Casefile Clues

12 August 2011

Ancestry.com--SSDI Last Residence is Not Place of Death

I don't often mess around with the online trees at Ancestry.com where you can integrate your tree with Ancestry's databases and what I came across tonight is one of the many reasons why.

I looked at the hints Ancestry.com had for my grandmother. One was her entry in the Social Security Death Index--ok that shouldn't be too hard to mess up and I'll go ahead and link it to Grandma just to go through the process so that I'm aware of how it works.

One little problem. The "Record Hint" indicates that the location with the death date is the place of death (the date of death is "different" because I only had July of 1994 in my database--that date is not the problem).

Grandma died in Carthage, so it really isn't a problem in this case. However, that location from the SSDI is not the death place, it's the last residence as per the SSDI. That may or may not be the place of death. Just to be certain I performed a manual search of the SSDI at Ancestry.com and sure enough, that's what it called it:
I don't see "death place" listed. In fact, what the SSDI really has is the zip code. The online tree merge thing (whatever on earth you call it) should not automatically refer to this location as the death place, it should refer to it as it is--last residence.

I realize these things seem like mere details. But the fact is--they are. And mis-labeling things is what causes inconsistencies where none exist.This isn't a case of difficult to read handwriting. That I'll cut some slack on. This mis-labeling is pretty well cut and dried.

Don't get me wrong-I like Ancestry.com. It is just that sometimes when I see things like this it makes me wonder how many "in the trenches" genealogists they have on staff.