With all of the emphasis on creating Source Citations in genealogy reports, books, periodicals and record databases, I had hoped that Ancestry.com would be one of the industry leaders when it comes to providing satisfactory and Evidence! Explained quality source citations in their web pages and printouts.
Unfortunately, they are not. Most of the source citations I've seen are of poor quality for genealogists and do not come close to meeting Evidence! Explained standards. For example, here is the 1900 US Census record page for my great-grandfather, Frank W. Seaver:
The census citation below the family list says:
"Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T623_692 Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 1645."
A proper source citation for this entry would be (created by me using an Evidence! Explained template - it's not that hard!):
"1900 U.S. Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Leominster town, Enumeration District 1645, Sheet 16, p. 264 (stamped), Dwelling 258, Family 371,. Frank W. Seaver; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 June 2009), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, Roll 692."
At least the barebones source citation provided by Ancestry.com lists the microfilm publication and roll number, the ED and the page number. That seems, to me, to be the bare minimum information required.
However, for the 1900 US Census, when the user imports the historical record into their family tree database and attaches it to a person, some of the census source details are lost. Here is the citation on the "Source Information" page for this particular source:
It says only: "Year: 1900. Census Place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: ; Page: ; Enumeration district: ."
The name of the person, the microfilm publication, the roll number, the page number and ED number are omitted. This occurs on every web page or printout of this record.
1900 is not the only census database that this happens on. The 1870 US census source record is shown below:
"Year: 1870. Census Place: ; Roll: M593."
No mention of the census place, the person's name, the roll number or the page number in the citation.
I checked the 1850 through 1930 US census data. The 1870 and 1900 censuses are the only two that are missing the details of the barebones, but inadequate, source citation noted near the top of this post.
The information for the census place, person's name, microfilm series and roll number, page number and ED number are available - they are in the barebones citation on the Summary page (like the first screen above) for every census record. The information just needs to be programmed better to include all of the important information in an accepted and standard format.
I hope that Ancestry.com fixes the 1870 and 1900 census problem immediately, and provides acceptable source citations on all of their databases in the near future.