How would I bulk correct a mis-indexing of a location?
For film # 008119679, https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/008119679?cat=960849,
which contains records from the NG Kerk in the Cape Province of South Africa, there are a large number of records that have been indexed incorrectly as taking place in the town of Middelburg, Transvaal, instead of the town of the same name in the Cape Colony - Middelburg, Cape Colony (see, for example, page 468 and surrounding of this film). How would one go about bulk correcting these?
If "Middelburg, Transvaal" is the most prominent suggestion when indexing, there are likely to be large numbers of records from other films for Middelburg in the Cape Colony that have also been incorrectly indexed with the town in the Transvaal.
What you are referring to is just the tip of the iceberg. It is a huge problem particularly with SA records. The vast majority are not created by the indexers, they do not have a suggestion of place when indexing. The project tells them to type what they see/what is shown on the image - just the town name - no province or country. Prior to publication, FS takes the data and runs it through their infamous place standardiser with its faulty algorithms (lots of discussion on this forum and elsewhere can be found), and attempts to match the place to its global database of placenames. When looking at the edit function for a record, placename (original) is what was indexed, and placename is what its been subsequently standardised to if you want to get a sense for the logic/process used!
The standardiser seems to work fine for USA records, but is hopeless with SA, it cannot get it right on a country basis, never mind provincial. If you browse the film you mention you will see records getting shipped off to Canada, Scotland etc that happen to have the same name in the database. Because SA has been through so many changes, it can also not get the provincial names correct to the time periods concerned - often you will see current provinces like Western Cape being used to standardise records that are in the 1700/1800s. What compounds the problem further is their need to put every single farm that existed in SA into the database mix, so for example typing Pretoria into the database gives 20 results, Johannesburg 16 (Middelburg btw also has 20!)
This is entirely self inflected by familysearch in a matter of minutes, yet their current solution is to edit the placename on a record by record basis, which as you can imagine is both a tedious and timeconsuming "solution" to fix on such a large scale - it will take years to undo the mess0
Thank you for the detailed answer. It is disappointing - but at least placename (original) is kept - so perhaps this can be corrected in future with a better database and better algorithms, that also take into account the geographical context and time period of the record.0