18 January 2012

What's Wrong Here?

     I recently saw the following ancestry.com commercial on tv and realized there was a pretty glaring error less than 30 seconds in.  I can't believe I didn't notice it before. It lead me to check out the video on youtube (which is longer than the tv commercial) and see what else I could find. Do you see it?

     That's not a World War One Draft Card - it's a World War Two Draft Card, specifically from California.  Also incorrect? That's not a 1910 census record - I think it might be 1870, when Mr George Littlewood wasn't even alive.  And it looks like the family tree is wrong too. A quick search turns up George's death records and his mother's maiden name was Owen, not whatever 'P' name is in the video. 

     As I said, this is a longer version of the commercial they show on tv, and I'm sure there are more errors. But does this really matter? Yes and No. I would think that Ancestry.com would want to represent themselves accurately. There are probably a ton of people who recognized the draft card error  long ago. I know I won't see this ad again without being distracted by it. But for those that don't see it? All they need to know is that these types of records are available. 

     I don't know, I just kind of feel bad for George Littlewood. He's stuck in a bad family tree which isn't just online, it's on national television (only half joking here). 


Sarah Farr said...

I think you’re right in saying that it does and doesn't matter. A company like Ancestry.com must want to represent themselves as knowledgeable and as being able to help genealogist find accurate information. I am sure this commercial’s goal is to encourage individuals to begin their research rather than recruiting experienced genealogists. However, even if most people don't notice those discrepancies - some do. Soon, you being to get blog posts like these, showcasing a lack of detail from the company when that attention to detail is sooooo important in family history research.

This is a well done commercial. It makes the research look easy (but not too easy - just do a little work and then follow the leaves!) and uses emotion to make the research look relevant. It is surprising that there would be errors in what the spokesperson/actor is saying and the documents that she supposedly used when that is the entire point of the commercial. But, for those who don’t spot the errors, it really is a good commercial.

Family Treesures said...

A very valid point, and I've been saying it for years now, there is nothing worse than heading in the wrong direction, except heading in the wrong direction enthusiastically!

Whist they have a good system, it would be foolish to believe all the information is correct as shown on Ancestry.com. In fact I know of people who, to protect their information have posted incorrect information on Ancestry.com. It just goes to show, when doing Family History and Genealogy Research, don't believe everything you find online!!!


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