Monday, 15 July 2019

Ancestry Updates Obituary Collections and indexes — how useful?

Ancestry has posted these updates.

Caribbean, Obituary Index2003-201196,557
Canada, Obituary Collection1898-20188,507,085
UK and Ireland, Obituary Index2004-20184,855,799
U.S., Obituary Collection1930-Current178,827,618

Let's look at Canada. According to Statistics Canada in 2018, there were 279,936 deaths reported in Canada. As the population increases and ages, the number has increased. It was 217,000 in the year 2000, so about 4,719,000 deaths since 2000.
If you search year by year the Ancestry Canada, Obituary Collection includes 1,096,540 entries since 2000. That's 23% of all deaths.
It's less than that as the database includes many duplicates. In a sample, I found 24 unique entries out of 42. That means coverage of a bit over 10% of all deaths.

I was suspicious of the claim of 8.5 million entries in the Canada collection. As a check, there are 11,451 deaths in the database for people named Smith which typically accounts for 1 - 2 % of  all events. For the 10 years around 2005 Smith accounts for 1.1% of entries which would suggest a bit over 1 million entries in the Canada Obituary collection, not over 8 million.

Where are the other 7 million?


Susan said...

I didn't find the Canadian Obits helpful, couldn't find the ones I knew should be there. :(

Midnightblue said...

The missing 7 million are likely in the same place as all the missing images on Family Search.