Gene Notes

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indexing and Spelling Doesn't Count, Etc.

As I sit here working on census, trying to find William A McIntosh on the 1880 census, I am reminded of my friend Mrs Curtin who was the librarian at my kids' elementary school. At that time they called the library, the instructional materials center. I think they took political correctness a little too far with that one. At any rate, when we were discussing Mac and Mc when filing cards in the old card file, we discussed how they actually meant the same, but that Mac was before Mc and that consistency was extremely important in filing.

So I sit here and wonder what the heck Ancestry is thinking of when they show Mac Intosh, MacIntosh, Mc Intosh, McIntosh. And you will find that with all of their Macs or Mcs. It makes me crazy. First of all, if you use a wild card search, it doesn't work with a space. Or say you want to find all MacIntyres/Mac Intyres or McIntyres/Mc Intyres in Huron county, Michigan - you not only have to watch for misspellings such as McIntire, you have to watch for that danged space.

Consistency is so important when working with records. You have to document the actual name changes, the misspellings, the way you do your sources. Can't indexers do the same thing?

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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