Talk:World Archives Project: Colonial Families in the US

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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


It says in the project instructions "Please Note: When there is more than one spouse, please repeat (rekey) the name of the primary person." Therefore, if there is a second spouse, a second record should be keyed for the primary person, with the second spouse's name keyed in the spouse name fields. In many cases this is not being done.


It says in the project instructions "Every name should be keyed as a primary record with the exception of spouse. Spouses should be keyed into the spouse field." In many cases primary records are being created for spouses. Details of parents of spouses are often being ignored. Please create a primary record for the father and enter the mothers name in his spouse field.

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: Clarification please. There are no keying fields for spouse alias or maiden names. Do you want us to rekey the entire record with the maiden or previous marriage name?

A: We have added Alias fields to key into. Seanbmc (talk) 12:58, 26 April 2016 (MDT)
Q: I have just downloaded an image set to review and I don't see an Alias field. I thought that fields could not be added to a project once it had been released, unless it was withdrawn and then started all over again? --Katerimmer (talk) 13:06, 26 April 2016 (MDT)
A: These fields were added before the project went live, but for some reason they were not showing up in the keying tool. They should now be visible. Thanks.Seanbmc (talk) 13:45, 27 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: These fields are showing now but as I am reviewing sets, which I presume were completed before the update, all of the entries made are now in the wrong fields. No problem correcting them but the stats are going to be horrendous!

Q: Many pages start with a list of Issue with no surnames. Should we key these with blank surnames, infer a surname based on later entries or omit them altogether?

A: You may infer surnames where applicable. If the surname is not obvious or available to key, leave the field blank. Seanbmc (talk) 12:58, 26 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: Continuing the above.. whereas we would not normally infer information from previous or following pages if it becomes clear on page 2 what the surname is do you want us to amend the page 1 details accordingly?

A: Information gleaned from another page does not need to be keyed. This may become confusing. Seanbmc (talk) 12:58, 26 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: In addition to the other question about keying surnames that must have started on a previous page, I am also coming across many names that are "Samuel of Ipswitch" or "Thomas of Beverly" and I am not sure how to continue with the rest of the keying - first, second marriages of these people and then kids... What do I do for surname in this situation?

A: I am not entirely sure of the exact question. If it is unclear what surname should be keyed, and the surname is not clearly written with the given name, leave the surname blank. Seanbmc (talk) 12:58, 26 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: Where there is no d.o.b but there is a baptismal date should this be ignored and the d.o.b fields left blank?

A: Only key birth information into the birth fields. Seanbmc (talk) 12:58, 26 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: How should we enter a second spouse?

A: It says in the project instructions "Please Note: When there is more than one spouse, please repeat (rekey) the name of the primary person." Therefore, if there is a second spouse, a second record should be keyed for the primary person, with the second spouse's name keyed in the spouse name fields. --Katerimmer (talk) 01:39, 25 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: In cases there are record goes like this "Primary person b, b place, d, married Person#1 b, b place, d, daughter of Person#2, who married Person#3" after keying Primary person should be additional records keyed as well? If yes which one?

A: The first record should have Primary Person with Person #1 in the spouse name fields. Then there would be a record with Person#2 as the primary person and Person#3 as their spouse, if I have understood correctly. Or if Person#3 is a second spouse of Person#1, there would be a separate record for Person#3 with Person#1 as their spouse. --Katerimmer (talk) 01:39, 25 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: So if the spouse of the Primary remarries, we use the widow/widower of the primary as the next primary and include their new spouse, if I understand your answer correctly.

A: No, sorry, I wasn't clear who you were saying was married to Person#3 - is it Person#1 or Person#2? If the spouse of the primary person remarries then the next primary person would be their new spouse, as I understand it. It would be easier to explain if you put in the actual names as all this person# stuff is confusing. --Katerimmer (talk) 16:16, 25 April 2016 (MDT)
Additional Info:
If James Brown marries Betty White, James passes away, Betty remarries to Bob Dog. Do we enter Betty as a new primary with Bob Dog?
A: As I understand it, we would enter Bob Dog as the new primary person. --Katerimmer (talk) 13:08, 26 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: What do we do with death dates when children are listed as d: inf, as in died as infants. Do we enter Inf somewhere or leave death date blank?--Mabnightowl (talk) 13:33, 27 April 2016 (MDT)

A: You will want to leave this field blank. Thanks. Seanbmc (talk) 13:46, 27 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: Are you supposed do every name exactly in order of its mention? It's happened multiple times where a duplication for remarriage a few lines later makes connecting which children are from the first marriage and which ones are from the second marriage ambiguous so I was just hoping for clarification that when you duplicate someone twice with a second spouse if you should do it (Line 8 John Smith with spouse 1, Line 9 John Smith with spouse 2 in order OR 8 John Smith ... OR Line 8 John Smith with spouse 1, five names keyed inbetween, Line 14 John Smith with spouse 2) or another way altogether. Sorry if this question is confusing.

A: I don't think you have to key them in the exact same order as they appear in the text because if someone has two spouses, you want their two records to be consecutive. There is no "relationship" field on this project other than the "spouse" fields, so the sequence in which the records are keyed does not imply who the parents of a particular person are. --Katerimmer (talk) 01:15, 28 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: When birth, death and marriage dates are listed as "after 1781," "before 1881" or "1681 or 1682" what should be listed?

Clarification: I have looked for the answer in the FAQ's, the keying best practices, but can't find the answer. I have currently been entering the year stated, from the example "after 1781" is this correct?

A: Key the year stated as you have been doing. If there are multiple years, choose the earliest. Seanbmc (talk) 08:50, 4 May 2016 (MDT)


Q: When dates are hyphenated, such as 1732-33, are they entered are written, or is there a different format to be used?
I have tried finding the answers in other places, but am unable to find a resolution.

A: Just the first year should be keyed in this situation, i.e. 1732 in your example. --Katerimmer (talk) 12:42, 28 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: On other projects when "son" or "daughter" was listed with no name, we were to enter "son" or "daughter" in the Prefix field. Should that be done on this project?

A: No, we only do that when it is stated in the project instructions. --Katerimmer (talk) 07:52, 28 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: This question I should have asked much earlier.
If there are multiple spouses, is the issue of the parents suppose to be listed under their parents?

example Bob Dog & Suzie Cow, had 3 kids, 1,2,3. Suzie dies, Bob remarries to Jane Cat, they have 3 kids, 4,5, & 6

Do we put the Bob Dog & Susie Cow, their children, then enter Bob Dog and Jane Cat and their children, or just type them as they appear on the pages?

example: Bob Dog & Suzie Cow, then Bob Dog & Jane Cat, and then 1,2,3,4,5,6? OR
Bob Dog & Suzie Cow then 1,2,3 then Bob Dog & Jane Cat then 4,5, and 6.

A: It doesn't really matter which order they go in as there is no way the processing software can know whether records are for children of the people named above or not (i.e. it will not be creating any kind of parent - child links). So best just to key them in the order in which they appear on the page, and it is easiest to put the two records for "Bob Dog" consecutively so that the second one can be copied from the first apart from the spouse details of course. --Katerimmer (talk) 16:40, 28 April 2016 (MDT)

Q: Do we use former married names of a widow? example: "Joseph Ballard married Rebecca (Rea) Stevens Horne, widow of Samuel Stevens and Simon Horne and daughter of Joshua Rea" Joseph Ballard is the primary person and Rebecca is the spouse, her surname is Ballard and her maiden name is Rea. Do Stevens and Horne become part of her given name, maiden name/alias, or just get left off?

A: Since her name is given as Rebecca Stevens Horne, I would key as Spouse Given: Rebecca Stevens, Spouse Surname: Horne, Spouse Maiden or Alias Name: Rea. --Katerimmer (talk) 05:08, 30 April 2016 (MDT)

Question: I can't find the answer to this. What does "ap" mean and how should it be keyed? example: Com. Thos. ap Catesby Jones.
Also, is there a list somewhere the exists that has all the terms like "ap" listed with its definition?

A: It is just part of his name - his name was Thomas ap Catesby Jones. See his Wikipedia entry. (The "ap" actually means "son of" in Welsh.) --Katerimmer (talk) 16:02, 3 May 2016 (MDT)

Suggestions/Additions

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.

Suggestion: Keying
Just an idea, but putting the keying fields in the order of the information that is currently in this project would save time.
example Bob Dog - Birth/Death/Marriage vs the current format of Birth/Marriage/Death

A: You can change the order of fields yourself by clicking and dragging the column headings within the keying tool. --Katerimmer (talk) 12:43, 28 April 2016 (MDT)
  I have since discovered that :) thank you though

In Record Image Samples nos 1 and 2, a name in the "Issue" section is labelled "Given and Surname" but actually the name which the label points to is just the Given Name (first and middle name in each case) and the Surname would need to be inferred from the father's name given above. This should be explained on the image samples. --Katerimmer (talk) 04:55, 24 April 2016 (MDT)

A: I have fixed and uploaded the image. Thank you. Seanbmc (talk) 12:50, 26 April 2016 (MDT)