Casefile Clues

13 December 2012

Suggesting a Man Dying in 1848 is Living in 1930

Don't get me wrong, I use  Ancestry.com and I like the ready access to the images and other actual records they have on their site. But there are times when their attempts to help are a little bit much. I've mentioned the leaves before but every so often another "weird" match crosses my path and reminds me of the apparent programming glitches in the match system at  Ancestry.com.

Are the Leaves Jokes?


Sometimes I think Ancestry.com wonders why some of us joke and complain about the "leaves" and suggestions. And sometimes I think they think we're just "sticks in the mud" about it. We are dinosaurs who just do not really "get" genealogy research. And other times I think they just ignore us entirely.

There are reasons we complain about the "leaves." There are reasons that the "leaves" are the butt of jokes.

The screenshot above is why--clear and simple.

Born about 1883 with Children Born in 1839?


My "tree" indicates that my Clark Sargent died about 1848. My tree does not have a date of birth for Clark (although I do have it), but it does have dates of birth for two of his children:

  • Emmar-1839--no approximate date
  • Ira-1843--no approximate date
I realize that I have no date of birth for Clark--but my file indicates that he died in 1848. How does that equate to living in 1930? And how does Clark having children born in 1839 and 1840 work with an approximate year of birth for Clark of 1883? Ancestry.com appears to like estimates of dates and inequality statements. There are estimates and then there are estimates. I only like estimates for which I have some justification.

I realize I'm not a computer programmer, so I don't really understand how these computer searches really work. It's probably some advanced Boolean stuff. However, I did manage to muddle through a master's degree in mathematics and did take a year of biology (the version that biology majors take unfortunately). So I know a little bit about numbers, Boolean logic, and biology. 

I don't see how a man who had children born in 1839 and 1843 and who died in 1848 could be a match for someone born "about 1883" and was living in 1930 in Bristol County, Massachusetts. How much of my information about Clark would have to be wrong for that to be right?

I realize they are trying to help me find more ancestors based on potential "errors" in my tree.

But I'm not certain I need this sort of help.