Sunday, January 30, 2011

FamilySearch: database errors and images not loading

Today Ol' Myrt found a database error at when searching for William B. Wright (whom I know to be William Brockerman Wright, married to Emma Yearsley).

In looking for his Utah Death Certificate at, I clearly see him listed, twice for some reason.

Hit list for William B Wright search in Utah Death Certificates collection at

Clicking on the first entry, William B. Wright gives us the following where Emma is his MOTHER, and his known wife is listed as Sarah. In fact the hit list entry is for William the older, BUT the indexed results are for William his son.

This also means the hit list screen pulled the name for his spouse from the "mother" section of the database behind the screen. I don't know if the error is in the label of the form, or the data field the form points to.

Erroneous indexed entry when searching for William B Wright search in Utah Death Certificates collection at

OK, but I still wanted to see the death certificate, so I clicked to view the image but it won't load. There is only a black, unscrollable image where the document should be.


So I decided to click on the 2nd entry for Wm. B. Wright where Emma Yearsley is listed as spouse. This returns a death record NOT for Wm. B. Wright, but for Annie W. Evans, where Wm. and Emma are the parents of Annie.

Again, I could not load the image in my Firefox web browser.

Alas, using the search term William B Wright, and specifying the Utah Death Certificate Collection at, I could not find the death certificates for either William Brockerman Wright (died 30 Oct 1916, Salt Lake City, Utah) or his son William Brockerman Wright (died 24 Sept 1925 Salt Lake City, Utah).

It would appear that the Utah death records are inadequately searchable, as shown by the woefully incomplete "hit list". The list could easily show wife and spouse of the deceased. Additional searches may require my specifying the death date, something that wouldn't help researchers who don't know already know this information.

It is wild that the "hit list" fields don't match the indexed entry fields. A FamilySearch programmer might review how the "hit list" fields are labeled, and to what data field the call is sent.

Otherwise, researchers may assume there are NO death records for either of my William Brockerman Wrights.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. Is it possible that this is one of the collections where only church members can view/save record images? Chris Paton wrote about this for the case of Belgian church records last week.

  2. I am an LDS Church member. And I don't think that Utah public vital records are in the category Chris spoke of in his blog.

  3. Ol' Myrt here just received the following communication from Paul Nauta at

    "We have been tracking the issue of patron confusion in the search engine when the person matched on the record is not the primary. There is code checked into the current development track to bold the matched person on the record. We have reason to believe that this will help in the future. Ultimately we intend to clearly state the relationship of the matched person to the primary person in the result set, however this new results layout will not be coming in the current development cycle due to deliver in the next few months.

    Our data manager has also tracked down the image error you noted and is working with the data engineering team to identify and resolve the issue. Thanks for the heads up and feedback."

  4. You can find Utah Death Certificates at this website.