Talk:World Archives Project: Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, Church Records, 1636-1850

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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

Here is a list of common abbreviations you may encounter.

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

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: I have a birth records entry which reads GOULD THOMAS, OF THOMAS AND SARAH, MIDDLETOWN, JULY 11, 1728.  The next line reads JOHN, OCT. 29, 1736.  Am I to assume (and key) that John is also the son of Thomas & Sarah born in Middletown?  Or do I only key John's name and birthdate as seen?

A: We have decided that the parents need to be copied down until the next record where parents are given.

Attached is an image that I have marked with numbers showing each new set of parents.

Q: I am keying a page of marriages listed by a church in Westerly. One entry is a record of a marriage performed in Plainfield, NJ. (The woman is from Iowa and the man is from New Hampshire. I suppose they moved to Westerly after getting married in NJ.) So the Event City is technically in NJ but we are only entering RI cities. Do I enter "Westerly", "Plainfield, NJ", or leave Event City blank?

NJ Marriage.JPG

A: I would key Plainfield as it is only asking for city. -- Wiedwoman 15:33, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: The instructions say that the Event City can often be found at the top of the page.

Grace Church.JPG

So the events in this case took place (with some exceptions as in the previous question) at that church in Westerly, RI.

Then I realized that only half the pages have that header; the other half have the book title:

Book Title.JPG

So the Event City is not provided on those pages. We have been routinely told to not take data from other pages but I wonder whether this might be an exception?

This is complicated because each entry in these pages contains birth places and/or residence locations (though many not in RI, see example in the previous question) of the bride and groom. Here is another example:

Example Marriage Record.JPG

Advice on which Event City to choose?

A: On the pages that show Westerly at top of page, you would key Westerly. On the pages that do not show Westerly at the top nor through the page, I would leave the city blank. Also the Veal example does not show a city married in only where they were from. -- Wiedwoman 15:33, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Q. I have a list of names along with dates that follow a "b." At first I thought it meant birth, but it became apparant that there were too many multiple births (quintuplets, etc.). Then I determined that it must mean baptized. There are also "a."s, which I thought meant about, but now I am finding dates that follow "ab.". What do all these mean?

A: I believe the a's could stand for "aged".

Q. Regarding my question on abbreviations, here is an excerpt from page 35:  Using the suggested abbreviations, I think it is highly unlikely that there was a set of Octuplets, followed by a set of sextuplets. These are prevalent on the surrounding pages.  All these children of John Wood, including John Jr., are followed by a John, (no parent(s) given.  They are all "born" on the same "aged?" day.  I suggest that the "b" refers to baptism and the last "John" is the father of the preceding individuals and is being baptized at the same time.  I also suggest that the "a" may stand for something along the lines of "admitted into the church", or maybe some other type of of religious commitment.  Ideas??


Not an answer ... Can you give the titles of the two pages? If this is from a Friends (Quaker) church, they did not baptize (according to my sources). No other ideas yet but still thinking. (Tom)

On the left page you have "VITAL RECORD OF RHODE ISLAND", and on the right page is "UNITED CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH-LITTLE COMPTON.".

Here is some more fuel to add to the fire:


I get quite a few "wife of " so and so's. What is that about?  And I really don't understand the fourth entry from the bottom in the clip above.  This appears to be more evidence that "b." is being used for Baptized in this book.  Also, do we key the date as seen when it is 1748-9, etc.?

A: I found the same book on (link). Here is the header on the first page of that section:

Little Compton 1.JPG

So "a" is when admitted to the church. "ab" if if the person was baptised and admitted on the same day.


A. Excellent!  Now if we could just get those added to the drop-down list.

A/Q. "Baptism" is in the list. I have been using "Other" for "admission", "received", "letter" etc. that I am seeing. But I am not entering multiple records for a person if they are only "Other" records (like Mary Valentine's letter date below):

Mary Valentine.JPG

Here I entered one "Other" record for James, to capture that name, and one "Death" record for Mary. I did not bother with an "Other" record for Mary for the letter since it wouldn't help anyone for searching, once we have captured her name in another record. Is that ok?

Q. More abbreviation questions: In the following clip you will find "dr."s, "d."s, and sometimes both together.  "d." cannot indicate "died" in this case, as several entries have both "d." and "died" with two different dates. Perhaps you could find a complete listing of abbreviations particular to this book.


(Tom) Please report the titles from the tops of the two pages; then I will see if I can find the book elsewhere online to look at the opening pages.

Without knowing more, those "d" entries look like indexes to annual books.

Q: The following excerpt has a lot of information.

Mother Surname.JPG

It seems perfectly clear to me that I can/should key the mother of William and David as "Mary Harris". This all seems to read like a paragraph. Or is that inferring too much?

On the other hand the following excerpt is structured the same but does not include "his wife" and "their children".

No his wife.JPG

So for this one I list the mother of Sarah et al as "Phebe G Peckham". Although it's pretty obvious that she is "Phebe G Lockwood" the data does not explicitly say that. Ok?


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