Ancestry.com has changed its look and feel and added a number of new databases lately. The stylistic changes are somewhat of a mixed bag in my opinion. In some ways, the site looks cleaner; on the other hand at least one change has made searching a little harder and not easier as Ancestry.com claims.
One expanded database that has interested me is the Texas Death Index. Previously, the Texas Death Index was limited to to deaths which occurred between 1964 and 1998. The new index has been vastly expanded to cover the years 1903 through 2000. This is a tremendous improvement and a significant boon to Texas researchers. Users should be aware, however, that not every death during that period is included in the index. The data in the index comes from that which is on file with the Texas Department of State Health Services. I would urge researchers to check county sites as well. Here’s an example: Gregg County’s records site lists 26 individuals named Bowie who died during the same period covered by Ancestry.com’s Texas Index. That index however lists only 20 individuals who died during that period. And there are other examples.
My impression is that the errors and missing data occur during the early part of the 20th century specifically between about 1903 and 1920. Overall though I’m pleased with the addition of the new data and the way it’s presented on Ancestry.com.
August 20, 2006 Sunday at 2:31 am