I have found 4 different records for an ancestor in US Census databases on Ancestry.com (1900, 1910, 1920, 1930). However when I try to do the same search in FamilySearch US Census databases I do not find the same individual listed.
Why is this?
The computer algorithm that every website uses is different. Thus always try searching in multiple ways. Sometimes I cannot find a census record on FamilySearch using the basic search button from a profile but I can on Ancestry. I review the record found on Ancestry to see what parameters are different. Is the place of birth different? Is the spelling very different? is the birth year outside the 5 year estimate that FamilySearch uses? If I can determine what the difference is I adjust the FamilySearch parameters using the Ancestry information to bring up the census record. Occasionally with very poor handwriting or the image is not great I have to find another name on the Ancestry census record and I search for it that way and when I find it I can usually see why it was missed...usually the indexer read a letter differently. Hope this info helps.
thank you greatly for your reply and suggestions.
as far as I can tell, I duplicated the searches on both sites.
yet, I come up with different results.
I thought there might be some specific reason. Just wondering what that might be.
thank you again!
The U.S. Census indexes on Ancestry and FamilySearch are not necessarily the same. Sometimes, the FS index got a name right, sometimes the Ancestry one did, sometimes both, sometimes neither.
If you've already found the census record on Ancestry, that means you have the location and sheet number, so you should be able to find the page by browsing through images on FamilySearch. You can then get to the FS version of the index by looking at the Image Index tab at the bottom.
For example, to look for my distant relative Johanna Leitner (Mrs. John Pratscher) in the 1930 census, based on having found her in it on Ancestry (back when I had a subscription), I would look up that she was in Chicago's 524th enumeration district, on sheet number 4B. (Since I no longer have an Ancestry subscription, I don't actually know how to get Ancestry to cough up this information, but it's there on the image itself if nothing else.) Then I would go to FS's search page (https://www.familysearch.org/search/) and type "1930" into the "Collection Title" box at the bottom right, under Find a Collection. Scrolling down to the 'U's, I'd choose "United States Census, 1930", and on the resulting search page for that collection, I'd scroll down below the search fields and click on the "Browse through ..." link to get to the waypoints. Then I'd choose Illinois, Cook, Chicago (Districts 0501-0750), and finally ED 524. This would give me 60 images to browse through, starting with sheet 1A. I'd take a guess and type 8 for the image number (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, ...), and tah-dah: there she is, on line 94, indexed on FS as Johana Pratcher: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XSLD-XC7.
Granted, that was a somewhat contrived example, because I'm hampered by Ancestry's paywall, but hopefully it illustrated the basic idea adequately.
Thank you for your reply and explanation. It is greatly appreciated.
Your example of how one can use the sheet number from one search company's page hit to find the same record on a different search company's census record shows you have a thorough understanding of the workings of the census and a presence of mind to be able to jump immediately to such an effective solution.
I am still concerned that there is this discrepancy between the two search services Ancestry and FS when performing the same US Census search. Most users would think that the same search of the same US Census should provide nearly the same search result.
This regular occurrence might cause some users to draw the conclusion that one of the two search services is better than the other. That's why I posted the question. Is one better?
A sincere Thank-You to you Julia for your help.
Ronald, have you tried the collection-specific search for each census on FS? (Gordon posted illustrated instructions in reply to a similar question: https://community.familysearch.org/en/discussion/101631/how-can-i-find-my-family-member-in-the-1920-census-in-the-family-search-data-bank#latest.)
I've never encountered a situation where none of the censuses were coughing up a person on FS, despite them being findable elsewhere. Usually it's just one year that's so badly misindexed that it doesn't match any of the reasonable search queries. Would you mind giving some specifics, so that we could explore what's going on?
As for "is one better?"... I have always had a lot of trouble using Ancestry's search. Part of it is probably user error due to lack of familiarity, but part of it is database structures that apply American rules to the rest of the world, resulting in nonsense like the wife of some guy with the surname Nyiri coming up as a top match when I search for Maria Nyiri. (If there's a way to rule those out, I haven't found it.) I'm generally much happier with FS's algorithm, despite its known stupidities (like not considering Nyiri to be a match to Nyiry).