If the child's last name is not listed on the Baptism Register, should I enter the last name of the parents as the child's last name, or should I enter the child's last name as "blank"?
Hello David and thank you for sharing your batch. When the child's last name is not listed in this project, you should mark the field blank. The example shows that only the parents get the surname indexed. This is not the case for all the projects, so you will want to look at the examples when you change to other collections.
I have found this to be one of the flaws in the indexing instructions for some projects. (Surely there should be consistency when the same issue is involved?)
Once the indexed records get online, this type of indexing prevents many being found. A constant reminder that one often has to make two searches for the same event. If I am looking for the christening of a John Brown, whose father was William Brown, I have often had to search for "John", entering "William Brown" as his father, as well as what one would commonly expect to do: search for "John Brown" and add the father as "William".
If only project instructions would follow the "common sense" route, instead of this strict adherence to an "index exactly as seen" instruction. My experience shows that the two formats can even appear on the same page of a parish register. For example:
"24 February 1792 John son of William Brown
(further down the page)
13 March 1793 Charles Brown son of William"
John & Charles Brown, both sons of William Brown, but they have to be indexed in a different manner. Until I "got wise" to this practice it meant my missing the indexed record for John, as I inputted the last name in the "wrong" field when I made a search.
In summary, Melissa is perfectly correct in her advice but, boy, does this make things difficult for researchers!
The owners of the documents decide what they want in the instructions. That is one reason instructions can vary for what looks to be similar records.