Dear Ancestry Insider,
I accessed the City Directories for Enid, OK and wow, what I found was astoundingly egregious. All you have to do to verify what I'm saying is to start with the 1905 Enid, OK City Directory and search for Joseph Hutcheson. You'll go mad trying to find a decent index for him.
Access the City Directory for Enid, OK and start going up the years. On the way, please do enjoy such genealogical tidbits as "Walnut Hyde" (taken from the street name and last name....don't ask me) and "Baking Soda Tea Bisquits..." taken from a store advertisement. Then, there's also "telephone 7 days a week" and "Ill" instead of an "H", or "II" (as in "The Second"), instead of an "H", even after women's names.
Some of the most egregious errors I've ever seen! It is quite apparent that whoever is doing the transcribing is not only unfamiliar with the English language and common names, but with the English alphabet, as well. Beyond that, there is apparently NO quality control - no checking for veracity. These butchered transcriptions and indexes are sent to Ancestry.com where they're uploaded immediately - if they do random checking, then they're using aliens or people who don't speak English ...or children who can't spell...or read, to do it.
The way some letters don't seem to be understood by the transcriber, tells me that whoever is transcribing doesn't speak English well and probably is sitting in front of some kind of chart. But since these people are probably paid by the record, their managers are probably telling them to hurry, hurry, hurry. That's their incentive. And that, sadly, is the reality of what's happening to the records at Ancestry.com.
Dear Patriot Gal,
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that about a year ago Ancestry.com started employing a whole new set of indexers for their city directories. These indexers do not speak English. They have problems reading. As you surmised, they work from some kind of chart, as the English alphabet is foreign to them.
While they hurry quite a bit faster than you or I would, it is not greed or speed that induces them to count advertisements as directory entries. The problem there is pure stupidity. That’s right. They are not smart enough to always recognize what are obviously advertisements.
They aren’t children or space aliens. These new indexers are computers. And despite what some people think, computers are very stupid, especially when it comes to reading and comprehension. It is a great achievement that Ancestry has coerced the degree of accuracy that it has from these directories. Most computer read content is far, far worse.
For more information, see my article, “Data Extraction Technology at Ancestry.com.”