I hadn’t thought of those. Of course, they aren’t easily centralized anywhere that I’m aware of.

    Still, it would be both interesting and valuable to have a wiki where people could provide corrections AND support for those corrections (without the added support, in my opinion, a correction is no better than the incorrect version). Not everyone is a fan of crowdsourced research, but this might be one scenario where it could work.

    In any event, thank you for providing the Ancestry Errors Wiki, and for stimulating thought on a database as we’ve discussed. Would be interested to see what other people might think.

    Blaine

    Reply

  6. Good grief! I am sorry, and I may be in the tiny minority here, but the LAST thing we need in genealogy is someone wasting our time with a list of mistakes!

    Sheesh.

    Reply

  7. [...] its creation on 1 August 2011, quite a few errors have have been added to the Wiki. There are now pages available for counties in [...]

    Reply

  8. May we add other countries to the Ancestry Errors Wiki, Michael?

    Reply

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