Casefile Clues

20 February 2012

Does Ancestry.com Know Monmouth, Illinois, Exists?

Sometimes it really is not clear where Ancestry.com created or obtained its database of locations. While I'm not surprised that small villages are omitted from the list of locations on the drop-down menu, places the size of Monmouth, Illinois, being left out is somewhat of a surprise.

I wanted to search for my uncle, John R. Neill, in the 1930 census--knowing he lived in Monmouth. The screen shot below is a list of locations that "appear" when I type in "monmou." No Monmouth in Warren County--although there is a reference in Wabash County.


The location is extracted correctly for at least the 1930 census. This image is a screen shot for John's listing in the 1930 census index at Ancestry.com:


Sometimes I wish Ancestry.com worried a little less about cell phone apps, IPAD apps, and "appity-app-app" and a little more about accuracy. Being able to search on locations from the drop down menu is supposed to make research easier.

I CAN restrict my search to Monmouth--but I have to do it as a keyword search. I don't mind this--what is irritating is that for some locations this is needed and some it is not. It is frustrating to have to remember when I need to keyword and when I don't. I'm GLAD I can perform the keyword search, but how many know this?



I understand transcription problems. Problems with locations in the drop-down menu are not transcription problems. And experience tells me that most searchers don't know about these workarounds.