Wiki:World Archives Project: Alabama, Surname Files, 1901–2005

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Revision as of 08:06, 6 July 2016 by Seanbmc (talk | contribs) (Questions and Answers)
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Feel free to add to or edit information in this discussion tab as necessary. Please take time to become familiar with the World Archives Keying Standards and be sure to read all instructions on the main project page. (Please note that in case of a discrepancy, project level instructions always trump general keying standards.)

Extra Keying Helps

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

Do NOT enter names in the Content form type if they do not have a vital date connected to them (birth, marriage or death). Use only the date that appears in the article, do NOT use a date that has been handwritten or stamped on the sheet.

If there is no content in the article then please change the form type to either Cover page etc., Image with no data or Duplicate Image, which ever applies.

Questions and Answers

If you have a keying question that is not answered on the project page or in any of the information above, click “EDIT” and ask it here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.

  Q: Are partial dates accepted for the person to be keyed? E.G. if it states the person died 11th May but there is no year.

A: Yes, partial dates are acceptable. Seanbmc (talk) 09:56, 9 May 2016 (MDT)

Q: What if it only has the month, does that still count as a partial date?

A: Yes, that would count.

Q: Many times an obituary states that a person died on a "Sunday" or a "Monday". Even though a death date is not listed, a date of death can be determined from the date of the obituary and the day of the week the death occurred. May this calculated date be keyed?

A:We don't calculate to get dates unless project instructions dictate otherwise. ALSO hand written dates on images may not be used to "date" events listed. --Rhmaynard (talk) 09:32, 13 May 2016 (MDT)

Q: When an engagement is written and it includes the date of when the wedding will occur, should we use that as the wedding date of the two people mentioned?

A: Yes, if the future wedding date is listed it can be used.

Q: When an article discusses a couple celebrating their golden anniversary on a specific date are we to use that date as their marriage date? Sometimes parties are thrown for a golden anniversary but it could not be the specific marriage date.

A: No, unless it states the date they got married do not use the date of the party.

Q: I've come across several Bible page entries of dates and family information but all handwritten and scribbled in... do I enter this as content and decipher the scribbles as best I can or file all these kind of data as cover page?

A: Yes, do your best to discern the writing in the bible. If you can determine what type of event, when and who it should be keyed.

Q: Can we use the printed date in the lead on the newspaper article, such as SELMA, ALA, Oct 16, if it says 'died on this date'? (Hope that makes sense...)

A: Yes, you may use this date. This would be like keying the newspaper date when the entry says "Instant." Seanbmc (talk) 09:37, 2 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: Can we infer a death from an article that reports a person missing in action? Here is what the article says "...was reported missing on Dec 30 and has since been declared killed in action". So would Dec 30 be the death date to use for this person ?

A: Yes, this date made be inferred. Seanbmc (talk) 09:38, 2 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: When it says vital date does it mean each person mentioned in a image must have a vital date associated with them? For example: In an obituary where it lists the date died do we only enter information about the deceased and their spouse on the same line or do we also enter the information of the other people mentioned in the article. Thank you.

A Yes, it is only the person that the vital date applies to and a spouse, if mentioned, that should be keyed, all others should be ignored.

Q: Frequently in a death announcement it will state the deceased in a "native of .....". Should this location be used as place of birth?

A Yes, a native of or born in can be used as the place of birth.

Q: Keying Example (example 2) in regard to Nathan and Kate Burton: It shows that when Nathan's info is entered, the marriage info is not repeated in regard to Kate. Some keyers follow this, others are repeating the info for the spouse, when the spouse has unique info. Should we accept both ways in reviewing?

A: Yes, accept both.

Q: I have some pages that list names alphabetically in several columns per page. Each last name is only listed once, and everyone with that surname is listed below by first name only. The top of the page is cut off, so I can't see the last name of the first listings in each column. I can tell, however, that the last name must start with "Clou," for example, because it is between "Clough" and "Clouser." Should I key these last names as "Clou*" or leave the surname blank, or not key these names at all?

A: Assuming there are vital dates attached to these, please key the information that is available. If you know the surname is cutoff, key what you can and add ?? marks on the end.

Q: When I find a record for a man with more than one wife, do I just pick one of the women to list as his spouse? Or do I create multiple records for the same man, where each record lists a different spouse? (In this case, there are no marriage dates, or other birth/death dates for the wives, so I can't key separate records in the women's names - I only have birth/death dates for the man.)

A: Yes, create multiple records for each spouse.

Q: I have come across an obituary that has no date, but it lists the individual's age. Do I key this as a content page or do I mark it as a cover page? (16 Jun 2016)

A: Only key records with vital dates. Thank you. Seanbmc (talk) 10:44, 16 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: Are all hand written documents to be keyed as cover pages or if they have dates do they get keyed as content pages? I ask because all of the sample images for the content page are typed documents. (16 Jun 2016)

A: If a record is "handwritten" with a vital date, it should be keyed, i.e. if the whole record is handwritten and it is obvious the information is congruous. The instruction to not key handwritten or stamped dates applies to avoiding keying dates that are incongruous with the actual record being keyed. Seanbmc (talk) 10:48, 16 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: What are we supposed to use for a page that appears only with a name on it? Image with no data or Cover page?

A: Cover page. --Katerimmer (talk) 16:05, 17 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: Where do we key the maiden name of a woman who is the primary person in the record? (17 Jun 2016)

A: Unfortunately, this name will not be keyed.

Q: If I find a woman with a maiden and married name and is primary I have been keying both into surname field. This is according to the keying standards and what I have been doing for years. Incorrect?

A: In the current standards it states, "If an alias field has not been included in a project and alias names are found, the name should be ignored. ... If an alias field has not been included in a project and alias names are found, the name should be ignored." For this project there is not an alias field for the primary individual but there is for the spouse. So if the record is a death record for a female and her husband's name is also included you could enter her maiden name in the Surname field as her married surname would be included in the spouse surname field.

Q: If a vital date is provided as ca. (circa) 1857 do we enter it or should it be listed as a cover page if no other vital date is provided?

A: If this vital date is connected to a person then yes, it can be used.

Q: How do we key information that is spread over two obviously consecutive pages? Example: The first page lists the names of 13 children and their dates of birth. The first line on the second page is: "Of these 13 children, the first five were born in Columbia Co, Ga, & the remaining eight were born in Tuscaloosa Co, Ala..." Do I go back to the previous page and add the places of birth? There are no vital dates on the second page, just the places of birth.

A: No, do not key information from one page to the next.

Q: If date of death is entered as Armistice Day, can I enter November 11 or is that considered inferring a date?

A: Yes, that would be reasonable Seanbmc (talk) 16:06, 30 June 2016 (MDT)

Q: Say a place of birth or death is listed as "near Fort Deposit," or "at the Davis Plantation west of Fort Deposit." Would the location be keyed as Fort Deposit in both examples, as the (presumably) nearest town?

A: Since it lists "Fort Deposit" and "Fort Deposit" is a geographical location, this should be keyed. Seanbmc (talk) 09:04, 6 July 2016 (MDT)

Q: Example: Obituary is dated Jan. 11, and death is given as "Monday." I know we can not calculate the date of death, but can we at least key the month as January, since the 11th is more than a week into the month, therefore "Monday" must have been in January as well?

A: (Quoting above) We don't calculate to get dates unless project instructions dictate otherwise. Seanbmc (talk) 09:04, 6 July 2016 (MDT)


If you have a suggestion or would like to make an addition to the project page, click “EDIT” and post your suggestion here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.

In keying these records, I really think we're missing a lot by not keying all records PERTAINING to Vital Events. I've had to mark nearly all of the obituaries and death notices as Cover Pages because the didn't contain dates, only the person's age and a day of the week. The only one I've actually been able to key (out of probably 15) was because it was about a prominent resident and it just happened to mention that he married his wife in 1902. If that year hadn't been included, I would have had to pass that record up as well. I think that we should reconsider the instructions. ~lrshea~

A: I appreciate your concern about the records being missed with the current format. Deciding what to key and what not to key was a difficult decision for this project, and what we are currently doing is a balance of much thought and debate. At this time we will not be able to change the instructions, but I hope you will take comfort in the fact that all of these images will be available for anyone to browse. Seanbmc (talk) 14:20, 25 May 2016 (MDT)

I agree with lrshea, we are missing so much info on people. We did an Alabama project before, and we captured all names, not just names that had dates attached. And browsing the project after it is live, is only helpful if you think you might possibly have ancestors/relatives in Alabama.

I am very disappointed in the answer given here because as others have stated, we are missing a lot of information because many of the article do not have an "official" date associated with them. Just because all images will be available for viewing doesn't mean that people will find them. Most people search for names and don't just go browsing through a collection of articles just hoping that they may come across an article pertaining to someone that they are searching for. This was a very poor decision! - Monica (16 Jun 2016)

Is it possible to add a prefix/suffix field for the spouse. There are a lot of jr/srs/1st/2nd names in this package.

Also could it be possible to add a field for parents of the primary person and a parent field for the spouse.

A: Unfortunately we will not be able to add any fields at this point. Thank you for your concern though. Seanbmc (talk) 14:20, 25 May 2016 (MDT)

The Keying Standards state, If there is no suffix field provided, the following common suffixes may be keyed into the surname field, following the surname: “Junior” “Jr” “Senior” “Sr” - wouldn't this apply to the Spouse Surname Field?

A: Yes, this would apply to the spouse, so the suffix may be inserted as per the standard. Seanbmc (talk) 09:39, 2 June 2016 (MDT)