Talk:World Archives Project: Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925 (Part 2)

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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 General 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

1. Inst = current month, Ult = previous month.

2. As you review these records please pay attention to the instruction regarding how titles should be keyed found here.

3. Fetherston H is an abbreviation for Fetherstonhaugh and should be keyed as seen in the Surname field.

4. Jane Smith, daughter of John Brown, should be keyed as Given Name: Jane Smith, Surname: Brown, unless there is information to show that Smith is her surname (e.g. "wife of William Smith" etc.) --Katerimmer (talk) 02:59, 18 January 2016 (MST)

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

Some keyers are keying age as 0 on birth records but it should be left blank. --Katerimmer (talk) 02:17, 20 January 2016 (MST)

Some keyers are keying the phrase "child of" in the prefix field when the birth announcement says "son" or "daughter", in which case they should actually be keying "son" or "daughter" as the prefix. Also they are keying the father's given name or initials in the primary person's given name field when it should be left blank if the child's name is not given. --Katerimmer (talk) 04:30, 20 January 2016 (MST)

Some keyers are keying the suffix Esq in the Father Surname field but it is not one of the suffixes which we are allowed to key in this field. The Esq suffix should be ignored in the father's name. The only suffixes which can be keyed in with a surname are Senior, Sr, Junior and Jr. --Katerimmer (talk) 05:36, 24 January 2016 (MST)

Some keyers are keying Mr, Dr, Lieut, Colonel, etc., in the Father's Given Name field. Just key the Given name and Middle Name in the Given Name field.

Some keyers are interpreting a death notice such as "At 48, High Street..." to mean that the age at death was 48, but in this form of wording it would be the house number and so is not to be keyed. Also, some keyers are keying the burial place as the Event Place for deaths, but should be keying the place where the person died instead. --Katerimmer (talk) 17:30, 23 March 2016 (MDT)

Relict means 'a widow.

Twin and Triplet should not be keyed in the Prefix field. --Katerimmer (talk) 06:09, 13 April 2016 (MDT)

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: If someone is described as Elizabeth, daughter of John Smith, do we key her surname as Smith (as in some other projects)?

A: Yes, we can infer the child's surname from their parents.

Q:Do we leave month blank if date shows for example 26 inst and date at top of newspaper is 6 Mar, or should we assume that the month is Feb.

A: The way I understand the instruction "DO NOT key the Event Month from the publication date at the top of the image" is that it is saying not to key the publication month if no event date is shown. A date such as "the 26th inst" is an event date, so we would be ok to use inst or ult to work out the month name from the publication date. If it says 26th inst but the publication date is 6 Mar, this would seem to be an error, but we generally don't correct errors in the image unless we are instructed to, so this should be keyed as 26 Mar.

Q: If a marriage or death record says eg Andrew Park son of John Park of Belfast, should we assume Andrew Park's residence is Belfast and enter that in residence field for main person. Also if it says someone is of Hollybrook Lodge - do we enter Hollybrook or full thing into residence field. As a supplementary if a street address is given do we assume this is Belfast and enter Belfast in residence or event field depending on what it refers to.

A: I have been keying the parent's residence as the primary person's residence in that type of situation, based on the marriage notice in Keying Image Sample 1 where the spouse's father's residence is labelled as Spouse Residence. I realise that there is no Spouse Residence field on this project but it seems to imply that you can use the parent's residence as their child's residence. I would not key Hollybrook Lodge as a residence place because it looks like the name of a house rather than a town or village. If there is only a street address we do not assume it is Belfast, just leave it blank.

Q. I am unsure of instructions re entering details for a birth where it says a baby is the son of eg George Sloan - I know I enter son of in Prefix field - do I then enter George in primary person first name field and Sloan in primary person surname field and also add George and Sloan in father's field,

A: Prefix = Son, Primary Person Given Name [Blank], Primary Person Surname Sloan, Father Given Name George, Father Surname Sloan. This is as shown for the Birth notice in Keying Image Sample 1.

Q. If someone is said to be in their 70th year - that actually means they are now 69 - so do I enter 69 in event age field or 70.

A: General Keying Standards say the following: If the record states that the individual is "in their 24th year" how should that be keyed? In this situation the age would be entered as 23 since they have not yet had their 24th birthday.

Q. I have found an entry that says to the Countess of Harewood a son. Do I just ignore that one as I have no surname for son or mother or father - or do I enter them all as Harewood.

A: Unfortunately, yes, you would need to skip over this entry as there is not a name given.

Q. I have checked keying standards and can't find out how to cope with this - if an entry says eg Red Hill near Belfast - when it is very likely Red Hill is the name of a house rather than a place - do I enter, Red Hill, Belfast or do I enter Belfast as the place or just leave it blank. I have found a few that have near somewhere as place. I also have one that says Tollymore, Fourtowns, Down - now I know Tollymore definitely is a house so do I forget my knowledge and put all three words in place field.

A: Do the best you can with the knowledge you have. As a rule we do not key "near" in the location fields. In your first example I would key Red Hill as the location. For the second example key it as seen with Tollymore, Fourtowns, Down in the location field.

Q. The paper is from Monday, July 14, 1851 and it shows in death "died suddenly Tuesday evening last" - do I calculate and enter for date "8" or leave it blank?

A: We do not have instructions for this project stating that dates can be "calculated" from the date of the paper.

I don't understand why the above answer has just been edited today, since this project is now "In Processing" so it is too late for keyers and reviewers to act on the changed answer (it used to say that we were allowed to calculate the date and now it says we are not.) --Katerimmer (talk) 16:22, 15 November 2016 (MST)

Q. If a birth notice indicates that a child lived long enough to be baptised but died shortly after should it be recorded as a death notice as well?

A: I don't think so, because there is nothing marked on keying image sample 1 to indicate this although it applies to the second entry on that sample. The instructions do say "Note: In some cases the notice was placed under the wrong heading. When this happens, key the correct notice type for the record." But in this type of case it was not placed under the wrong heading.

Q. If a birth notice states "Mrs. Lethan of three daughters" (without names), do I key 3 separate records for each daughter?

A: Yes, this is shown on keying image sample 1.

Q. In a marriage record I have the spouse named as "Margaret Wilson, youngest daughter of the late George Henderson". In these circumstances should the name be considered to be Margaret Wilson Henderson, or just Margaret Wilson?

A: Margaret Wilson Henderson.

Q. My very first image, and there is a blur all along one edge of the page, and that happens to be in the column that lists all the records I need to key. I can make out a word here and there, but not sure what to enter. I even tried adjusting contrast and brightness, but it's still illegible. What should I key in here?

A: If you can make out some of the letters in a word but not all of them, you can replace the illegible part with ?? - for instance, if you can see that the surname starts with the letter B but can't read the rest, you would key B?? in the surname field. If you can't make out any of the letters for a particular field, press CTRL and I to mark it as illegible. If you can't read any of the keyable information in an entry, you can press CTRL + SHIFT + I to mark the whole record as illegible. If you would rather let someone else have a go at it, then close the image set and then on your keying tool dashboard, highlight the image set and click the "Cancel" button. You can choose either "I do not wish to finish the image set at this time", which will send it back to be downloaded by another keyer, or "The image set has problems that prevent completion" and then you can fill in the box and put in a message about it being too blurry to read. This will send the image set to a small team who deal with problem image sets.

Q. The instructions for keying Event Year say that if the year in the date is not given in the notice, the publication year at the top of the image should be keyed. But what if for instance, the publication date is in January 1859 and the event date is in December? Shouldn't we key the previous year (i.e. 1858) in this situation? --Katerimmer (talk) 05:32, 10 January 2016 (MST)

A: In this instance it is reasonable to key the previous year. Seanbmc (talk) 10:29, 11 January 2016 (MST)

Q: As far as I know, counties on Ireland, are always referred to as County Kerry, County Tralee. How should they be keyed? Should County be omitted?

A: The current general keying standards state: If the record says Jackson County should I enter County? Yes, unless it is a County field it should be entered as seen on the record.

There is nothing to the contrary in the project instructions so we should follow the general standards and key the word county if it is on the image. (By the way, there is no such county as County Tralee.) --Katerimmer (talk) 09:07, 11 January 2016 (MST)

Q: If in a birth notice where no given name is stated, do we still key the child's surname as the fathers surname? --Jfmjfm7 (talk) 11:10, 17 January 2016 (MST)

A: Yes, or the mother's surname if the father's surname is not stated. --Katerimmer (talk) 02:12, 18 January 2016 (MST)

Q: The instructions state that we should include Son, Daughter, Stillborn etc. in the Prefix field if the given name of the child is not included. If both Stillborn and Son are both included, do I list both or just Son?

A: Key both. Thanks! Seanbmc (talk) 12:45, 5 February 2016 (MST)

Q: Birth Notice: Above it is says that if a child's name is not stated but it says son of eg George Sloan, we would put "son" in prefix, "blank" in given name and "Sloan" in surname field. However, the keying standards state:


On birth and death records "son", "daughter", "stillborn", "child", "unknown", or "not stated" may appear. Key these as prefixes if no name is given for the child. If "child of Robert Ferrars" appears, key "child of" as a prefix then key the father name as Robert Ferrars.

AM I wrong in assuming that we put "child of" in prefix field, "Robert" in the given name field and "Ferrars" in the Surname field? This is contrary to what is stated above.

Please Clarify. Thanks!

A: There is no discrepancy as the keying standards are saying that Robert should be keyed in the father's given name field, not the main person's given name field. --Katerimmer (talk) 16:25, 2 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: On a death notice, it is stated that an individual was "lost at sea, off the coast of Scotland". What, if anything, should be entered as event place? at sea? Scotland? or left blank?

A: At sea. --Katerimmer (talk) 03:05, 20 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: On marriages sample (BelfastNewsletter_NewspaperPage_Key_1.JPG) both Residence Place and Spouse Residence marked, however there is only one key field - should both places be keyed with comma or just primary person residence?

A: Just the primary person's residence. --Katerimmer (talk) 10:00, 24 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: I have a notice to Creditors about a deceased Anna Gore's estate, the article states her death date etc. Do I key this as a Death Notice or ignore it? Thanks

A: It should be ignored as it is not in the BMD notices. --Katerimmer (talk) 01:09, 14 May 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.

The dropdown menus for Prefix and Spouse Prefix should be expanded to include more entries. At present, the only options are Mr, Mrs, Ms and Dr. We are unlikely to come across many Ms entries, but Miss and Rev are very common in this project and should be added. Also, the keying instructions for Given Name and Surname say that Son, Daughter, Child should be keyed in the Prefix field in certain situations, so those should also be added to the Prefix dropdown menu, plus that part of the instructions should be copied into the keying instructions for the Prefix field to avoid confusion. --Katerimmer (talk) 02:01, 11 January 2016 (MST)

A: I have added to the prefix description and updated the Prefix dictionary. Unfortunately, we were not be able to add son, daughter, etc. to the prefix dictionary.

Keying image sample 2 has "County Louth" marked up as the Event Place for the birth entry, but it should be the Residence Place instead. If it were the Event Place the entry would say "At..." A place name just after someone's name like it is in this entry is their place of residence. --Katerimmer (talk) 01:53, 11 February 2016 (MST)

A: I agree and have updated the image sample. Thanks. Seanbmc (talk) 13:40, 23 February 2016 (MST)

Sample 1 indicates that "Father Prefix & Given" should be keyed. However, doing so is listed as a common error: "Some keyers are keying Mr, Dr, Lieut, Colonel, etc., in the Father's Given Name field. Just key the Given name and Middle Name in the Given Name field." To avoid confusion, the keying sample should be changed to indicate that the prefix should not be keyed.

A: I have updated the sample. Thank you for catching this. Seanbmc (talk) 12:32, 26 April 2016 (MDT)