Ancestry Shenanigans

Marriage Certificate Index

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Certificate Screenshot
image 1: screenshot of Indiana marriage certificate index entry at Ancestry
Image 2: Indiana marriage certificate previously downloaded from Ancestry
image 3: Indiana marriage certificate on Ancestry website

Y’all, I have no idea what’s going on at Maybe they’re just updating their existing Indiana certificate databases? Or maybe they’re slowly removing certificate images? I tried looking up a 1944 Indiana marriage certificate yesterday. It should have been there, but there were no images showing. All the entries looked like the first image, with the “No Image Text-only Collection” notice.

That can happen. Licensing agreements change, and whole collections can suddenly (and permanently) disappear. Always download images to your local storage when you find them. Don’t rely on the images being available in ten minutes, much less in perpetuity. It could be something benign, like they are extending the year range and adding newer records. I noticed that the index entry for my step-father’s 2016 death is now included. I think the Indiana death certificate database ended with 2013 or 2016 previously? But it could be that their licensing agreement for the images has or will soon expire. Or it could be that they couldn’t reach a new agreement with the state of Indiana. Or it could be that Indiana has decided to be a rat bastard because they could make more money requiring people to obtain certified copies directly from the state. That last one would really hurt, because you have to be close kin to order certified copies, and you don’t need certified copies for genealogy research.

Weirdly, I can still access the certificates I saved links for (thank you, Evernote!). They haven’t removed them. They just aren’t linked to the index entries anymore. But if you look at the last image, there is no information below the database name. There should be a year range and surname range. There’s nothing. Very strange. Personally, I don’t think this will really impact me. Most of the people I needed to research in Indiana were confined to my step-father’s family, and I’m done working on them.

Also weird is that some of the certificates that were not visible yesterday are back today. This gives me hope that the whole thing is just a temporary glitch, and that they’re actually expanding the Indiana certificate image holdings. But as of right now, there are no marriage certificate images accessible from the index entries. Birth and death certificates are a craps shoot.