There are several reasons why modern indexes include a percentage of
poorly transcribed names. One reason is if the work of indexing may
be sub-contracted to a company based in a non-English speaking
However I think another, more general reason is that in the past ten,
fifteen years, we have become much more used to reading typed text on
a screen, such that I think we are losing the ability to "read"
handwriting. Naturally it gets worse with bad handwriting and is made
more challenging when the "descenders" and "ascenders" of the lines
above and below infringe the line one is trying to read. Couple this
with poor microfilming and it's any wonder that genealogists can read
anything at all.
Jeremy G Frankel
Berkeley, California, USA