A couple of years ago, I figured out WHY that obscure little commune in France was allegedly the place of death of so many of my really ancient ancestors....ancestors from all over the place, going back to the 4th Century AD...I knew it couldn't be true and suspected a computer-generated mistake.
Haven't you ever found a totally impossible place of birth or death for an ancestor and questioned it? I sure have!
I've found a Druid priest supposedly dying in the South Pacific, or a 18th Century iron-monger from Scotland managing to die in Alaska., or a king from the 13th Century dying in "Europe, Fayette, Georgia, United States". That's the one that cracked it for me- I knew as soon as I saw "Europe, Fayette, Georgia" that someone (without a clue as to the place of death) must have meant to enter "Europe" and didn't notice the sometimes tricky drop-down list, and accidentally accepted the "Georgia, USA" place name.
Well, I finally "cracked the code". on Y, Somme, Picardie, France. ... here's how it happens that masses of people supposedly died in a tiny commune.
1. An amateur genealogist who isn't particular about form is entering information about an ancestor. When he comes to the field that asks for the PLACE of DEATH, he realizes that he doesn't know the year-has absolutely no idea.
2. Somehow unable to just leave the PLACE of DEATH field blank, the genealogist feels compelled to enter SOMETHING in that field, so he enters "Y", as in "yes". (Like "yes, my 28th great grandfather definitely died at some point in the past (duh!), I just don't know when.")
3. When "Y" is entered in the PLACE field, "Y, Somme, Picardie, France" pops up first in that sometimes-helpful drop-down list that appears next to the place field.
4. The person entering the info isn't paying enough attention and unknowingly ACCEPTS "Y, Somme, Picardie, France", and doesn't notice that instead of "YES" for place of death, it's now "Y, Somme" etc.
5. WE see it, accept it without question, and duplicate it, and on and on it goes....
A little knowledge of history and a little more curiosity helps avoid some of this stuff, but mistakes are bound to happen.
Anyway, I've been going through the 14K+ list of names on my tree and deleting "Y, Somme" etc everywhere I find it. If any of my ancestors actually DID die there, too bad.
[I originally posted this as a reply to another thread re: Y, Somme, Picardie, France, but most people are still in the dark about it so I decided to re-post it under it's own title; I apologize for the redundancy but I'm just trying to help. Since then I've created a blog just to deal with this seeming anomaly; access it here http://ysommepicardiefrance.blogspot.com/