Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ancestry and the Canadian Voters Lists

Ancestry has recently released the Canadian Voters Lists, 1935-1980.  Voters lists, though not as comprehensive as a census, do allow the researcher to figure out where people lived until relatively recently, and gives researchers a chance to contact living individuals to further a search.  Ancestry is justifiably proud of their accomplishment, but there is one major problem.

The biggest problem is that not everyone in the voters list has actually made it to the transcription of the voters list.  Something I have noticed is that the wives are often excluded, eg Mr. John Halls shows up in the transcription, but his wife, Mrs. John Halls does not.  I can only conclude that whatever analyzed the OCR results was programmed to skip duplicates, with terrible results in the voters lists.  Not that every wife was dropped, but enough were to make it difficult.  Worse still, Ancestry has no way to add an entry that has been skipped.  All one can do is correct existing entries.

So to Ancestry, kudos for making the voters lists available, jeers for using an analysis program that considers Mrs and Mr to be the same.

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