“When census enumerators wrote ‘Ind.’ and the person is named Charlotte Smith,” wrote Brad, “and yet the birthplace is transcribed as India, I just have to laugh.”
Ancestry.com indexers enter abbreviations exactly as written. It is Ancestry.com themselves that erroneously expand “Ind.” to “India.” I understand they have fixed these. If you can find any surviving errors of this type, I would be interested to learn of them. Because indexers were asked to enter the information exactly, Ancestry.com can go back and efficiently reprocess millions of records. Preserving the exact contents of the fields is a best practice in the archival world.
FamilySearch Indexing, on the other hand, asks indexers to interpret place names, correct spelling, and expand abbreviations. This generally produces better results when indexers have sufficient contextual knowledge. But misinterpretations occur, such as picking a far away place in the same state instead of a really close place just across a state line. Because exact contents of records are not captured, errors can not be corrected without re-indexing.
-- The Insider