Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Indexes

Card Index File at Los Angeles Public Library
Indexes are a mixed bag in genealogical research. Indexes can seem like a great source but they are only a finding aid. Because indexes are an extraction, that original source they refer to must be found and verified. Indexes can suffer from all kinds of problems including spelling errors, mistranscriptions, and omissions.

Should you use indexes? Yes! They are an important finding aid when you need to know where to find something in the original record or when you need to order a record. Just remember to always follow-up with the original record.

Indexes are great for finding information about an ancestor when you lack a date or are unsure of a place. Indexes help you order a Social Security Application or a court record, find a burial place or learn about a group that your ancestor was part of.

There are indexes that include women and those that are specific to women. A search on a genealogy website, a catalog like the FamilySearch Catalog, or the internet will help reveal these. Some indexes to consider include:

GenealogyBank - Social Security Death Index
Ancestry.com - US Craftsperson Files, 1600-1995
Ancestry.com - Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI)
FamilySearch - Index to References to American Women in Colonial Newspapers through 1800
The Quilt Index
Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records

GenealogyBank Blog - Genealogy 101: Indexes, An Important Part of Genealogy Research
FamilySearch Catalog 

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