When Mousing Over Ancestry’s Census Results


Household members are not displayed in census order on this snippet view of the entry. This is the “record” that is shown when the user “mouses over” the search results page.

[screen shots in this post were taken on 17 February 2016]

Changing the order of things can confuse the user and that’s what Ancestry.com apparently does when one “mouses over” search results from some census enumerations.

While searching for Barbara Haas in the 1860 census for Hancock County, Illinois, I ended up searching for all females in Hancock County, Illinois, with a first name starting with Bar*. When I moused over the entry for Barbara to quickly review the household members, I was surprised to see them in the order in which they were:

  • Lena Haas 5/12
  • Coonrod Haas 43
  • Barbara Haas 33
  • Phillip Pipher 26
  • Frances Haas 12
  • Louisa Haas 8

For some reason on this screen the household members are not displayed in household order. On the “record page,” the names are in the same order as they are in the enumeration. That is shown in the image where “Barbara Haas” appears at the very top of the image. Phillip Pipher, a twenty-six year old cooper, is living in the Haas household and is listed second on the enumeration. That order is correct. Why he’s listed second in the household is a separate issue and not the point of this post.


Household names are in the correct order on this screen. Phillip Pipher is listed after Coonrod Haas and before Barbara.


Household members are not displayed in census order on this snippet view of the entry. This is the “record” that is shown when the user “mouses over” the search results page.

Wondering if the mouseover display was a fluke, I searched for another household where someone outside the immediate nuclear family was living with that family. Sure enough, the same thing happened. The household members are listed in chronological order in this household listing shown in the mouseover view of the search results.

  • Frederick Reechmyer 50
  • John M. Troutfetter 30
  • Francis Troutfetter 20
  • Otto Troutfetter

The “record view” for John M Troutfetter shows the household members in the same order as they appear in the census image. Reechmyer, an apparent hired man, is listed last after the the Troutfetters.

The question is: “why are the household members out of order in the mouseover view” on the search results page? I suppose it’s not really a huge concern, but it would be nice if the mouseover view of the household reflected the actual order of the enumerees. It appears they are sorted by age. But I’m hoping their computer system doesn’t think that 5/12 is more than 43. Or maybe it’s thinking 5/12 is actually 512? I’m not certain.


And that’s the point: I shouldn’t have to guess. The display should be correct.



4 thoughts on “When Mousing Over Ancestry’s Census Results

    • I emailed you about this privately. Please forward me the emails (mjnrootdig@gmail.com) to which you are referring. There was only one list I found your yahoo address on and I can’t troubleshoot this without seeing the complete emails you’ve gotten. Thanks.

  1. It seems to me the bigger ancestry gets the less it’s really trying to supply genealogical information. It’s all about the money. (I’ve quit giving them any.) When I found 2 of my original surmises clearly listed as such on two different people on my tree had been turned into an Index Only Fact at ancestry, I knew the honeymoon was over. What I surmise is not a fact. It is circumstantial evidence.

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