Ancestry’s Yearbook Indexes Can Be Wrong and Incomplete

Going back to the original continues to be excellent genealogical advice.

Ancestry.com in search results from their yearbook collection now includes pictures with the search results. Whether this was done automatically by an algorithmic process or manually by minions in an undisclosed location, the original still needs to be viewed. The five entries for my mother are for yearbook entries in which she appears. However the reference from the 1957 Carthage Community High School yearbook connects her to a picture of her cousin who also has the same last name.

Viewing the actual page from the yearbook indicated that Ancestry.com has linked to the wrong image. They’ve linked the reference to Connie Ufkes to the picture of Mary Ann Ufkes. While I didn’t know Mom or her cousin in 1957, having seen both of them later in life, it’s clear the yearbook is correct and Ancestry.com is wrong. (Note: Darlene Vass would later be Mom’s sister-in-law as they married brothers).

It is still advantageous to browse the entire yearbook. This is not the only image of Mom in the 1957 yearbook. There are at least two references to her that did not show up in the Ancestry.com index for this yearbook. One is her picture in the section for the Future Homemakers of America. She’s clearly identified in the picture and, with all their OCR indexing power, it is a little disappointing that Ancestry.com did not include this reference in their index. It wasn’t hard to find and browsing is always a good option when using any record no matter how it is indexed.

Mom is also in the chorus section of the 1957 yearbook as well (image 33).

The reminders here:

  • tagged indexes can be wrong
  • indexes can be incomplete
  • dark skirts were a FHA requirement at Carthage High School in 1957

I know the yearbook calls it Carthage Community High School, but I’ve never referred to it as that in my entire life and I’m not going to start now. But…if that’s what is on the title of the publication, that’s what I need to use in my references to this publication whether I like it or not.

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