Saturday, June 2, 2007

Marriage Indexing: From an Arbitrator


This is a request for help from one of your arbitrators.

To all of you who are following the instructions for indexing marriage records, a HUGE thank you. To those who haven't quite understood the necessity of entering records exactly as instructed - please take the time to read the instructions. Here are some of the mismatches I am encountering.

Birth and residence locations
Cities and states are being abbreviated. Instructions state no abbreviations. If the document reads Ft. Wayne, Ind. - enter Fort Wayne Indiana. With no punctuation.

Entering more or less than is on the document. If the document reads, Fort Wayne, do not add county or state. Just enter Fort Wayne. If it reads Prestonsburg, Ky, enter Prestonsburg Kentucky.

Entering Co. when it is on the document. Instructions state, do not enter County. If the document reads Allen Co. - enter Allen.

Entering street addresses and townships. This is another No No, per instructions. Just tab across or mark Blank.

(Sometimes these towns and counties are difficult to read - especially when you are not familiar with the area. I keep an atlas nearby to help define the clerk's handwriting.)

Problems: Entering W or Col. when it says White or Colored on the document. Enter exactly what you see.

Number of Marriages
This one is tricky. Instructions are to enter exactly what you see; however it appears that some study may be necessary to decide what to enter - especially when information on the document does not clearly answer the intent of the question. At any rate, if this is the first marriage, do not enter 1 - or One - or Once. Tab across this field or leave it blank. The intent of the question is to define the number of prior marriages.

Problem - entering more than is on the document. For example, if the document reads Geo - do not enter George. Enter exactly what is written (if you can read it).

Official's Name
Problem - entering the clerk's name. This field is for the minister or official who performed the ceremony. The only time the clerk's name should be entered is if he or she performed the ceremony.

Marriage Date
Problem - entering the recorded date instead of the marriage date. Sometime you need to read the entire paragraph to determine when the marriage occurred.

I sure do appreciate your help in making my job easier.

An arbitrator.

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