March 18, 2010

Caveat re Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1930 on Ancestry!

Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1930 on Ancestry.com has recently been updated. I was pretty happy to see that as my family lines are Ontario back to 1800. I immediately began searching for some of my earlier ancestors.

At first I didn't notice anything unusual. Then I realized that ever index result I obtained had the SAME MOTHER for both the bride and groom. Uh-oh!

Here's a few examples to show what I found:

Name: Charlotte Peer
Birth Place: Nelson
Age: 53
Estimated birth year: abt 1824
Father Name: John Thomas
Mother Name: Mary Thomas <==
Spouse Name: George Hardbottle
Spouse's Age: 73
Spouse Birth Place: Yorkshire England
Spouse Father Name: John Hardbottle
Spouse Mother Name: Mary Thomas <==

Name: Denzalo J Peer
Birth Place: United States
Age: 41
Estimated birth year: abt 1831
Father Name: Abraham Peer
Mother Name: Mary Peer <==
Spouse Name: Amelia Taylor
Spouse's Age: 18
Spouse Birth Place: England
Spouse Father Name: Henry Taylor
Spouse Mother Name: Mary Peer <==

I began to click on random results that were not mine. Same thing - same name for both mothers. I checked the images where images were available. Nope, the mothers' names were not the same on any of the images.

For example, the image shows that George Hardbottle's mother's name is recorded as Mary Hardbottle and Charlotte's is Mary Thomas. The image shows that Denzalo Peer's parents were Abraham and Mary while Amelia's were Henry and Eliza.

I checked over 30 marriage registrations. All had the same error.

Then I realized that I could not check the ones that did not have images attached. That's a huge problem! However eventually through trial and error I stumbled on the way around this.

Here's an example of a marriage index entry with NO IMAGE attached to verify parents' names:

I searched for STEPHEN PEER (His name is first in the index results)

Name: Stephen Peer
Birth Place: Canada
Residence: Ancaster Township
Age: 21
Estimated birth year: abt 1842
Father Name: John Peer
Mother Name: Nancy Peer <==
Spouse Name: Mary Newton
Spouse's Age: 22
Spouse Birth Place: England
Spouse residence: Nelson Township
Spouse Father Name: Thomas Newton
Spouse Mother Name: Nancy Peer <==

Notice that both mothers are given as Nancy Peer. Which one is correct? All you do is reverse your search order. You've searched for Stephen, now search under his wife's name (Mary Newton)

Now you get the indexed results with Mary's name first:

Name: Mary Newton
Birth Place: England
Residence: Nelson Township
Age: 22
Estimated birth year: abt 1841
Father Name: Thomas Newton
Mother Name: Sarah Newton <==
Spouse Name: Stephen Peer
Spouse's Age: 21
Spouse Birth Place: Canada
Spouse residence: Ancaster Township
Spouse Father Name: John Peer
Spouse Mother Name: Sarah Newton <==

Now you get Sarah Newton as the mother of both. In this example it is easy to figure out which mother (Sarah Newton or Nancy Peer) goes with the bride and which goes with the groom. The mothers are recorded under their married names (not their maiden names) so Stephen Peer's mother is Mary, and Mary Newton's mother is Sarah.

The problem that is hard to work around is when the mother's maiden names are given - which mom goes with the bride and which with the groom? The only way then is to check census records and hope you can find the parents.

This is a serious flaw that Ancestry.com has managed to introduce in the database search results. The data has been indexed correctly but the search results fields are not being pulled into the results as they should be.

Please be cautious using this database until it is corrected!

2 comments:

Carol said...

I also discovered this last week, I posted about it, with images.
http://www.reflectionsfromthefence.com/2010/03/freakin-friday.html

Brenda said...

Hmmmm ... what a pain this new glitch is! Did you submit a complaint? Ancestry seems to be working quite hard now to correct errors. They even monitor the APG-L to have a PR presence and be timely in fixing such things.