Monday, July 16, 2012

Comparing 1940 Census Transcriptions

So...dear Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted a comparison of some California record transcriptions on his blog this morning (see and its sequel).

Using his methodology, I ran a comparison of QUIGG listings in the state of Washington as indexed by Ancestry and FamilySearch. Ancestry brought up 28 listings when I requested an exact match on "Quigg" and "Washington State." Unfortunately, two of those listings were for people residing in Los Angeles, CA. FamilySearch came up with 28 results also, but they weren't the same ones.

Comparing just Name, birth year and birth place, 17 of the listings were identical.
Ancestry included one family (3 people)--correctly--that FamilySearch did not. I don't know how FamilySearch indexed the surname.
FamilySearch included 2 households (4 people)--correctly--that Ancestry did not. Ancestry indexed the household of 3 people as "Tuigg" and the other individual as "Luigg."
The other 7 differences were as follows:
     Perry Quigg's birthplace listed by Ancestry as "Wisconsin" instead of "Missouri"; FS correct
     James T Quigg listed as "Junior" by Ancestry; "Jr" doesn't show in FS index, but does when you pull up the full transcription.
     Birthplaces for James T Quigg's 3 siblings not given at Ancestry; listed as "Washington" by FS [enumerator entered a long dash; Washington is correct]
     Thomas Quigg's birth year given as 1899 on Ancestry; FS reports as 1896; FS correct.
     Alexina Quigg's birthplace given as "Canada French" on Ancestry; FS reports as "Canada"; Ancestry is correct.

So.....where does that leave us? Each vendor "missed" some Quiggs: Ancestry missed 4 Quigg individuals and FamilySearch missed 3.....that we know of. There certainly could be more that both missed. All but one of the content mis-matches favored FamilySearch's index; the one that didn't was because FamilySearch only indexed the country, not the language spoken. Based on this comparison, FamilySearch's index appears to be more accurate than Ancestry's.


1 comment:

  1. I saw this same post, and have often observed that it's worth the time to search several different sources for the same thing - I often find things on familysearch that I don't find on ancestry, and vice versa. I find this is especially true of the newspaper databases - I get different results on newspaperarchive at the library than I do when searching it on ancestry.