Friday 23 January 2015

Source information for Ancestry's new Death Indexes

I reported yesterday on the latest release from Ancestry: the Scotland and Northern Ireland Death Index, 1989–2013. I described it as a strange collection, and the lack of detail about its source didn't make it any less strange.

A similar collection, the England and Wales Death Index, 2007–2013, was released on the same day and it didn't reveal any insightful information about its source, either.

So, I contacted Ancestry and have the following details to pass on.
  • The source of both collections is GreyPower Deceased Data, compiled by Wilmington Millennium, a business that facilitates the prevention/detection of deceased identity fraud. (If you're really keen, you can Google the company name and get a clearer idea of what they do.)
  • The data is compiled from funeral directors' records and obituary notices.
  • The Scotland and Northern Ireland Index is estimated to include some 45% of deaths during the 25-year period.
  • The England and Wales Index is estimated to represent 55% of deaths during the seven-year period.
Knowing the level of coverage will help to explain why so many of you (thanks for the emails!) can't find people you know to have died during these time frames.

UPDATE, Saturday 24 Jan: Ancestry has now added some of the above to the search page 'Source Information' for each index.