What are we to understand by genealogy vendors name count claims? When WorldVitalRecords.com claims "872,278,874 Names in 5,389 Databases," aren't we led to believe these are counts of people names? But WorldVitalRecords.com claims 337,484 names in Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World, 1895. This is a gazetteer! Yeah, yeah; many places are named after people. But the database information notes there are only 125,000 place names on 2,895 pages. The claim of 337,484 names amounts to, on average, 2.7 names per place and 117 names per page!
I picked a page from the 1913 edition at random to examine. Page 1000 is about half-way through the book. (Click on the adjacent image to see it yourself.) I pulled it up and started looking for names. I ignored people-place names such as Baltimore, St. Louis and Clay County. The only name I found was Albus Dumbledore. Oops, Albertus Magnus. A sample of one is hardly scientific, but I find the claim of 117 names per page in a gazetteer quite incredulous.
I don't think WorldVitalRecords.com is all alone. I know Ancestry has some isolated problems as well. I call upon genealogy vendors to provide transparency with published name counts. Consumers have a right to know when counts are exact and when they are estimates. Vendors should disclose basic definitions and methodologies. Only transparency will provide consumers the information necessary to make intelligent purchase decisions with their limited funds in an increasingly competitive market.