folkarchivist

Mc and Mac’s on Ancestry searches

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM

So I learned something this morning.  Many, many, many of Ancestry (www.ancestry.com/.ca/.co.uk/etc)’s transcriptions have Mc and Mac names as “Mc” space “remainder of name”.  So, for instance, McQuillan was found as “Mc Quillan”, but ONLY when I did a specific search that way.  Searching  “McQuillan” did not bring them up (at least not in the first 10 pages of results).  Searching on “Quillan” brought up mostly “Quillan”, but also some “Mc Quillan”, but no “McQuillan” (again, within the first few pages of results).  I discovered this when I knew exactly what location and page I wanted to see in a census, and an earlier search had brought up no results.  Yet there they were–McQuillans! (Yes, I submitted a correction to ancestry).

Having some Irish and Scottish lines I’m tracing, this came as a big surprise for me.  I’ve been searching variations on names, but never considered putting a “space” between the Mc/Mac and the remainder of the name.

I’m sure Ancestry has some reasoning for doing the transcriptions this way (even if they aren’t strictly transcriptions as they do not match precisely the original source).  I just wish they had worked their search engine to understand that McQuillan as the same as Mc Quillan.

Well, back to searching..who knows what new things this might turn up!

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  1. And they don’t just do this for personal names, but, at least on some censuses, for place names as well; searching for people in McMinn – excuse me, Mc Minn – County, Tennessee drives me crazy!

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