Nasty Problem on FS [closed]

+4 votes
I have encountered a nasty problem on FS as I was sourcing my Great Grandpa.  The results of the search in the 1900 U.S. Census are incorrect.  They have combined two families into one.  I was surprised at the response from FS:

Dear Rory Bowers,
We understand you would like changes made in the index.
Errors in the indexed records can come from incorrect indexing or errors made by the creator of the original record.
Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to correct a misindexed FamilySearch historical record at this point. Because FamilySearch is a free service, with limited resources, we have to use those resources very carefully. We do our best to make sure that those resources are being used on projects that will affect the most patrons.  FamilySearch is working on a program whereby the Patron will have the ability to request corrections directly on FamilySearch
We suggest, until then, you attach the record to the correct person in your Family Tree and add a note regarding the error you have found in the reason statement, which is viewable by all users, indicating which data is incorrect. When the program is in place to allow changes, you will then be able to make the changes.
 We appreciate your patience on this issue and wish you success as you seek your ancestors.
Historical Records

Here is the record:

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 May 2017), Robert L Hamilton in household of Leram Muray, Hartford Township Hartford town, Sebastian, Arkansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0115, sheet 6A, family 104, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,077.

He is not actually on this Sheet.  He is on the Next Sheet.
WikiTree profile: Robert Hamilton
closed with the note: A bunch of Great comments
asked in The Tree House by Rory Bowers G2G6 (9.9k points)
closed by Rory Bowers

I got a very similar letter from FamilySearch about a year ago when I reported a far worse problem in their records than merely serving an image of the wrong census page: All of the early records from an English parish church were misidentified as being from a church in a completely different place (not even particularly close geographically). A year later, the error still isn't fixed on familysearch and they still haven't implemented the ability for patrons to submit/request corrects (but LDS members apparently can now view the original parish records on familysearch).

The biography and comments on the profile of Thomas Benedict document some of the gnashing of teeth that the FamilySearch error I describe generated here on WikiTree.  At least one member here was more willing to trust the FamilySearch index entry (because they could access it online for free) than the combination of (1) statements in an article in one of the best peer-reviewed genealogy journals and (2) images of the original records obtained from that they couldn't access online for free.

People need to recognize that FamilySearch is far from perfect.  Free information is not superior information.

3 Answers

+2 votes

Correct census on Ancestry

 in the 1900 United States Federal Census

VIEW1900 United States Federal Census

    Name: Robert L Hamilton
    Age: 14
    Birth Date: Apr 1886
    Birthplace: Arkansas
    Home in 1900: Hartford, Sebastian, Arkansas
    Sheet Number: 6A
    Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 94
    Family Number: 105
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Relation to Head of House: Son
    Marital Status: Single
    Father's name: John Hamilton
    Father's Birthplace: Arkansas
    Mother's name: Sarah E Hamilton
    Mother's Birthplace: Missouri
    Occupation: Farm Laborer
    Months not employed: 0
    Attended School: 6
    Can Read: Yes
    Can Write: Yes
    Can Speak English: Yes
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    John Hamilton 44
    Sarah E Hamilton 33
    Albert H Hamilton 21
    Emma A Hamilton 19
    Ollie A Hamilton 19
    Robert L Hamilton 14
    Birtha M Hamilton 12
    Charlie Q Hamilton 9
    William H Hamilton 55

    Source Citation

    Year: 1900; Census Place: Hartford, Sebastian, Arkansas; Roll: 77; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0115; FHL microfilm: 1240077

    Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.


    answered by Eddie King G2G6 Pilot (360k points)
    Thank You Eddie, I am trying to avoid sourcing at Ancestry.  I have found that their records can be here today and gone tomorrow.  I have found so many Profiles here on WikiTree that originally sourced Ancestry documents. When you go back to the link the file has been moved.  Ancestry is doing this continuously.  It does not make for a durable document or source.  I am currently sourcing at FamilySearch.  I think the documents there stand a chance of being durable for a few years anyway.  Have I tried sourcing straight to NARA?  You bet, what a nightmare!
    I copy the document into the profile. I don't just "link". Just me, but I prefer seeing the info at a glance instead of clicking hither and thither. (I have big fingers and a little tablet so sometimes close clicky links take me wrongly astray lol.)
    If you capture the URL for an actual record on Ancestry, the link is not "here today and gone tomorrow." It's when you save a link to a record attached to somebody's Ancestry Family Tree that the link is apt to disappear.
    +3 votes
    Family Search records are indexed by volunteers.  Once they are published, the volunteers usually move onto a different project.
    answered by Maureen Rosenfeld G2G6 Pilot (179k points)
    I guess you get what you pay for? :-)
    Oh yes... I'm sorry Maureen... Forgot to say Thank You for the comment!!
    +1 vote
    I encountered a similar situation with FamilySearch and an inaccurately indexed record.  It was also mis-indexed in Ancestry.  FamilySearch said they couldn't correct the error.  Ancestry said nothing.  And within a year, the record had been corrected in both places.  So my advice is to do what they say--make a note of it; add the stupid Ancestry record which someone says is correct (stupid is the word I always put before the word Ancestry), and check back later.
    answered by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (155k points)
    Thank You J. Crook... What I did is slipped over to Page 11 and sourced the Census page... at least it is correct.  Besides, who needs those silly 3 x 5 cards? :-)


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