Editing Dates and Places on Indexed Records—FamilySearch Update

March 31, 2020  - by 
Man and woman sit at a computer

We lean heavily on correctly indexed records to help us find our ancestors. However, indexing errors happen from time to time. These errors can cause problems for people searching for records about ancestors or accurately recording information in family trees.

In 2019, FamilySearch released an update that allowed people to edit names in indexed records. A recent update now allows you to edit places and dates that were indexed incorrectly. Note that this feature may not yet be available for all indexed FamilySearch records, but it will be available in the coming months.

When to Edit a Date or Place in an Indexed Record

Indexed records may show incorrect information for a couple reasons. One reason could be that the record itself contained incorrect information—for example, the original recorder misspelled the name of a place. An indexed record might also be incorrect because an indexer might have entered the place-name or date differently from what the record listed.

How to Edit Dates and Places in Indexed Records

The following is an example of how to edit a place-name; the same steps would apply for editing an incorrect date.

Let’s take a look at a scenario in which a birthplace was recorded incorrectly on the original record.

Indexed record screenshot

In this record from the United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918 collection, Joe Nimeth’s birthplace was entered as “Karmed, Hungary.” No place in Hungary is spelled as “Karmed”; however, there is a place named “Körmend.”

After looking at the original document and doing our due diligence with verification, we can edit the birthplace in the index by following these steps.

1. To the right of the words “Karmed, Hungary,” click Edit.

Edit indexed record screenshot

2. In the next window, change the Event Place to Körmend, Vas, Hungary.

wrong place edit indexed record index

3. Next, under step 2, click the Highlight button.

Highlight button edit indexed record screenshot

You will then be directed to click and drag a box around the place-name in the document.

Edit record detail screenshot

4. Finally, choose a reason for the change from the drop-down options in step 3. In this case, we chose “Wrong in the document.” Add a note to explain your reason, and then click Save.

Reason to make change edit record detail

How to View Previous Edits

Let’s look at an example of a date edit that has already been completed.

Preview edits screenshot

In this record from the South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972 collection, the event date was originally indexed as 26 Oct 1953. After someone reviewed the original image, the event date was edited to be 26 October 1952.

To see this edit and any reason attached to the correction, you can click View to the right of the new date. In the next window, you will see the highlighted area that was edited, the date the edit was made, the person who made the edit, and the reason for making the edits.

Incorrect date indexed record screenshot

Making Additional Edits

Anyone who disagrees with the conclusion can make additional edits to this record. Edits do not override information already on FamilySearch.org but rather add to it. The originally indexed information and changed information both become searchable.

Now that you see for yourself how easy it is to edit places and dates, give it a try yourself! Go to FamilySearch.org, and search for your ancestors in the millions of records online. When you find incorrect dates and places on an index, verify the correct information, make the edits, and help yourself and others achieve family history goals!

Amie Tennant

Amie Bowser Tennant is a genealogy researcher, writer and presenter.She writes blog articles and other content for many top companies and societies in the genealogy field. Her most treasured experience is working as a consultant for family history. Amie lives with her husband and three children in Ohio, surrounded by many of her extended family.

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Comments

    1. Hi Rita, because this is a shared tree, even though you entered the person, unless you immediately remove them after creation, someone else may add something and the record then is owned by multiple people and one person removing someone may impact others. So, we have not provided a way to remove people directly. The articles below show how you can remove relationships, and once those relationships are severed there are ways to add notes and delete parts or all of a person, or at least correct errors.
      Thank you for your question.

  1. you asked me to Check Place names, can’t find it now, UK. Jane Skelly born 1804 in Dingwick By Alnwick Northumberland , England not Dingwall . If you tag me agian i will happily check some more.

  2. I am having problems correcting people that are incorrect. I started out on Family Search a long time ago before I went online with you a couple of weeks ago. My Trees were done on Ancestry when they came out with the first home addition and I have been on there ever since. That is my main program but for Roots tech I set up the trees on your site. When I went in to make some corrections, it won’t let me do that. I just now tried to add some notes and it won’t let me. I am not used to your way and it just might be something I am doing wrong. Can you please help me? I have used family search long before Ancestry was ever around.

  3. Seems like I find a lot of errors on my family info here. Now my great grandmothers name has been changed from Ransdell to Remsdell. I have family documents so I feel that somewhere there is a transcription error. Also, found that in the 1910 census the name Torbet has been transcribed as Torket. I don’t like to add to my tree here because I do not want to include errors like this.