19 April 2012

Is Ancestry.com Merging Families in Princeton Township, White County, Indiana?

This the "record" that Ancestry.com pulls up for William S Newman in the Census for White County, Indiana. Based upon this entry, it appears that William and his family are enumerated in the same household as David Whight and his family. Is Ancestry.com "merging" families together? 

However, when I view the 1860 census image, that's not what I see. William Newman's entry and several of his apparent neighbors are shown in this image:

I don't see David Whight on this page--certainly not in the same household as William S. Newman. Just what is going on? Is it time time to send an email to Ancestry.com?

Not quite. David Whight is in the 1860 Census for Indiana--Princeton Township, same as William S. Newman. In fact, here is the image:

William S. Newman is on census page 46.
David Whight is on page 32.

So what gives?

A closer look at their entries explains why Ancestry.com appears to be "messed up." David's entry is shown below:

David Whight appears in household 345 and family 347.
William's entry is shown below:
William Newman appears in household 345 and family 347.
It is the numbering that is mixed up...not Ancestry.com.

I haven't taken time to see where the numbers got off. Now that I've figured it out, I'm not so concerned about that. I've got other problems to work on.

Just don't assume Ancestry.com (or whomever made the index) is always in the wrong--sometimes census takers get it wrong as well. It's not often that the numbers are off they way they apparently are in Princeton Township.

This also is a great example of why citation is so important. We'll have an update with the citations after I get the next issue of Casefile Clues off to the proofreader. I've got to get some work done.
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