I have indexed and reviewed New York as well as Missouri Naturalization records. Although the records are the same, the project instructions in the samples are not the same.. in the NY project, I am instructed to enter "Buffalo, Western District, New York", with the addition of United States if is is stated. In the Missouri project, I am instructed to enter "Missouri", omitting the district, and United States is never used.
It is evident that some people indexed both, because as I review the Missouri records, I see place names entered according to the New York instructions.
Is there a reason for the difference in instructions?
Supposedly, the owners of the records make these decisions about what and how to index the records. I also find it very confusing why these naturalization records have these disparate instructions when they are mostly standardized federal documents after 1906. It also seems to me that they should be "owned" by the United States Government and held by the National Archives. Although when I search the FamilySearch Research Wiki, specifically on the New York Nats, I see that Fold3 and Ancestry are somehow involved. The New York Naturalization and Citizenship Online Records all seem to have dollar signs next to them, ($), indicating that they must be accessed through a subscription service.
It is heartbreaking to think that even the documents of my government might be "up for sale". I certainly don't know how this happens, but, I hope someone from FamilySearch can explain this and answer your very good questions and mine.
Who are the owners of the records? Who makes the decisions about how to index them? Why can't the entries be standardized across projects?1