Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tech Tuesday - Ancestry's Person Viewer Solves a Mystery

So in the last day or two, I've been interested in the launch and subsequent reception of Ancestry.com's Labs, one item of which is their new Person View feature. Person View seems intended to aggregate "the most likely evidence" of one person on one page, including data from records and trees from Ancestry.com, as well as including related Web records.

So of course, I had to try this and see what I got. To my great surprise, Person View answered one of my minor mysteries, but introduced an interesting data error/bug.

My test search was for Lewis Kitchel Bridge, my 4th great grandfather who lived in New York City in the early 19th century, dying in 1846. The Bridge family has been my family of focus in recent months, as I'm trying to get proof on the identity of Lewis' wife and the mother of my 3rd great grandmother, Adeline Bridge Stone.

Anyway, I searched for Lewis Bridge, male, born in 1799, father's name of Kitchel, and received a single page of results. The item that caught my eye, was near the bottom of the page, and was a listing of web records for Lewis K. Bridge, Jr. (son of Lewis Bridge).
The entry links to the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and lists Lewis Bridge Jr.'s death date as 7 Nov 1874. So I hopped over to the Green-Wood Cemetery and searched their burial records to find the following:
I've been trying to determine the current burial location of the Bridge family for some time. The key here is my use of the word current. Green-Wood Cemetery's records list note the 7 Nov 1874 date as a burial date, not a death date, which is correct as the Bridge family was moved there from the New York City Marble Cemetery in 1874.

I found the interment records on the NYC Marble Cemetery Web site some time ago.

The interment records listed at NYC Marble Cemetery include a removal date, and the removal date for the Bridge family is 7 Nov 1874 -- the same date they were buried at Green-Wood Cemetery.

I've been wondering for a while if they really were no longer at NYC Marble, and if not, where they were relocated, and am glad to finally find out. And I admit I never would have thought to use a tool like Person View to uncover this information -- I think I got lucky in that respect.

But back to the data in Person View. My issue here is that Person View is displaying a burial date as a death date.
And in this case the burial date in Green-Wood Cemetery isn't even close to the actual death date. Lewis K Bridge Jr. was interred in the NYC Marble Cemetery 14 July 1863, having died 10 July 1863. Yet the data mapping in Person View (information being pulled from Green-Wood and displayed elsewhere) reports a death date of 7 Nov 1874 -- the date the family was moved from one cemetery to another.

In all fairness, I have not gotten records from either cemetery beyond what is available on their web sites, and am trying to harmonize some interesting potential inconsistencies in the family plots. I think Person View has great potential, and I got lucky with my search in that it answered a question I had, but I think there are still a few bugs to work out.

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