Indexing VA birth records, but there are no headers to the columns!
I am trying to index some Virginia birth records. The sheet is typed and lovely and easy to read, but for one fatal flaw: there are no column headers on the page. With no headers on the page, it's impossible to tell which name is father, mother, or child, and I've no idea what the numbers in the last column are for. Should I mark this as not indexable? Should I make assumptions that the columns are last name, baby name & gender, father's name, mother's name, birth date, place of birth, and unknown? Or what?
- Looking at before and after reference images, NONE of them have column headers anywhere.
- The sparse information per row also makes surnames difficult. As written, the surname can only be written in one place and seems to apply to the full row. Should I then use that surname for every person (mother, father, child) on that row? Or leave surnames of parents blank because it's bad to assume?
- For no other reason but insatiable curiosity, I would love to know what the asterisks by some rows mean. Any insight would be wonderful!
HI, Dyany Munson,
You will find the column headings and an example of how to index the page in the project instruction examples. In the example they only list the surname once.
Sorry I can't help with the mystery of the *. I wondered the same thing.🙂
Hope this helps.1
I was peering at the instructions and deciding a) I KNOW you're right on the surnames, and b) I THINK you're right on the column headings. I have done enough indexing where the batch images very often don't match the example images that I'm terrified to make assumptions, but I think you're right.
ONE of these days we'll find out what the asterisks are for! 😂
Since the ditto mark " means 'same as above', it is not assuming anything to use the surname for each use. I would enter it, personally.0
The numbers in the last column you don't have to worry about. The asterisk could mean anything. I wouldn't worry about it. The child's gender should only be indexed when it is in parenthesis, which indicates that an unnamed male or female child was born to the parents. You will leave the child's given name blank when this occurs. You'll notice on the third entry that an unnamed male was born to James and Rosa, which is different from James that was born to Henry and Mary and James that was born to R.E. and Flora.1
I don't think genealogists or family historians use the asterisk to look up anything. 😎0
Maile L, Sorry if the brevity of my answer was confusing. When I stated, "In the example they only list the surname once" I was not referring to successive entries, I was referring to the fact that in the example they did not list the surname in the father's surname field or the mothers. The surname was only indexed for the child.
Hope I didn't confuse others.🙂1
We don't worry about the asterisk because it is not addressed on the example. However, for inquiring minds, it means that it is the registration of a colored person. The researcher who finds the individual by name will have access to the entire film and be able to read this from the Image #9 on the beginning of the filmstrip.
- The completed index and links to digital images will be freely accessible online to the general public when the collection is published.
The asterisk mystery has been solved. When I logged in to index a batch this morning, it directed me to again review the sample page of the typed image. The asterisk indicates the child is colored which should be selected in the Color or Race field. Ironically, the sample image for typed images does not have an asterisk for the line they are using to demonstrate, but they still indicated "colored" in that field. It's tricky because the last name is dittoed several times and the first instance does have an asterisk, but that doesn't mean they all do.1
@Missy Stowell Good catch! As @erutherford stated in another comment, The asterisk that is next to a surname/ditto mark means that the child's race is to be indexed as Colored. In the Field Help: On typed registers, an asterisk (*) preceding the surname indicates that the child is colored. If no asterisk is present and the color or race was not otherwise recorded, mark this field blank. 😎1
It is very refreshing to see that project instruction/field help changes are being made when they need to be corrected.1