Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who's #29,849? The Least "Popular" Ancestry.com Databases?

While wandering around Ancestry.com on Tuesday, I saw the list of "databases by Popularity" in the Ancestry.com Card Catalog. I wondered what were the "least popular." After a period of moving page by page (believe me, I tried every trick I could think of - at least I was able to go 10 pages at a time) to the last screen of the "Most Popular" databases, I came across the page with numbers 29,826 to 29,849. Here is the bottom of that page:

The "least popular" database, at least according to the "by popularity" list, is "Newport illustrated: in a series of pen & pencil sketches."

The Ancestry database has no description of this work. The Ancestry.com source citation says:

"Ancestry.com. Newport illustrated : in a series of pen & pencil sketches [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
Original data: Mason, George C.. Newport illustrated : in a series of pen & pencil sketches. New York: D. Appleton & Co., c1854."

Here is the database page for this database:

It looks interesting, doesn't it? The book has many chapters with descriptive titles. Here is the page image for Chapter V:

Why is this book at the bottom of the "by popularity" list? My guess is that very few researchers know that it is in Ancestry.com's database offerings. It has only 116 "records" according to Ancestry's database list, so not too many researchers find it when doing a name search. How many researchers use the Card Catalog to find books about localities, such as this work? Not many, I'm guessing.

The good news is that, with this post and anybody else that checked it out after reading this blog post, that it won't be at the bottom of the list in the near future. But it will still be unread by almost every researcher that uses Ancestry.com!

The next one up from the bottom on the list is #29,848 - "The Bottskill Baptist Church."

The Ancestry.com citation for this book is:

"Ancestry.com. The Bottskill Baptist Church [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.
Original data: Wade, Stuart C.. The Bottskill Baptist Church : Greenwich, Washington Co., N.Y. : copy of all tombstone inscriptions existing in 1901. unknown, 1989."

My guess is that there are hundreds of genealogy researchers that would love to have a look at this book, but they don't know that it is available on Ancestry.com. Now when they do a Google search, they may find this post and know that it is available.

There are 118 pages in this book on Ancestry.com (and I don't think that the book is complete...). There must be many more names than the 116 records noted in the list of "by popularity." Hmmm, perhaps the 116 is then umber of pages and this database, this book, is not name indexed at all.

So the lessons learned here, for me, are:

* Ancestry.com apparently has many (hundreds, thousands?) "databases" that are not indexed by every name, and nobody knows about them because of the lack of a name index for them.
* The Ancestry.com Card Catalog is your friend - you may find some genealogy jewels hiding in the card catalog.


Lori H said...

Very interesting, Randy! I would not have thought to do this at all!

Harold Henderson said...

Awesome post, Randy -- thank you!