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Chris_Baker

Who can find the worst indexing at Ancestry.com?

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Chris_Baker

Given that the National Archives are collaborating with foreign company Ancestry.com to digitise and provide (paid) access to a piece of our nation's heritage in the form of our soldier's records, let's examine for a moment the quality of job being done. Let's look at the indexing: a fairly important piece of this, I am sure you will agree.

I'll start you off with a minor case. It's supposed to be March, Cambridgeshire, as any British person who can read would tell you:

post-1-1195242846.jpg

There are thousands more of these howlers. If it wasn't so serious, I'd laugh. Let's see a few more.

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Patesian

The answer is, I'm afraid, that you have to ignore the "thumbnail" and go straight to the "view document".

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Chris_Baker

I know. No easy task when you are looking for a man with anything but the most uncommon name.

How about this one. Obviously not done by anyone who's ever played Monopoly.

post-1-1195243841.jpg

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George Armstrong Custer

Well, the Ancestry.com homepage for the British Army Service Records does carry this disclaimer from the NA:

The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.

Quite.

On a related issue, what was the duration and scope of any public consultation exercise conducted by the NA before awarding Ancestry.com the contract to act as a profit-making middle man between this nation's archives and those wishing to access them from the nation whose story they record, and whose taxes pay for them? Was it of a similar local scope to the recent questioning of a few visitors to the NA on the proposal to start charging for use of the car park? If so, then perhaps the NA should remember that they are entrusted on our behalf to be custodians of the National archives, and that the views of the nation as a whole on deals such as that with Ancestry.com or the introduction of parking charges ought to be as comprehensively sought as possible.

ciao,

GAC

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Chris_Baker

I imagine there was no public consultation prior to the contract being awarded to Ancestry - but I do not believe that such a consultative process is required of any public sector organisation. They have to abide by the purchasing rules applicable to the public sector. I do wonder, though, what quality assurance, controls and audits are written into the terms. Not a lot, as far as I can see.

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George Armstrong Custer
I imagine there was no public consultation prior to the contract being awarded to Ancestry - but I do not believe that such a consultative process is required of any public sector organisation. They have to abide by the purchasing rules applicable to the public sector.

I feel sure, however, that there are some rules - including some relative to public accountability - governing the right of a public sector organisation to enter into a commercial partnership with a contractor such as Ancestry.com, allowing the latter to turn a profit on publicly owned assets by charging the public to access them.

I do wonder, though, what quality assurance, controls and audits are written into the terms. Not a lot, as far as I can see.

And given the NA's disclaimer on Ancestry's site, the NA seem not unaware of these deficiencies - or, at least, certainly do not hold themseves accountable for any shortcomings of their new business partner.......

ciao,

GAC

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welshdoc

Dont know what your complaining about Chris, this is Britain. You can not seriously want a system like the Australian archives , who provide accurate information and for nothing . All that matters is we pay untill we bleed. Remember the DVLC has sold your information to anyone who is willing to pay for it so what do you expect :angry:

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bantamforgot

How much I agree Welshdoc, almost every public body is making money from our data in one form or another, it doesn 't pay to be born in the UK.

I remember the bombings in Bali, who looked after the UK casualties, the Aussies.!

The NA should be available to anyone with a legitimate claim F.0.C. especially when one thinks of the financial waste in other areas of public life.

Colin

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welshdoc

Chris has opened a right can of worms here :wacko:

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DaveBrigg

Not sure if this counts, but I followed the NA news link to Ancestry.com to start looking at the burnt records. What joy there was to discover a 14 day trial period. When I entered email details I was told that a member already existed with this address. Having had no contact with ancestry before now, I clicked the 'forgotten password' box, hoping that someone had bought me a year's memnbership. Still waiting for them to 'send a link' so that I can access the site.

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Tom Kilkenny

At the risk of heading well off-topic here, the fact is that Britain is increasingly a society of private wealth and public poverty. We all believe that we're that much better off than we used to be, hence the proliferation of expensive coffee shops.

In fact, we have that little bit more in our wallets but the state has that much less in its coffers. There is a simple choice: do you want to pay more taxes and (perhaps) get free access to our nation's archives online or, would you prefer to pay less tax and shell out everytime you want to access those archives?

I know which I'd choose but I know (and our political parties know only too well) that none of us wants to vote for a party that's going to tax us more, regardless of the reasons - and, by the way, those reasons include paying our armed forces a decent wage and providing them with decent equipment.

So let's stop complaining and let's savour those lattes!

Tom

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Max
The NA should be available to anyone with a legitimate claim F.0.C. especially when one thinks of the financial waste in other areas of public life.

Colin, they are, you have just got to be prepared to go to London to view the records. Why should the vast vast majority of taxpayers who have no interest in accessing the records subsidise your and my hobby by paying for them to be digitised and placed online FOC....that would be a complete waste of public money.

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bantamforgot

Tom,

Better off , you can't be self employed ? As for the CWGC archives this should be a right in my humble opinion, after all billions are wasted every year on a multiplicity of benefits to various groups who have not & are unlikely ever to contribute to the public purse.

Colin

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bantamforgot

Max.

My interest in the CWGC is not a hobby but a general interest in my relatives & I think I should be able to access them without travelling to the "smoke". It is not just the distance , people of an age have other problems, perhaps you don't. The current forum is a recent hobby which may or may not last but enjoyable at present.

As for other people paying for my limited use of this one site , I think in my 60 working years I have contributed more than my share towards many outpourings of wealth to others which I regret daily.

Colin.

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Max
Max.

My interest in the CWGC is not a hobby but a general interest in my relatives & I think I should be able to access them without travelling to the "smoke". It is not just the distance , people of an age have other problems, perhaps you don't. The current forum is a recent hobby which may or may not last but enjoyable at present.

As for other people paying for my limited use of this one site , I think in my 60 working years I have contributed more than my share towards many outpourings of wealth to others which I regret daily.

Colin.

CWGC?

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bantamforgot

NA Then !

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henryww1

May I ask if anybody knows what is happening to the Family Records Centre @ Islington as I understand it is closing ?

Where will I have to go if I want to visit in future (other than the web)....Is it going to Kew ?

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Greyhound

Going back to the original question, the worst example I have so far found is ..... not indexed at all. That is, a whole family who is on the census but cannot be found by searching, whatever variations entered. I eventually found them by manually searching the whole district in the facsimile pages. (But I knew what street to look for.)

At least if they're in the index, even misspelt, you have a chance of finding them. It's the ones that are left out after the transcriber's tea break you should be worrying about.

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linden

And have you noticed that evry government and public department now uses 0845 phone numbers, so they make money out of you that way as well.

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BottsGreys

Good subject, as John Hartley and I were working on this Virginia-born fellow a few weeks back and found this:

Chris

1901 England Census

about John Godwin

Name: John Godwin

Age: 49

Estimated birth year: abt 1852

Relation: Head

Spouse's name: Elen

Gender: Male

Where born: Satgeet, United States

Civil parish: Ellesmere

Ecclesiastical parish: Ellesmere St Mary

County/Island: Shropshire

Country: England

**There is no Satgeet, United States. Looking at the Census page column under Where Born, the census taker has noted, "American Subject". Ancestry presumably transcribed the phrase as "America Satgeet" and then formally changed the country to United States when indexing it.

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Jem2109

Some of the many mistakes I've noticed are

CardiTT instead of Cardiff

Armskirk Lancaster instead of Ormskirk Lancashire

Hount Pleasant instead of Mount Pleasant

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Greyhound

Hope everyone's reporting these errors to Ancestry.

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themonsstar
And have you noticed that evry government and public department now uses 0845 phone numbers, so they make money out of you that way as well.

I no this is off topic but you could try this for your phone government No's:

http://www.saynoto0870.com/

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mikebriggs

I agree that there are some real howlers re: indexing

e.g.

"Bn Notts Surrey Regiment" = 6th Battn Notts and Derby

"Tnn Bankwood ?? (Notts and ??Regiment)" = The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt)

"Notts & Leerby Rgt" = 6/ Notts and Derby

"Royal Regiment Notts Arty (Royal Garrn Arty)" =Royal Garrison Artillery

...........its grim really :glare:

but its the fact that several documents are copied up to 3 times that drives me up the wall, the server is slow enough as it is without getting duplication

BUT, after all it beats a £170 train fare to London (to get there for a reasonable time in am)

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