Yesterday, I shared my difficulties locating the Spears, Talbott and Grimes families in Bourbon County, Kentucky using the Ancestry.com search engine for both the 1860 U.S. federal and slave schedule censuses.
All families were eventually located in both census schedules, but none by using the Ancestry.com search engine. Instead the FamilySearch search of its census collections and manual reading page-by-page led to success.
I closed yesterday by stating that this issue is NOT just limited to Bourbon County, Kentucky.
I tried searching just by state for Spears:
That didn’t work any better than the county search. I then tried looking for the Riddle family, thinking that perhaps Bourbon County was the sole county affected.
No Riddles either, even though they were in Cumberland County, Kentucky, among other places.
Next, I tried Kentucky for the 1850 census and again looked for Riddles:
At least two Riddles in Kentucky came up this time and, although one is in Cumberland County, my husband’s ancestor, Isaac Riddle, isn’t here. He had a large family and I have found him in the census there.
Like yesterday, many of these results are for states far away from Kentucky, like New York and Maryland. Why does this keep happening when a specific name, county and state are included in the search criteria?
A bit more bad news – Kentucky isn’t the only state affected, either. Next, I tried 1850 Ohio, looking for any Williams family.
There are Williams families in Massachusetts, Texas, Utah Territory, New York and Wisconsin and Rhode Island, but not one found in Ohio.
Back I went to FamilySearch:
These are just the first few of too many to list Williamses living in Ohio in 1850:
There are plenty of people named Williams living in Ohio in 1850.
Here are the Ancestry.com search results for Smith in Iowa in 1870:
Again, these are just a few of the way too many results to include!
However, the search engine does PARTIALLY work for some states. I tried looking for Adams people in Massachusetts in 1850 on Ancestry.com:
Here at least the first seven results are for people named Adams in Massachusetts. However, I don’t believe for a second that in 1850 there were only these seven Adams households in that state!
My recommendation is to use FamilySearch to locate your family in U.S. census records if they don’t appear in an Ancestry.com search when you believe they should be in the place that you are looking.
My question for Ancestry.com is:
When are you going to address this issue?
Tomorrow, I will share one more problem related to the functioning of the Ancestry.com search engines.