Genealogy Wise

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Is there some way we can EFFECTIVELY get sites to change the errors made by the TRANSCRIBER?

I am not talking about the errors that the marshall or the enumerator made. Nor am I talking about a misreading caused by confusing handwriting. Both footnote and Ancestry.com offer ways to add comments which will help others find the correct entries.

But there is a GLARING error on Ancestry.com about a page in the 1870 census for Chester Township, Wabash County, Indiana. It does begin with the transcriber misreading "W" for "white" as "M" for mulatto. Every person on this page is marked as being mulatto! I am not being protective of my white status! My problem is that the original enumerator notes in the summary at the bottom of the page that there is only one person of color (male) in all of Chester Township up to that page. Since this statement is part of the historic census, stating that 25 to 30 people (male and female) HAS to be an error.

Ancestry.com may still respond to my email about this; their response to my other suggestion on the page was not accompanied by any mention of this note. This type of error is a serious problem for people who are doing online research. When the transcription contradicts the census facts, the researcher may be thrown completely off track.

How do we urge correction upon the sites who have this type of error?

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I do know about that feature, and I submitted a name correction for an entire family on that same page. I received the note that Ancestry had noted those corrections.

BUT, that correction step has no place for corrections about entries like race. There is a comment box. I entered this error on that box, and the comment now shows up. HOWEVER, if you search the folks on that page the abstract STILL shows everyone to be mulatto (no emended correction). People searching that page will be likely to ignore those entries, because they are looking for whites. That mulatto marking should show the same type of correction that the name does.

This is made worse by the fact that everyone in Chester Township, Wabash, Indiana was listed by Last Name, Initial. Wrong last name, Initial, plus wrong racial identification. Only desperate folks will search page by page here.

Last name plus initial was the choice of the enumerator. The wrong spelling was also caused by the enumerator. I am well aware that those entries are historical and CANNOT be changed.

However, the enumerator wrote a "W" followed by a page of dittos. The enumerator did not make a mistake here. Admittedly the "W" is sloppy. But the choice between "W" and "M" which was wrongly chosen by the transcriber IS NOT historical, and is clearly identified as wrong by the data at the foot of the census page.

My trouble is how to get Ancestry's attention about this.

Sue
Yes, I was trying to find out how to get Ancestor to notice this.

I don't think they could (or would) change all of Chester Township, but there should be a way to call this to their attention on a page by page basis.

Thank you for the suggestion of bringing this to the attention the folks on the "listserve." I'll do that right away — EXCEPT that I'm not sure I know what you mean! (I'm very new to all this networking).

I take you point about who would be affected by this error. Actually, I usually don't notice race designations. As far as I know all my ancestors were white, but I'm prepared for any result. The problem here was the compounding of no first names with the wrong listing plus the fact that I knew enough of the history of the area in that time period to know that "mulatto" didn't apply here.

I just want us to be able to help Ancestry and other sites who supply indexes to change (or annotate) such errors in order to avoid misleading searchers.

And it's truly just as bad for everybody, no matter what race you think you are searching. If you had "Stricklers" or "Sucklers" (the census misspelling) in your family tree, you might spend hours trying to find out if these folks belonged to your family. You wouldn't be misled with a corrected annotation.

Thank you for your help.
Yes, this is a big help! (I thought that might be what you meant by listserve, but needed to be sure.)

"In the group, Most Wanted! Ancestors Lost and Found, …" this means I have to join another group! This is getting out of hand! (j/k). Actually, it's good to know which locations on this site will help me grow most quickly/efficiently.

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