The Online Genealogist

John Brugliera

Helping to iron out’s rough edges.


On, what can you do when you find a disparity between what’s on the census page and what’s in their index?  Change it to what it should be.  Yes, ancestry lets you do that!  Of course, they have to approve it, and if so, it will be in addition to the “erroneous” name.

With the Kiltons I’m currently researching, I’ve come across some tricky transcriptions.  Like Kitton!

Ancestry Help 02x

Notice how the assumed crosses for both T’s are floating over the “on”?  How would you really know that it only belongs to one T; not both?  I’ve heard of many a census transcriber jumping out the window after coming across a name like this.  So I’ve heard.

Now I want to change Lovett Kitton to the correct Lovell Kilton (and his family to Kilton as well).  I bring up that bottom Index, hit the name I want to change and add a Reason.  In this case, I enter “I am researching the Kiltons of Grafton; no Kittons in that entire area.”  Or Puppees, for that matter.  …Sorry.

This is what it looks like after I’ve submitted the changes.

Ancestry Help 02a

After approves it, they’ll send me a Thank You email with these three names I submitted.  Why is this a big deal?  Because the next person on ancestry to search for Lovell Kilton in this census will see his name come right up near the top of the results.  Same deal if for some bizarre reason you’re actually looking for the non-existent Lovett Kitton.

Right now, if I do an entire US Federal Census search (1790-1940) for Lovell Kilton, how many correct entries will appear?

1840 Census Kilton

Only ONE!  The 1840 Census.  Now I’ll scroll down below ancestry’s patented yellow “maybe these are a match, but probably not” box…

1830 Census Kilton

There he is in 1830 with a last “L” missing from his first name.  Not too far off.  But that is it for the first page of results.  As Lovell lived to the ripe old age of 92, he should be in SIX MORE available census years!

The census I made the correction to back upstream was 1870.  After ancestry gives me the thumbs up, a search for Lovell Kilton in the 1870 census will bring up (all together now)…Lovell Kilton!!

Reason #274 Why You Can Not FULLY Rely On Most Any Online Genealogical Search Function.  The results will only be as good as the index it’s working off of.

When I’m done correcting the remaining years and after ancestry does their thing, anyone will be able to find Lovell Kilton in every census he should be in — 1810-1880.  At the top, ABOVE the ugly yellow box!

Here are a few more census records I came across and added corrections to.

Ancestry Help

Now, this one just plain SUCKS for the transcriber.  Can’t quite tell if that’s an ink blot or a hole in the page.  Either way, the name was in the Index as “-ON”.  Not much help looking for anyone in any index.

Fortunately, I know that Lydia Kilton married Robert Allison in 1846, so I add the correction, again, noting the Reason being a result of researching the Kiltons.  Oh and that’s Lydia’s little sister, Mary, living with them.

Then I come across entries where common sense wasn’t exercised by the transcriber.  Like these two!…

Ancestry Help 03

They had Irving as “Iming” and William as “Willian”.  Now, I’m not researching these folks at all; they just so happened to be on the same page as the Kiltons and I spotted them.

I may have let one slide, but not TWO.  Above, Irving has already been added and I’m ready to modify William.


Willian?  Seriously?? 

Now, if he was a Brazilian soccer player




And if you’ve had your fill of The World Cup, hire The Online Genealogist!!  (OK, lame segue.)






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2 thoughts on “Helping to iron out’s rough edges.

  1. Toni on said:

    The impossible spellings of a fairly easy name is probably from a transcriber who doesn’t speak English as a first language. I’ve run across enough of them that my forehead has a rhinoceros bump on it. I correct it even if it isn’t my family. When it’s plain as day on the census, there’s no reason not to fix it. The next guy looking will be so happy. My most teeth grating entries are the obituaries who list the funeral home, day of the week, or the name of the newspaper as the person’s name. Just how on earth would you ever find your person indexed like that?

    • Right, there’s no “Why bother?” transcription option.

      Just got word today that approved my “ink blot” correction on Robert & Lydia Allison above. Prior to my add, their last name was “??ON“, which is useless.

      Now, when I search on ancestry for Lydia Allison (wide open; no other parameters), she actually comes up in the top 20 results. Robert appears on the third page (obviously, more with that name), but at least he’s included in the search results!

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