Casefile Clues

29 March 2012

Can't Ancestry.com Realize Hinrich Muller is Henry Miller?

I have a love-hate relationship with the "leaves" on the trees at Ancestry.com. Today it's leading towards a certain end of that spectrum.

Sometimes matches are really difficult to understand and other times they miss things that they really should find. And there are time where the matches are spot on. It's when things don't really work that people get frustrated.

And that's the case with ancestor Henry Miller.

You would think that Ancestry.com would have programmed name variants into the system so that Hinrich Muller would equate to Henry Miller. After all, it is a pretty easy "translation" to make.  Apparently not.

I've got Hinrich Muller in my database with a year of birth of 1799 in Germany and a death of 1880 in Brown County, Illinois. I added him to my online tree this morning with those details, so there's not a chance I rejected potential matches several months ago and did not realize it.

And yet, there's a Henry Miller, born in 1799 in Hannover and died in 1880 in Brown County showing up in the 1880 mortality census on Ancestry.com. This Henry Miller from the mortality schedule did not show up as a "leaf match" for my Hinrich Muller. It would be interesting to know why not.

There are two images with this post. The first are the hints for my Hinrich Muller. The second is the match in the database. (Click on the image to view a larger one).


And here's the record for Henry Miller from the Mortality Schedule.
I could understand the hint not coming up if I didn't have any location for Henry's death. After all, Henry Miller is a fairly common name. But I've the same years of birth and death and the same county of death.

There are apparently three reasons why this match might not be coming up:

  • Ancestry.com doesn't realize Henry is Hinrich.
  • Ancestry.com doesn't realize Muller is Miller.
  • Ancestry.com doesn't realize that Hannover is in Germany. 
(Sarcasm alert-The failure to get this match is frustrating when I do get leaf matches for people in records after they are dead or 110 years after they are born.)

Why can't I get matches that pretty much match what's in my tree?