The Africa Conundrum Revisited

On 4 March 2019, I posted (The Africa Conundrum) about a problem I was having with Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE)—it did not recognize Africa as a birth location.

When I tried the following search in the 1860 census:

SEARCH—BIRTH—LOCATION: Africa (Exact)

Map of Africa (LOC.gov photo)
Map of Africa (LOC.gov photo)

Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) told me it had 27,493,971 hits. For whatever reason, Ancestry’s search engine would not recognize Africa as a birthplace for census years 1850-1940, even though BIRTH—LOCATION is a search delimiter for each of those census years.

Times change.

When I tried the following search in the 1860 census today (27 June 2019), I got the following result:

SEARCH—BIRTH—LOCATION: Africa (Exact) <313 hits>

What’s more, they appear generally to be relevant hits.

You can do a similar search in any of the censuses for 1850-1940—and get generally relevant results!

So, did Ancestry hear about my blog post and fix this problem? I like to think so, but who knows? The main thing is, it’s not a problem anymore!

How can researchers access the federal population census? You may use Heritage Quest Online from home with a valid SLPL library card and PIN, or at Central Library or any of our branches.

You may use Ancestry Library Edition at Central Library or any of our branches.

Here’s a list of SLPL reference databases.

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