Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanks Ancestry! Spelling Doesn't Count Remix

Lest you think I HATE, let me assure you that I don't HATE them. No, it is more of a love/hate relationship. After all, if it weren't for Ancestry, I would have days when I wouldn't know what to blog about.

Let me put it this way. I spent the better part of last evening looking for Ruth Kirtley and her parents on the 1930 census. Ruth was born in 1927 and was a native of Horse Cave, Kentucky according to her 2007 obituary. So why can't I find them on the 1930 census?

The answer is simply this: The trained monkeys could not read Kirtley or even Kertley on the census and instead they read Keatley. Well, you can't do a soundex search for Kirtley and get Keatley. So I resorted to what I used to do before Ancestry and decided to search Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky in a line-by-line search of the index, looking for William and something that looks like Kirtley. What I found was William O Keatley, wife Louise and daughters Ann & Ruth. I looked at the census. It actually looked more like William P Kertley than Keatley. Kertley at least would have been found on a soundex search. Sigh.

Now to apply that principle to a death record search.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I am very glad to hear that you are doing exactly what I have been doing searching for an elusive ancestor. I thought I was the only one with this arduous task.

    I am searching all of Armstrong County PA in the 1880 census looking for Olive Bowser. I have her parents Jacob and Mary names, but can not find the family.

    I did find one Olive Bowser, born the same year (1874) as MY Olive, but the other Olive died in 1885. And my Olive died in 1923. It is like she just appeared married in 1891.

  2. If I can't find under a last name, I start looking under first names.

  3. Claudia, beware of the First name middle name switch. I have come across so many people that flip between their first and middle names on the census.

  4. The first/middle name switch has been a favored thing in my family.

    But you couldn't even have found your Kirtley's using my substitute-an-asterisk-for-every-vowel trick...

    That was how I found my g-g-ggranddad Callaway...the record was spelled Colloway.