[APG Public List] Assigned township or locality names

Michael Hait michael.hait at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 5 09:36:39 MDT 2009

In my experience, Ancestry tries to assign township names for all of its censuses, even when they may only appear on the first page, or not at all.  Where they do not have a township name, in the later censuses they will use the enumeration district, but in earlier censuses, they may use the election district.  They call both simply "District" which leaves much to be desired in terms of specificity.


Personally, when citing Ancestry's images, I identify the locality exactly as it appears *on that page* and never identify the enumeration district as anything but an enumeration district, or an election district as anything but an election district.


I have also noticed that lately, Ancestry itself has been providing short descriptions for some districts, but they do not cite the sources of these descriptions.  This has just started since they instituted the new image viewer.  So far, I have only seen it in Baltimore city (which they erroneously identify as being part of Baltimore County - big problem if you try to look for the city records there - but that is another story entirely), but wonder if they have also done this with other urban areas or even rural areas.

Michael Hait
Author, The Family History Research Toolkit
Instructor, "African-American Genealogy", GenClass
African-American Genealogy Examiner


From: rondina.muncy at gmail.com
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 10:02:40 -0500
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Assigned township or locality names

I believe the description may be an anomaly, however, I'm wondering if the practice of assigning township names when none is specified on the return by Ancestry is. From reading your article, I suspect it is more common than I previously thought. The 1810 census page with the description can be found at:
The image shows two pages. The description is on the lower portion (page 104, lower right corner). I went back to the image on HeritageQuest and ran through several images for this county. I noted that they had an image mislabeled also. I depend on the image to give me the information I need for the location. If I don't find the information I need, I begin the hunt backwards and forwards to find the location. If I still have problems I access the NARA publication. My surprise may be due to the fact that all my census images up until about January 2006 originally came from NARA microfilm publications. I was in the habit of looking at the images and relying solely on them for my information. I'm behind the curve in noticing this.
Rondina P. Muncy
Ancestral Analysis
2960 Trail Lake Drive
Grapevine, Texas 76051
rondina.muncy at gmail.com

On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 5:38 AM, <hhsh at earthlink.net> wrote:

Rondina --

Is that land description a little-noticed common fact, or a gift of that
enumerator (much like the 1850 US census returns for Edgar County, Illinois,
which give counties of birth)?

Not sure this is on point, but I wrote up a botched township assignment in the
Ancestry.com rendition of the 1865 Illinois state census for Kane County, in
the summer Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. (Now also at
http://www.midwestroots.net/?page_id=729 thanks to the kind permission of the


> Whilewe are discussing web site images, I would like to bring up something I

> caught this week. Michael John Neill writes a newsletter called *Casefile
> Clues.* This past week he discussed a census record from 1810. Ancestry.com
> clearly labels the record as being from a specific township. If I go over to
> the image on HeritageQuest, no such township is cited. *No Twp Listed* I
> clicked on the browse feature and the enumerator gave a description of the land
> on the first page (which I have never seen before). The land description itself
> did not match with the topography of the area, but this is beside the point.
> What I was concerned about was the assignment of a fictitious *township* name
> based on this description. I'm wondering if anyone else has taken note of such
> cases.
> Rondina________________________
> Rondina P. Muncy
> Ancestral Analysis
> 2960 Trail Lake Drive
> Grapevine, Texas 76051
> 817.481.5902
> rondina.muncy at gmail.com
> www.ancestralanalysis.com

Harold Henderson
Research and Writing from Northwest Indiana
hhsh at earthlink.net
home office 219/324-2620

Hotmail: Powerful Free email with security by Microsoft.
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