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Systemic Problem with Indexing and Presentation of 1820 Census Data for Lincoln County at Ancestry

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Systemic Problem with Indexing and Presentation of 1820 Census Data for Lincoln County at Ancestry

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 9:11AM GMT
Classification: Query
Yesterday, in troubleshooting what I first though was a mistranscription of 1820 Census data by another ROPER researcher, I came to discover that there is an enormous systemic problem with the Indexing and presentation of 1820 Census data for Lincoln County, Tennessee, at Ancestry. Although I have already sought to communicate this problem through Ancestry feedback channels, those reporting procedures are woefully inadequate for reporting a problem of this scale.

It occured to me that it might be both useful to other researchers AND helpful to Ancestry for me to post a more complete discription of the problem here at the Lincoln County, Tennessee, Message Board.

THERE ARE NO 1820 CENSUS RECORDS FOR LINCOLN COUNTY, TENNESSEE, SHOWN IN THE ANCESTRY INDEX AT THE DATE OF THIS POST.

If you do a search of the Ancestry Census data specifying the 1820 Census and Lincoln County, you will get ZERO records. This is because NONE OF THE LINCOLN DATA APPEARS IN THE INDEX UNDER LINCOLN COUNTY!

This is NOT a case of there being no extant Census data. Lincoln County EXISTED and was enumerated in the 1820 Census. Other sources have made the Lincoln data available in print and microfilm format for many, many years.

There are also ONLINE TRANSCRIPTIONS of the Lincoln County, Census data, including this helpful compilation at Rootsweb:

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnlincol/census/1820001a.t...

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Using the Rootsweb transcription, I have been able to identify the nature and dimensions of the problem at Ancetry. WHEN PREPARING THE INDICES AT ANCESTRY, THOSE TRANSCRIBING AND INDEXING THE DATA SEEM TO HAVE MISSED THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE JACKSON COUNTY AND LINCOLN COUNTY DATA.

THE LINCOLN COUNTY DATA SEEMS TO APPEAR WITHIN ANCESTRY, BUT ALL OF THE CENSUS RETURNS FOR LINCOLN COUNTY ARE ERRONEOUSLY CODED AS BEING IN JACKSON COUNTY.

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This is most readily apparent by looking at the boundary records.

Take a look at the first two records shown at the Rootsweb compilation. These are shown to be:

"1 1 Seales, Constant 100010/10100 F=0 A=2 C=0 M=0 Sl=4 FC=0
2 1 Dickson, Robert 010130/00100 F=2 A=17 C=3 M=4 Sl=19 FC=0"

Searching for Constant SEALES is problematic. Not only is this record misindexed in the WRONG COUNTY, but the surname is also erroneously shown as NEALER rather than SEALES.

You can FIND THIS RECORD by searching for "Constant NEALER" in Jackson County.

Alternatively, search for the second record "Richard DICKSON". if you search the 1820 Census data for Robert DICKSON nationally, you will get thirteen (13) search hits. If you filter for Tennessee, there are three "Robert DICKSON"s in Jackson County.

The Robert DICKSON of interest is the second appearing in Tennessee, the FIRST of two shown to appear in Jackson County. This is the Robert DICKSON shown to reside within "Fayetteville, Jackson, Tennessee", the Robert DICKSON with 17 slaves.

If you search and pull up the image of this record, AT THE TOP OF THE IMAGE, IT IS CLEARLY INDICATED THAT THESE RETURNS ARE FOR LINCOLN COUNTY RATHER THAN JACKSON COUNTY. THIS PAGE REFLECTS THE DATA BOUNDARY BETWEEN JACKSON COUNTY AND LINCOLN COUNTY.

This is the page with Ancestry Source shown as:

1820 U S Census; Census Place: Fayetteville, Jackson, Tennessee; Page: 220; NARA Roll: M33_123; Image: 117.

This particular sequence consists of only two Images.

The other Lincoln pages are also embedded within the Jackson County results. If one BROWSES the Jackson County data (rather than searching), choosing State="Tennessee", County="Jackson", Township=Not Stated", you should get to this page:

http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/view.aspx?dbid=7734&ii...

There is NO INDICATION of the County at the top of this page [Image 1 of 46]. The first record is for Benajamin CLEMENTS (Indexed by Ancestry as "Benjamin CLEMENTZ". The second record is Joel JOHNSON.

Compare the entries appearing at the RootsWen transcription beginning at records 60 and 61:

"60 3 Clements, Benjamin 220110/20110 F=0 A=5 C=0 M=0 Sl=18 FC=0
61 3 Johnson, Joel 100110/00100 F=0 A=1 C=0 M=0 Sl=3 FC=0"

See: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnlincol/census/1820001a.t...

The very last page of the "Jackson County" data, what is now shown as Image 46 of 46 at Ancestry clearly shows at the conclusion a tabulation for what is identified as Lincoln County rather than Jackson County.

The final two records on the image precisely correspond to that shown at the Rootsweb transcription:

"2090 48 Milstead, Eli 000100/30100 F=0 A=1 C=0 M=0 Sl=0 FC=0
2091 48 Morgan, Mary 010000/01001 F=0 A=3 C=0 M=0 Sl=9 FC=0"

Source:
1820 U S Census; Census Place, Jackson, Tennessee; Page: 313; NARA Roll: M33_123; Image: 164.

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It is readily apparent from the posted Updates added for individual records that many, many people have noted these problems with the Lincoln data and sought to communicate the problem to Ancestry. Most seem only to have perceived that a particular page was misindexed. I have seen posted comments going back at least four years showing others trying to communicate this problem to Ancestry.

But the fact of the matter is that ALL 46 Images at Ancestry for Jackson County, Township "Not Stated" are for Lincoln County rather than Jackson County.

It is NOT CLEAR where the actual Jackson County data appears.

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