04 May 2015

Where Is Pepu, Illinois?

I'm looking for Pepu, Illinois, and not having much luck in locating this Illinois town that apparently had a Lutheran church in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Apparently Ancestry.com has already found it.

According to the database "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940 on Ancestry.com, there is a Lutheran church in Pepu, Illinois. 

Curious as to what the name of this town actually was, I browsed the digital copy of the microfilm of the records at the church in Pepu, Illinois--and discovered it was not Pepu after all. 

It was Peru. 

I suppose one can see how the name from the first microfilm image could be read as "Pepu."

But a further reading of the images makes it clear that the intended location was Peru--which is what I suspected all along. 
Until this error is fixed, database searches of  "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940 with "Peru" as the name of the church location will not locate any of these records. It seems a little bit strange to me that locations used in database construction are not compared to lists of known place names, particularly since Ancestry.com incorporates a geographically based search strategies into its search functionality.

All of which reminds researchers to be thinking as they search, not use too many search terms, browse the records and search manually whenever possible--and not rely entirely on indexes to search records.

Note: I have spent hours on the "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940" at Ancestry.com and greatly appreciate the access to these records. However, I've mentioned before my "error philosophy" here on Rootdig.com. 

Informed users are better users.