Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Be Misled By the Index

Often when researching, you find a family member listed in an index. It is tempting to just accept the information in the index and continue researching. That is never a good idea. Whenever possible, it pays to look for and examine the record that is indexed. Besides the additional information that you will learn from the record, there are often errors in the index that can only be found by looking at the actual record. Check to see if the names are spelled incorrectly or reversed or just completely incorrect, genders are incorrect, ages or dates are wrong, place names are wrong or if there are other major errors in the indexing of your record before you copy your family's information into your files or program. Indexes are very useful, but they are only a guide to finding the actual records. The actual records are the real source of information for your tree. Sometimes the original records are complex because of format, language or handwriting. That is when you need to hire a professional to examine the records and extract and synthesize the vital information for you.

Jacobson and Jacobson Genealogy Researchers  helping you grow your family tree.