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:


Map of Africa ( photo)
Map of Africa ( 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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