Monday, June 6, 2011

Sometimes it is Just HARD to Find Em!

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Yesterday in my post From the Research Mecca, The Internet VS Hard Core Research Saga,  I mentioned some of the problems finding the document I was after due to some sad indexing.  I won't say it is bad or wrong, just that sometimes the numbers they use in the index don't make sense in my "lookie up reality" research world.

So, here is an example.  What follows is what you can find on FamilySearch when you look at the death index  information for Lucien Bryan Roy:

Lucien Bryan Roy
Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960
death: 21 Oct 1942 —Seattle, King, Washington
parents: Clyde Raymond Roy, Grace Bryan
spouse: Leone Roy
record title: Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960
name: Lucien Bryan Roy
death date: 21 Oct 1942
death place: Seattle, King, Washington
gender: Male
age at death: 36 years 1 month 21 days
estimated birth year: 1906
marital status: Married
spouse's name: Leone Roy
father's name: Clyde Raymond Roy
mother's name: Grace Bryan
volume/page/certificate number: 4331

If you open the record to the next page, where ONLY that specific record is addressed, at the bottom you will find:

film number: 2024060
digital gs number: 4224243
image number: 53
volume/page/certificate number: 4331

Here is his certificate, note the Registrar's No is indeed 4331:

Here are the tops of 14 certificates that surround Lucien's, including his again, to show the numbering systems, the State File number and the Registrar's number are different systems. I'll bet you can see the issue pretty fast.  I have arranged these in numerical order via the State File number system, and which is exactly how they appear on the microfilm.

Now, here is the order, starting from the first to the last of my 14 examples looking at only the Registrar's number, which in the case of Lucien is what the indexer used, that is the number I found in the online index.


Not exactly in numerical order, is it?  SIGHH  Because I thought the indexing was done with the State File number when I was looking for Lucien I went zooming right by his certificate.  When I got to file 4331 (State File number) it was not his certificate.  Then began the several minutes of "figure out what the game plan, err, indexing plan" is.  I finally used the date of death to search, and of course, his name, and did a certificate by certificate search till I found him. It was then that I noticed the non-sequential order of the Registrar's numbers.

I am not slamming the indexers, I mean, where would we be without them?  Just showing an example of an oops.  No matter, I found Lucien, after all, I have the image, but the indexing error did suck up some time and slowed me down.

That said:




Charles Hansen said...

Carol I guess you have not had the fun of looking in the records at the county archives. These records were indexed by the county registrar and are never in order. They were recorded as they came in to the county registrars office, not chronological and never indexed by name. I was so used to looking for recording number when the digital archives came online, I was disappointed we could not search for record number online. They can at the digital archives.

Hummer said...

Great coverage. But better still congrats on the find!