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

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Revision as of 11:16, 23 December 2012 by Suzanneferrio (talk | contribs) (Extra Keying Helps)
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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

If you are keying Quaker records prior to 1752 the numbering of the months does not follow our typical numbering. Please refer to the chart below.

  • Here is a list of common abbreviations you may encounter.


Also for Intentions and Publishments (marriages) p = publishment and c= certificate, hence the c date is the date of the actual marriage.

From United Congregational Church, Little Compton, book: a = admission, b = baptism, ab = admission and baptism (on same date)

In baptism records an "a" before a date means the person was baptized as an adult.

From the first page of the Westminster Congregational Church (Providence) member list: d = death, r = withdrawn or removed (left church), c = Church, s = society (evidently people could join the Church, society or both but I'm not sure). I have not seen "d" stand alone so I'm unsure whether the death date is actually given.

  • We will sometimes see an Event City outside Rhode Island. In those cases only key the city, not state and/or country. Cities outside Rhode Island will not be in the dictionary so F7 will be needed.

NJ Marriage.JPG In this example "Plainfield" will be keyed.

  • The Event City can often be found in the page header, like Westerly in this example:

Grace Church.JPG

Usually, only every other page will have this header. For the other pages, that don't list the City in the header, we should not assume the Event City is the same. Then we can only get the Event City from each item and we may often need to leave the Event City blank.

Many items on the pages will list one or more cities which are not the Event City. Those cities whould not be used, even if there is no identified location for the event.

Example Marriage Record.JPG

This is a marriage record and the birth and residence locations are not to be keyed.

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

Do not key Jr in given or surname fields. Per keying guidelines: In cases where the name is listed as Rev. John Smith, or John Smith, Jr, and there is not a prefix or suffix field the name should be entered with John in the Given Name field and Smith in the Surname field, without either prefix or suffix. [1] -- Wiedwoman 21:35, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Do not key any ranks that may appear

Please check that you have keyed the Event City if it appears at the top of the page. Even though the city name may appear only once on the image, if you miss it out of every record on the page, it could have a bad effect on your accuracy stats! --Katerimmer 12:05, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Questions and Answers

Q1: I've seen (col.) for colored on several records. Is this to be keyed?

A1: I don't think so. --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:15, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Q2: The instructions say not to include ranks. Please confirm that Capt is not to be keyed as is Mrs or Dr?

A2: When reading that instruction I wished that "ranks" would be explained more. But I assume it means military ranks so "Capt" is not keyed. "Mrs" is clearly keyed and I have been keying "Dr". The general keying standards (link) do not provide any guidance on what is not considered a prefix or suffix to key (hint, hint). --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:15, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Q3: One entry says: "Barker, Isaiah, June 10, 1820, died Aug 20, 1833" I keyed two records, one birth and one death. Is this correct? Thanks.

A3: Unless there is clear information, e.g. page header, that the first date is a birth date then we can only assume that it is an "Other" date. (On some pages I have seen it has been the baptism date or the date the person joined the church. The latter in membership listings.) Because there is a Death date for this person, the Other date would not be keyed. --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:15, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: The new Quaker month numbering information (link) raises another question about dates. The following example is from Quaker records:

Friends Date.JPG

Normally we would assue this is recording some uncertainty about the year and our rule is to pick the earliest year (1732 in this example). But this seems to be clearly recording that the year was 1732 in the old calendar and 1733 in the new calendar. The new Quaker month/year instructions seem to indicate that we should be adjusting the year for January and February so wouldn't that mean we should use 1733 in this example? --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:24, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: I am also seeing Quaker-like month numbering in records from a Sabbatarian Church (Newport), which I don't believe is Quaker, more like Seventh Day Adventists. See this clip of three dates:

Sabbatarian dates.JPG

So should these be keyed (assuming a favorable answer to my previous question)

Jun 16 1717, Feb 21 1720 and Apr 12 1718?  --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:57, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: In regards to death records: Is the date the date of birth or the date of the 'event' which would be the day they died? I've seen other records where it could be either one.
For example: BRYER Mary, wife of Joseph, daughter of Daniel and Wait Gould, Newport, Jan 9 1690, aged 37 years.

A: If the records are labeled as Death records, and since the age is given I would say that yes, it is a death date. When both dates are present typically they will noted with a b and d to identify the dates.

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.

(previous discussion here has been summarized for Keying Helps section above and removed.)

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: In regard to your question about entering the year range - the field help states to use the first year given.
And the fourth entry up is stating that Mary, (the surname would be the surname given at the beginning of this section of names) the daughter of Joseph and Mary was baptized by Mr. Campbell at Tiverton. There are two possibilities -
1. The first daughter named Mary passed away and they named the next daughter Mary as well.
2. There are two sets of parents named Joseph and Mary.

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: "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.

A: I used your link and finally found the answer to the question above, regarding d., dr, and b. in this section.  See clip below:


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? No, not 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?

Since first writing this question a couple days ago I have seen this structure very often, listing the parents followed by the children. So now I have started keying e.g. the mother of Sarah as "Phebe G Lockwood" rather than "Phebe G Peckham" as I believe the book intends that to be clear. Is this ok or is it inferring too much?

A: You're correct, Phebe G Lockwood is how the mother should be keyed.Annafechter 12:33, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: In working on marriage records, I have encountered many instances where the bride's maiden name (and her parents' last name) is not given.  In that case, do we assume that the groom's last name should be used for every one in that grouping, or do we leave the surname fields blank for bride and her parents?

A: In this situation we would not assume their surnames. The only cases in which we would assume surnames are
1. When the child's name is listed in full but the parents names are not
2. When the parents' full names are listed but the child's surname is not

Q: Are pages entitled Intentions (to marry, I assume) to be keyed as Marriages or Other?   Also, on adjoining pages to Intentions, where the heading does not state the type of event, but it's identical to Intentions, what should the Event type be? 

A: According to the updated project instructions Intentions should be classified as a Marriage Certificate event type. In regard to the pages where an event type isn't noted these would also be classified as Other event type.

Q: When church membership lists several dates which date is used - the oldest or the newest?

A: You would use the first date listed.

Q: If a person is listed as "his wife" referring to the man listed directly above, is he keyed in as the spouse?  In the reverse is she keyed in as a spouse for him?

A: Yes, you would enter them as each others' spouse.


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.

(Three questions here moved to the Q&A section. --Suzanneferrio (Tom) 14:18, 23 December 2012 (UTC))