Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ancestry Quirks - Arkansas Database Content Errors

I received an email from Ben Walker, who commented that the Arkansas Marriages, 1933-1939 database on http://www.ancestry.com/ has a problem with missing images and erroneous page numbers of results.

Ben was looking for McElfresh marriages, and when he input the name in the Search box for the database:

Six results appear - three males and three females:

When you click on one of the males, and then click on the record image, you get page 194 of 488:

This page does not have McElfresh on it. It starts with the MURPEY surname and ends with the MURPHY surname.

I did a little sleuthing and found that the "M" surname pages on the site include:

* page 1 - starts with MAAS
* page 107 - has MAULDIN as the last name on the page
* page 108 - has MOORE as the first name on the page
* page 213 - has MZRTINA as the last name on the page
* page 214 - has MCGLOTHIN as the first name on the page
* page 275 - has MEIERS as the last name on the page
* pages 276-488 - the "Error Processing Request" message comes up.

Looking at the information above, it's apparent to me that there are pages missing between MAULDIN and MCGLOTHIN and between MEIERS and MOORE. In addition, the pages have been scrambled somehow.

Further testing showed that the indexes are probably correct - for instance, McElfresh is probably on Page 194 IF the page images were complete and in alphabetical order.

I sent a "Report an Image Problem" to Ancestry.com, but it doesn't permit a written comment - I could only choose "unreadable," "wrong" or "missing" image. Frankly, some of them are unreadable, some of them are wrong, and many of them are missing in this database, at least in the "M" pages. I could only choose one, so I chose "Missing image."

This is not an Indexing or Search problem - the problem is the Content - the images are incomplete and out of order. Perhaps the Content people at Ancestry.com will see this blog post and take steps to correct the problems.


tami said...

I've come across a few items like that -- results show up from the search, but when you go to view the image, its a complete mystery what they were thinking! A couple times it hasnt even linked to the right database images.

Ben Walker said...

Thanks for looking at my problem.

Anonymous said...

What is it about Arkansas? Now the Arkansas Marriages 1851-1900 at ancestry seems to be broken. My "exact searches" return everything but what I'm looking for. I can't even get a hit on records that I have previously attached to people in my tree.