I was looking up an ancestor the other day: James Wendell Philips Glascow. What a name! I thought it was such a unique name that I’d try searching on just the complete name.
On FamilySearch.org I found several listings for this man. The top five entries listed were three marriages in California, his WWI draft registration, and his WWII draft registration, all using his full name. Also the 13th entry was the 1930 census for him and his wife, my Aunt Helen. I went over to Ancestry.com to see if anything different came up. I expected to see some of the same things, since Ancestry also has the draft registrations and some California marriages as well.
Surprisingly, NONE of these showed up at the top of the Ancestry search results. Only the first two results gave his full name, and they were two entries in WW2 Navy muster rolls. Where were the draft registration cards? I know that Ancestry has those as well. So I used Ancestry’s filters to drill down to Military > Draft, Enlistment and Service > U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918. He didn’t show up at all in the 65 results for that database.
I went back FamilySearch to compare the results. I had searched for “Glascow.” FamilySearch gave me results for “Glascow” (with a C) and “Glasgow” (with a G). His name actually shows up as “Glasgow.” Ancestry showed me Glascow, Glascoe, Glasco but not Glasgow.
Knowing this, I searched Ancestry again using the form “Glas?ow.” This search brought up both Glascow and Glasgow and showed the draft registrations that I had expected, the Navy muster rolls found earlier, and a veteran’s tombstone application. All these records used his full name. Then came a 1940 census for “James W P Glasgow” and the 1930 census with Aunt Helen.
What does this mean for you? FamilySearch’s search engines think differently than Ancestry’s search engines, and having them both makes our research better. Just as we share and compare our research with others, we can use both FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com to search for our ancestors, knowing and expecting that they might find different results. It’s kind of like being two different researchers at the same time!