Posted by on December 14, 2009 in Content

Hello… My name is Eric Horne and I’ve just joined the U.S. Content team as the Product Manager.  It seems only proper to introduce myself as I’ll continue to update you on the world of United States content here at  I’ve been with since 2004; I began my career here in our Member Services department, where I worked directly with you, the customer, I later transitioned to the Document Preservation group where I scheduled our worldwide digitization process and am now excited about this new challenge with content.

I’m fortunate to come into this position at this time.  We just finished up our annual content survey where tens of thousands of you took the time to give us feedback to help us shape our 2010 road-map.  Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share a few of the facts and lessons we learned then discuss how this information is going to equate to the content we deliver to the site.

A smart question to ask, when polling our customers, is what type of content do you want (I know, we’re geniuses)… here’s your top three requests:

  1. Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  2. U.S. Federal Census (no big surprise here)
  3. Immigration and Naturalization Records

In this post we’ll start with census – something we’ve recently blogged about.  We knew you were going to ask for the census, so we preemptively queued up some major census projects for 2009-2010.  As you know, we recently released our full U.S. Federal Census improvement project.  This includes new, enhanced images for the U.S. Federal Census from 1790 through 1870 and improved indexes for 1850 through 1870.  We’re also working on 1910, 1920 and 1930.  This is a major milestone for U.S. Federal Census – we have improved the quality of over 200 million records that will shine new light on previously difficult to read images.


In addition to the Population schedules of the U.S. Federal Census, you asked for other State Census and Non-Population schedules all of which we’ll be releasing in the coming months.  These include:

  • Dependent, Defective and Delinquent Schedules – This collection includes details about people classified as insane, idiots, deaf-mutes, blind, homeless children, inhabitants in prison, and pauper and indigent.
  • Non-Population Census Schedules, 1850-1880 – These records focus on agriculture, industry and manufacturing, and social statistics; they can yield valuable insights into your ancestors’ economic and social activities.
  • State and Territory Census Records – State censuses were taken at the midpoint between federal census years—in 1885, for example—and are useful for tracing your family’s migration patterns.

If you haven’t already, take some to check out the new censuses – I’ll post soon to let you know the rest of our content survey results.


Nancy L. Morris 

One of the things I would most like to see is newspapers from some of the Major cities/metropolitan areas such as Detroit and Chicago. My take on why these have been missing for so long is that the papers either won’t share, or charge for the privilege. Is there some other reason I haven’t considered? Michigan is a wasteland as far as newspapers are concerned. Ohio, on the other hand, is well provided for. Does the State have something to do with what you can provide?

December 14, 2009 at 10:53 am

Please don’t forget your northern neighbors the Canadians especially starting with Ontario on west to the pacific. It is quite hard to find any birth marriage and death information in those provinces. I know that the information is there we just don’t know how to access it. Quebec is a dream come true with the Drouin files.

Census are ridiculously long in coming because of our government restrictions which I understand is not any fault of yours.

I really appreciate what we have. It really makes genealogy a breeze compared to what it was even 10 years ago.

December 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm

You are kidding, right?

“A smart question to ask, when polling our customers, is what type of content do you want?”

How about fixing all the content that currently has problems. Your predecessors probably left an inches thick files on those. Or, maybe not!!!

Can I at least get an answer to a question about the 1900 US census ED list that Chris Lydiksen promised and promised again and again was being worked on.

See the gory details at #4 in the blog entitled “Enhanced U.S. Census Collection,” December 10, 2009.

December 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm
Brent Wilson 

Speaking of censuses, how about digitizing the 1890 Manhattan Police Census?

Also what has kept you from putting up WWII draft cards from the states that are still missing for so long?

December 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Hello Eric. You said, “…we have improved the quality of over 200 million records…”

I fear this is all we’re going to hear on this subject and that no one is going to acknowledge, let alone fix, images that have NOT be improved but, in fact, have been made worse.

You can read some details about this in the response by Michael L. Hébert to Heather Erickson’s previous blog on this subject as well as his post on the Ancestry Site Comments message board.

Some official Ancestry representative should at least respond to these concerns and assure us that if certain indiviual census images have been made worse rather than better, that they will be restored to the previous version.

I have been ‘attaching’ censuses for 3 years now but have not printed them all out yet. I will be a very unhappy customer if I no longer have access to images that were once readable but are no longer so!

Thank you for listening to these concerns and I would appreciate a response to either me or Michael L. Hébert.


December 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm
Mimi Lawrence 

Please don’t forget Puerto Rico, part of the United States. We need the 1900 Census and I will be willing to key in information to have it done faster.

December 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Eric, it’s nice to hear that there is some systematic consideration of what to add.

I do wish would focus more on the first 200 years of US history rather than the most recent 125 years or so.

The Manufacturing schedules for 1820-1840 are much more historically interesting than those for 1850-1880, and the 1900 Agricultural schedules are keyed by number to households. I don’t know why you are concentrating on 1850-1880.

A follow-up to get the rest of the Mortality Schedule *images* for 1850-1880 would be really useful.

Guess we will have to wait for LDS to get well along in digitizing its microfilms, to get tax assessment rolls, land and court records (actual records, not error-riddled books with abstracts, and’s ridiculously flawed contractors’ extracts) for historic periods, rather than late 19th and 20th century material. That will be wonderful!

The 1870 enumeration for Dover Town, Piscataquis Co, ME is now completely unreadable, thanks to the ‘enhancement’ 🙁

December 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm
Don Wurdemann 

Dear Sir:
Would you please have the US Government relinquish their hold on the PANAMA CANAL Censuses ! This is crucial since the Invasion of Panama caused the Panamanians to revolt and ravage the gravesites. My Great Grandfather’s being one of them.
I have found out more recently by going to Churches for information rather than Ancestry. In other words my family tree holds more than

December 15, 2009 at 11:36 am
william shipmaN 


December 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm
George Beddoe 

Why cannot I print the Family Group Sheet view?

December 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My library just got rid of the ProQuest historical obituary database. You have the exact same titles in your historical newspaper collection. I just did a random sample of names. The majority of the names that I did find previously on ProQuest I could NOT find in your database. Some were listed in the Chicago Tribune obituary index, but the image was not in the newspaper collection.

Why is this?

e ProQuest database. Specifically, I have 250+ names I found in Chicago Tribune historical collection, and

December 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

Since you are the new manager for US content, maybe you can tell me why the so-called new enhanced images are so awful now. The ones that used to be clear are not nearly unreadable. has much, much better images and these were done by Heritagequest some time ago. Perhaps you can explain that here. I can send an image to your e mail if you wish. I just saved one that I can barely read. So much for enhanced images. And while we are on the subject of US content, can we perhaps get some US content instead of all the German and French OLD books. We have had a steady diet of that for many months now.

December 15, 2009 at 11:48 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

Change that line to The ones that used to be clear are quite illegible now.

December 15, 2009 at 11:49 pm
Maureen Teachman 

I agree with the comments about readability. I also think Ancestry is wise to allow us to correct transcription errors. Has anyone else noticed that some of the censuses provide you with a typed ‘record’ listing the household members. I think the membership should be told that the accuracy of the ‘household members’ being listed is quite poor. Just last week I found at least 10 different listings under the name OBrien that under Household members only listed one person. I for one had thought it to be accurate and until I became aware of this error by Ancestry I took the information to mean that there was no other member of the household. That is until I was looking for Ann OBrien age 1 to 2 years old. Obviously this person did not live alone without any household members. But it wasn’t just this name listed as the sole household member. It was many others. I did submit many of them to Ancestry even if they weren’t the people I was looking to find.

Please have someone review those records. They are very helpful but only if they are accurate. I do realize that you only have so much space for the Household members but if you are correcting the information, it would also help to have an indicatation if this is a boarding house/orphanage/almshouse/hospital/jail or some other place with unrelated individuals. Perhaps after listing the 10 or so household members you might indicate that there are X number more members but that there wasn’t room to list them all. You could say for instance “Additional 12 household members on census” Or something like that.
Since you allow us to send corrections you should also have a form with an option of ‘other’ for data for which there is no specific selection such as when one finds an error in ‘race’. In addition sometimes the type of error is not exactly one of the options provided. Again, give us the freedom to help you make these records as accurate as possible.
Some censuses do not provide the typed information which I refer to as a ‘record’ for the census? Why?
I think one of the major problems is that on many pages there is no easy way to email your company with problems we might find on the site or with the information.
For instance I have started several My Ancestry family trees on line. When one is trying to compare several trees provided in hints, my own box of information used to go down as I scrolled the information provided by other people’s data or the information provided by Ancestry. Now it stays up top on the right and I keep having to scroll back up to double check the data compared to the information I am considering adding from the hints provided. What’s up with that.
Another problem is the My Ancestry tree’s doesn’t have even some basic features found in the Family Tree Maker from 4 or 5 years ago! In “My Trees” if we are adding the same data to a person a second time we are not warned that it is already listed there. We are not informed if we are adding the same person a second time.
For example if I have Martin OBrien with say two censuses attached and I have him listed a second time accidently when someone else’s information was being assimilated into my database and that listing has him with different information attached the only thing I can do is delete one of them and then go and list the data that was deleted when I deleted the duplicate person…i.e., I have to find those directly listings again and reattach them to the person I chose not to delete.
The only solution I have found is to download the information into a GED and then remove duplicate people by merging them. Comeon certainly your IT people can make the online version have that capability. They should also have the capability of telling us when the date of the person cannot be correct because the mother died earlier than this person was born or the father had already been dead x number of years before the child was born. If you can do that in the software we purchased five years ago, you should be able to do that in the program My Trees on line. If you want us to help each other with accurate information, then we need these features.
That’s all I have time for now but it certainly is not all the problems and shortcomings that this on line program has…Let’s strive for accuracy folks. Please please please

December 16, 2009 at 9:32 am
Maureen Teachman 

As you can see by my former posting I need and would also like the ability to spell check postings but instead there is no review before posting nor is there a spell check built in…i
I apologize for my errors. My fault I know now to write my blog posting in word so I can spell check it and then paste it here. What a pain that will be.

December 16, 2009 at 9:39 am
Andy Hatchett 

Maureen Re: #15

Doncha u worry nun about ur speln. This is a gnu day and the net aint really into fancy talk noway.


December 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Maureen Re: # 14

The member Trees is not now, not was it ever intended to be a genealogy program. It is merely a display application-nothing more.

As such it will never have the features a full stand alone program will have.

To begin with, Ancestry isn’t about to develop it to the point that it can compete with their Family Tree Maker. FTM is their cash cow and they are not about to endanger it in any way.

December 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Luckily for this obsessive compulsive person, when I type into this comment section, somewhere, somehow, my words are “spell-checked”!

December 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I have also started several My Ancestry family trees on line and when I am trying to compare several trees provided in hints, my own box of information used to go down when I scrolled the information provided by other people’s data or the information provided by Ancestry. Now it stays up top on the right and I keep having to scroll back up to double check the data compared to the information I am considering adding from the hints provided.

They have many mistakes that they do not correct in the US Membership. I have even been telling them about some for over 3 years. I also think that they also just have a lot of indexes which do not give you any information but a name & a date which just tells you what you have all ready entered in the information field. An example of this is a marriage index you have the name & location but you can’t tell if it is the correct person because they don’t tell you who the spouse is, or a name with a date of birth but you can’t tell if it is the correct person because they don’t have the parents listed. I would be a fool to pay money to send for a vital record without knowing if it where the correct person. I would have to keep sending and spending until I hit the correct one. I actually would like you to put the records online not just index after index.

When Ancestry announced that they had added Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s – Over 100,000 records were added to the database. I wrote on the Ancestry blog that I had been asking to fix the ones they have for 3 years I pay so I can see the right images. We are helping you out buy letting you know when something is wrong, but you don’t fix them.

In this particular Passenger and Immigration List the rows go down the left side of the page & the columns go across the top. They skip the first page so the names & about 16 columns are missing. You only have the second page.
All of the pages in this database are wrong. I have been to other Passenger and Immigrations databases on Ancestry and they have two pages correctly entered.
I have requested Ancestry to fix these several times. I think I have waited (3 years) long enough (& hundreds of dollars).
My most recent posted blog on Ancestry about this problem was with Chris Lydiksen in August she said she was forwarding this issue to the appropriate person I am still waiting. I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath. This is just one of many wrong images I have found. I have only reported one because I didn’t want to burden you with to many at once. I guess I was right you can’t even help me with just one. Chris Lydiksen asked me to post the link to my problem so I will give it to you so you don’t have to ask again.

December 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm
Maureen Teachman 

I did follow your link…no first page…which means no names. Wow what a waste of hard drive space.

December 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

#9 William Shipman.. to help you learn how to “transfer pictures from your picture folder to your ancestry trees”…. check out the blog – Saving Records and Images
Posted by Laura Dansbury December 11, 2009

Are you wanting to transfer them to ancestry trees on your ftm program that is on your computer or are you talking about ancestry trees online?

I don’t have any experience about the online trees, but my 2cents about transfering pictures from folders to the ftm 2010 software is posted as #12 on Laura’s article… it was a great learning curve for me.

try this link and see if it takes you to Laura’s blog article [I hope it works and I hope it helps you]

December 17, 2009 at 2:04 am
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

#19 & #20 about the missing 1st. page ….

maybe the page doesn’t exist.

maybe only page two ever survived. can’t fix what doesn’t exist.

When I went to an archive building/courthouse I discovered that not all documents survive.

as for the page two you are talking about, it is not a total waste of ‘hard drive space’ as you think.

Look at column #19… there is some valuable information there of names and addresses that you can catalogue in some manner if you want for those rare but awesome ‘Bingos’

Possibly one day it will ‘click’ and you’ll be able to fit another piece of the puzzle together.

It’s all in the way information can be perceived.

Example on this document… Column 19; line 2

1.) We know that “Father Liu Fook” had not just a friend of the family or a common stranger immigrating… it was “A” family member as evidence by the wording of “Father”

2.) we know that so called missing named “family member” immigrated from China Suswui area.

another example:
Line #1 of a different person shows in column #18 that “said person” has been in United States before on Oct 18, 1922.

this is all part of the sleuthing game of genealogy. Ya just have to figure out a method of cataloging half missing information of names and areas that you DO recognize until the time comes that you get your bingo and than at that point you can make sense of even the slightest clue.

See, it’s like the people who index census records. It’s the same thing. Haven’t you ever found a name that you just totally could see the proper spelling of and were just blown away with how someone else thought that name to be spelled? The journey of deciphering handwriting has the same challenge as deciphering missing information. Maybe the georgraphical location of the area on that document that recognize has ‘cetain’ common neighborhoods/families/ whatever. Try doing a seperate narrow search about the area of “China Suswui” [for example sakes only] by writing to what ever their local municipality is.

anywho just my 2cents on another way to approach the sleuthing game. It’s better to try that than just assume that the remaining surviving half of document is a total waste… if that be the case. Good Luck 😉

December 17, 2009 at 2:42 am
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

I certainly needed a good laugh tonite and found it when I read his post #16 …thanks Andy 😉

ABSOLUTELY YES! I agree with Maureen on how Ancestry is WISE to allow us to submit transcription error corrections….

Just tonite I found one for Zoel Spenard. His wife’s name is Laura (Fortier). The index had her listed as ‘Tora’, because the census taker wrote it only as Lora and the letter “L” was mangled with his handwriting from the entry above it.

Last week while searching for my ‘Quick’ family memebers I found in the PA census the entire family is listed as Turck or something like. I forget off top of my brain.

Today was the first day I realized that we could submit transcription corrections along with our source of evidence. woohoo! I’m a happy puppie!

I guess that’s what the tagline “Hindsight is twenty twenty” or what ever. Even though a name’s spelling is totally clear to us I suspect it is because we know what we are looking for… it is a hugh challenge to whomever is doing the indexing transcriptions. Try looking at some names that are totally foreign to your research and try to decipher the writing. w-o-w.

I bet those census takers are rolling over in their graves listening to us carry on about their handwriting! If only they knew we really do appreciate the hard work they had to put up with in doing their job. Can you imagine… walking alone and maybe even well into the wee hours of dusk or dawn in some of those backwood hollers, or poverty poor ghettos or what about during the depression era and having already missed dinner or breakfast yourself. Maybe the thunderstorm has you spooked and you take a sip of old Jack Daniels to get your courage up as you have to go up to total stangers of which whom many could not even speak outside of their own native tongue only to try deciphering what they were yelling at you as they pointed their rifle at you and all the while ole yeller is growling, barking and chasing you back up the lane. Expect now a-days a census taker has to worry about walking up to someone’s house or garage who has a meth lab cooking or walking into the middle of a gangbangers war. Could you imagine being in Mexico and the first neighborhood you have to tackle is a gang of MS13 or whatever those brats are. Who wants to volunteer in Texas to be census taker along the US border? Anybody up for possibly gettng kidnapped just because it’s more profitable to criminals to collect ransom than to try getting past todays Border Patrols?

I have been seeing many ads in newspaper and other places this year and last year of the Government hiring census takers. I really want to try my hand it. My husband on the other hand isn’t thrill about it. The above story was one evenings entertainment for me after I told dear hubby that I was thinking about applying to be a census taker 😉 And to top it off couldn’t ya just see me in that situation except I’d be rolling back out of the driveway in my electric wheelchair at only 7 mph! LOL

Sweetie, I mean no offense here, but I will tell I also chuckled when you wrote “Please have someone review those records. They are very helpful but only if they are accurate.”

They do have someone reviewing those records. It is us! And truth be told in ten years or so when they have collected all our corrected submissions I’m sure the software they plan on selling will make for instant gratification on family seekers! But for now, myself, I am enjoying the sleuth of the game. Compare to my cousin David’s hard work and the logs of my dear sweet aunt Iva, recently passed.. all her twenty some years research done ‘old school’ ya know before computers even existed…. well I’m having so much fun matching their info up with these instant records that I have access to. With no library in my town which is surround by miles and miles of cornfields and is at least two to three hour walking distance in good weather from any type of civilization I’m having a blast with census records!

You wrote: “Obviously this person did not live alone without any household members.” I’m wondering if maybe your person was living in an orphanage? That could explain why no other names correlated with that child if I read your post correctly.

If Orphanage be the case than maybe hasn’t had the ability to know the extra insight to that. Sometimes certain portions of information are just out of their realm. That what I figure falls into the category of “sleuthing” for us.
I’m sure a decade down the road, Genealogy agencies like Ancestry and etc. will have all types of informatin correlated to each other.. I say a decade because even though computers have been here since I finished school and own children have started school, in reality, all this new breakthrough software digitzation capabilities is really still in it’s infancy. Sorta like how we all used to record our tv movies just yesterday onto vcr’s and now a person can hardly even find a combo DVD/VCR recorder to swap em over to DVD. And now you can watch Crocodile Hunter being killed by a sting ray on ‘Blue Ray’.

Hang in there fellow researchers! Your thoughts/experences are very helpful to us all! Gets me to thinking about how things work 😉

December 17, 2009 at 4:06 am
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

oops… I should note* I was only joking about the play on words regarding the ‘sting ray on Blue Ray’. Please forgive. I made that part up. I’m sure his death is not out there for public eyes. That would be horrible. My apologies if any family member who might ever read that be offended. I so miss the crodile hunter! I Love Him, and his wife and little Bindy the Jungle Girl!

December 17, 2009 at 4:16 am
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

oops again… my bad. after rereading I see that you already had thought of that idea that the Household may have been a “boarding house/orphanage/almshouse/hospital/jail or some other place with unrelated individuals.”

…and that your request pertained to receiving a ‘category’ of how numerous household members were listed on the index….

interesting… yes, many families have relatives who lived in such situations… I remember one particular census that I kept staring at only to finally realize that particular portion of the census was solely dedicated to prison inmates… that was a california census… and that was like five years ago when I first happened upon it. Back than an index didn’t even exist at the site I was at which I think was local government link to that census.

Railroad workers also are a hugh part of census listings. I am now wondering if.. about railroad workers who are married… and if they happen to be listed as residing at particualr boarding house as a paying renter in an area …
does that mean they can be listed twice ? …

because I have found some double names that I’m sure where the same man. ahh, I bet that could be the case… he is listed in one household as head of his family and also listed as a boarder in another household due to his employment…

does anyone know of any sites where this describe how census and the rules that apply to them…

December 17, 2009 at 4:58 am
Donna Bray 

I look at every day. Unfortunately the most “addiditons” are foreign data bases. When will we have better US state information; country history books, etc.

I am looking for people in Iowa, Missouri,Kansas, Nebrasks,Ohio, etc.

Not in Germany

December 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

#20 Then how did they associate the first name (my fathers) of the passenger on the document if there was no first page? Yes I agree that the 2nd page is valuable but they did get the info from the first page.

December 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Sorry I mentioned the wrong # post it was suppose to be #22 Written by:
Andrea Nelson of Illinois

December 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

…#28 Carol,

well, it could be one of a couple of reasons…

There are three seperate and individual docuements associated with the immigration process.

-The Declaration of Intention,
-The Petition for Naturalization, and
-The Certificate of Naturalization.

I’m still learning myself bout this fascination subject. I’m not sure if all three types of these records are kept together as a batch in one location at the federal level or not.

I have seen on one occasion that individual counties keep at least one of these record types as McLean County in Illinois at one time had them online at their own local municipality web address. [Now since McLean revamped their site I always have a hard time finding my way back to the original link.]

So just in knowing that I could find a record associated with at least one step of the immigration process but not the other two types of records clues me in that somehow the records from all three stages must be linked together somehow.. even if all three documents are not kept together.

It would be nice if we could examine a bit more descripton of ancestry’s source so we could determine how they obtain their indexes.

Another example of records missing is just to keep in mind is that in St. Louis, Missouri where they keep military records… I was extremely lucky there because my fatheres WWII papers where on the same shelf where a fire had ravaged all other documents. Usually it sucks when your last name always ends up at teh end of a list… but this was one time that it paid for our last name to begin with the letter “W” LOL.
Sadly, the lady at the desk told that a hugh portion of the alphabet had been damaged or lost… and that was back round year 1991 when I retrieved my father’s papers. So somehow they have been able to resurrect information as we now all enjoy WWII draft registrations online…

just food for thought. I hope this helps.

here is a good site to help learn from about immigration records

December 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

#28 Carol…

I forgot my main point…

we don’t exactly what info has access to… that’s where my train of thought was going when I mentioned it would be nice if there were more description in Ancestry’s sources.

This has taught me to try make better notations in my own source keeping to help explain my research logic to my future descendants who oneday will be critic’ing my own work. 😉

December 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Comment Number:
#29 &#30 Andrea Nelson of Illinois
California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957 The description of the database is an index to passengers. You cannot have an index without the names. So obviously they had the first pages with the names but did not scan them. I know that there are indexes with other pages, but the first page is the most important. Thank you for your input but you are getting more confusing, this has nothing to do with naturalization. So this does not answer my question. Do you work for Ancestry? I really appreciate your trying to help. I wish ancestry was more attentive, I am paying ancestry for there input. But I heard from many other blogs that they just ignore you. I didn’t believe them but I now think it is true.

December 17, 2009 at 3:34 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Carrol Re: # 31

I think you are somewhat confused as to Ancestry’s role in your research.
What you are paying for is access to their online databases.

Ancestry doesn’t, to the best of mu knowledgge, undertake any actual genealogical research.

Ancestry may not even have created the index. It may have been provided by whoever Ancestry got the database from and thus Ancestry would only have put online whatever was originally provided.

December 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Katherine Davis 

Is there any way the sort the 1900 census by searching name, State born in, and then Month and year?

December 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

The biggest thing that frustrates me is when ancestry shows a database “updated” but does not show us what part has been updated. If you are anxiously waiting for a section of a database to appear, and when you go to “new databases” which I check almost daily, it says a database has been updated, and when you click on it, it does not show what new records have been added. Please consider letting us know what new content has been added.

December 18, 2009 at 6:07 am
Carol A. H. 

The only thing I can think of for getting your spelling, grammar and word usage correct is to write you comment in a word processor, then copy and paste. Works well if you know the difference between many English words that sound the same but are not spelled the same or mean the same thing. Like: too, to, two, as a simple example. For long posts this would help. Most of us can understand the shorts posts. And you do have to read your posts before you send them.

I like Andy’s comment # 16.

December 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I find that the Social Security Death Records do not provide a lot of information. The Social Security Death Records give name, date of death and SSN. Unless you know your deceased family member’s social security number, it’s hard to determine if an individual is an ancestor.

It will become an increasingly difficult task to identify ancestors born and deceased after 1930.

The older death certificates uploaded are extremely helpful, because they provide the deceased’s parents name, spouse (if applicable) and the name of the informant. They are great for providing clues.

Can ancestry provide other state records that would give more information?

December 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm
Andy Hatchett 

I find the SSDi very helpful as it also provides birth dates and last recorded residence the SSA had on file.

It can be a most helpful hint on where to find other family members or an obituary which may have other clues.

As to state records…

States have realized the revenue potential of their records and are reluctant to let an outside firm reduce their cash stream.

December 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm
Andrea Nelson of Illinois 

#31 Carol

Hi Carol, Best of Luck.
nope I don’t work for Ancestry.. I just get on a kick sometimes trying to help 😉 Wish I did though.

yes, I too also think my brain got muddle in that posting. Hope I didn’t make things worse for ya.

Andy #32 post pretty much summed it up rather nicley & simply as to the point I was hoping to guide Carol with.

Have you tried the website- Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

There are a few other sites also in that circle of work with great missions on passenger lists research. Some have internal search engines also.


#36 Cyndi

you wrote: “Can ancestry provide other state records that would give more information?”

did you know that any joe blow person off the street can write & request to the “Freedom of Information Officer” and request “THE” original application of a deceased person’s social security card. Yup, this is true. I have myself sent off for and received a total of six of these documents. I found maiden names; employement data and much more on them.

There is a fee of course for buying the document copies. It was only $8.00 back in early 1990’s when I did this. And it did take months to receive them in the regular US mail.

Try googling “Freedom of Information Officer” I beleive there office is located in state of Maryland.

Hope this tidbit can help you.

December 18, 2009 at 9:51 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Andrea Re; # 38

I think the fee for the SS-5 is now $27.00

December 18, 2009 at 11:02 pm

#32 Andy Hatchett
This is from Genealogy In Time
Talking about IPO (Initial Public Offering)
To keep costs down, Ancestry gets most of their records transcribed in China (humans have to transcribe old handwritten records; there is no software capable of performing this task). These transcribers are non-native English speakers. The biggest complaints we hear about Ancestry (other than having to pay to access their databases) is the quality of the transcribed records.
Ancestry has initiated databases that are populated by users who upload their family histories. These user-generated databases have favourable economics for Ancestry because they do not have to pay people to transcribe records and so are fundamentally cheaper to run.

(And they make money on the Ancestry subscribers because you pay them for the info you put on your family tree)
Where ever they purchase there info from they should look at what they purchase, because they don’t have quality control on what they purchase, I should also be ignorant. If you go to the store and buy a package of socks, and you get home and there is only one in the package you would get a refund, or the other sock. If Ancestry is not going to provide what they say they have I should get some kind of compensation for it. I am only saying this because I feel the that I have patiently waited and tried to work with them but to a avail even after years they do not even respond, or fix the problem.
I do appreciate and have paid for what I have found for my family tree. That is why I have continued to subscribe. It just makes you mad when they keep telling you about the new databases they are acquiring, but do nothing about the incorrect databases they have had for years.

December 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm

#32 Andy Hatchett
This is from Genealogy In Time

Talking about IPO (Initial Public Offering)

To keep costs down, Ancestry gets most of their records transcribed in China (humans have to transcribe old handwritten records; there is no software capable of performing this task). These transcribers are non-native English speakers. The biggest complaints we hear about Ancestry (other than having to pay to access their databases) is the quality of the transcribed records.

Ancestry has initiated databases that are populated by users who upload their family histories. These user-generated databases have favourable economics for Ancestry because they do not have to pay people to transcribe records and so are fundamentally cheaper to run.

(And they make money on the Ancestry subscribers because you pay them for the info you put on your family tree)

Where ever they purchase there info from they should look at what they purchase, because they don’t have quality control on what they purchase, I therefore should also be ignorant.

If you go to the store and buy a package of socks, and you get home and there is only one in the package you would get a refund, or the other sock.

If Ancestry is not going to provide what they say they have I should get some kind of compensation for it. I am only saying this because I feel I have been patient, I have waited year and tried to work with them but to a avail even after years they have not responded, or fixed problem.

I do appreciate and have paid for what I have found for my family tree. That is why I have continued to subscribe. It just makes you mad when they keep telling you about the new databases they are acquiring, but do nothing about the incorrect databases they have had for years.

December 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm
John Taylor 

Great tools! The more you provide, the more we’ll all want. My current desire is a more flexible search of census (and other) records. For example, the 1890 census and several thereafter shows person X, born in MS with father born in AL and mother in MS. I’d like to search for the parents, starting with this: all Taylor males, born in AL, living in MS, married to women born in MS. As it stands, I’m trying this manually.

December 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm
Paul Smith 

The images are now more difficult to read in most cases. Bad move.

December 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

I agree with the comment that I would much rather have more birth, marriage and death records from states than a lot of stuff from foreign countries.

Also I wish I could find a way to show parents of a child, when they were not married. I’ve got several of those in my family tree, but when I try to enter them by putting in the child of one parent and then add the other parent, it automatically lists the mom as having the dad’s last name… NOT APPROPRIATE in some cases.

December 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm
John Atkins 

#23 Andrea Nelson – I DID work for the Census Bureau last spring. We were mapping “Living Units” and updating roads and road names with a specialized GPS. I worked a rural area in NE Alabama, and it was VERY interesting. I met only two or three semi hostile people, but we didn’t have to speak to people – just get close to the house and capture the coordinates.

I did work a Hispanic area of about 450 LUs, and many people did not speak English. However, a local Pastor gave me his business card in case I really needed some help. The kids also helped me communicate with the adults.

It was physically demanding for an older person, but enjoyable. I made a point of stopping by the town halls to let them know I was in the area. I also often wore an orange vest ( to show I wasn’t “skulking” about the neighborhood.)

A smile and friendly attitude went a long way.

Finally – The Census Bureau just might have a job you could do.

December 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Mary Beth Marchant 

So, Mr. Horne, I still do not see any new US Content. Your job must be easy since rarely does any new US content show up. Oh yes, I see so-called updates to US content-don’t know what was updated though since Ancestry never reveals that. Maybe a misplaced comma somewhere? All I see is the never ending mostly German language OLD BOOKS” with a little French and Italian thrown in for good measure. Could we perhaps have some new US content this year including state census records, all the existing Mortality census records and the Agricultural records that are completely lacking from Ancestry. Watch out-Footnote and Familysearch records are gaining on ya! Familysearch has most of the US census images now-soon no one will need Ancestry for census records.

December 25, 2009 at 7:33 am

Welcome to Eric! Now, I hope Eric gets busy making US databases a huge priority for ancestry. I have a subscription to ancestry for one primary reason: primary source research. I need southern United States Records (actual images: death, marriage). It would be nice to see pre 1850 records too! Most of my ancestors arrived on these shores in the 1600 and early 1700’s. I hope ancestry will keep the focus on research and forget about trees, and all this other junk.

December 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm
Andy Hatchett 

Mary Beth Re: # 46
Mar Re: # 47

Added content depends on what Ancestry has access to – and that access is, from what I understand, drying up pretty quickly as more and more states become less and less willing to grant access to their records. The same is true for Footnote and Familysearch; although Familysearch has a *huge* amount that it can produce over time.

What would be interesting is for Ancestry to publish a list of ALL the content that they already have under their wing that has not yet been processed for online display.

That said, I think we must all realize that most genealogical records are now, and will forever remain, in local archives and will never been seen on the net.

At least that way we could see what’s down the road.

I do wish that Ancestry would drop that stupid phrase “census substitute” from their vocabulary. The things that they are claiming as census substitutes simply aren’t!

Most don’t show dates and places of births and family relationships which is, of course, the meat of almost any census you can name.

My report card for Ancestry for 2009:

Although they recently have shown signs of significant improvement, there is still a vast gap in the expectations they generate in their advertising and the actual results they deliver.

Let us hope 2010 is much better.

December 25, 2009 at 9:46 pm
Jan O'Leary 

A appreciate all of the additional sources and the improvements to existing sources that are planned and that have been implemented. That having been said, I’d like to point out that there could be an expansion of the functionality within individual databases that could be very useful. For example, I think it would be very helpful if there were a way to search for all individuals within my family tree who lived in a specific geographic location. Likewise, being able to look at all individuals who lived during a certain timeframe would sometimes be helpful–and being able to combine the two–to see which people, whether directly related or not, lived in a certain place during a certain time period would be awesome. Any plans for something like that?

December 27, 2009 at 11:42 am
Andy Hatchett 

Jan Re: # 49

Ancestry can’t even give us search results that are sortable by column so I find it highly unlikely that you will ever see such a CPU/server intensive feature as you are describing.

December 27, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Since this blog has been here for 14 days, it will automatically close to new comments at the end of the day — WITHOUT THE NEW PRODUCT MANAGER FOR U.S. CONTENT MAKING A SINGLE COMMENT — in a blog entry ironically titled “What you Want,’s got it.”

What we want, Mr. Home, is some honest communication from the people who are responsible for the content that is here.

You have joined the long list of ancestry staff who use the blog as a puff piece of PR and when the comments come back, ignore them all.

December 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I think some of today’s genealogy is the lack of doing ones own research, it seems to be in a copy-cat mode! I blame this, in part, on the Ad’s that Ancestry is running in the media. They give the impression that all a person has to do is submit their family name and all their ancestors pop up, just copy it to their Family Tree! Not so ~ Example; one census record has a two year old child in the household of an elderly man and the man’s sister. Despite the fact that their last names are not even the same, the child is listed as the man’s son. (we know this should have been a red flag) This relationship was entered in a Family Tree. Their source is entered as the “census record.” And, it looks like it was copied to other Family Trees. How far will this mistake go? Just a little research shows the child’s rightful parents and siblings are listed on the adjacent page of this census record. My effort to alert the Tree owner of the mistake has, so far, been ignored. And, yes, I did leave a comment for the census record. It really saddens me to see the direction genealogy has taken!!

December 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm