Casefile Clues

26 September 2012

Does Ancestry.com Know Where Bowen, Illinois, Is?

Sometimes I really wonder about Ancestry.com.

They've categorized this yearbook, the "Bowenite" as being in Bowen, Illinois.

When I saw the reference on Ancestry.com, I wondered if they had the right place. When I saw this picture of the high school, I knew they they did not. Bowen, Illinois' high school never looked like the image in the picture above (on page 5 of the 1936 "Bowenite" from Ancestry.com) and the school is clearly labeled the "Bowen Branch Formerly South Chicago High School." Bowen, Illinois is quite a ways from South Chicago.

Sometimes one really has to wonder if the folks at Ancestry.com get geography--or else they just assume all of Illinois is Chicago. 

Bowen, Illinois, did have a high school for a time. My great-aunt attended her last year of high school there--probably in the mid to late 1930s.

Lesson: take those geographic classifications at Ancestry.com with a grain of salt.