How to Use the Lookup List

Have you ever struggled with reading a name or a place while indexing or arbitrating? A favorite tool for many indexers is the Lookup List. This article will teach you how to use the Lookup List and address the most common misperceptions for that tool.

What the Lookup List is.

  • The Lookup List is a collection of common names, places, races, or other types of information that can help you decipher a field.
  • The Lookup List automatically downloads with your batch and is available as you index.
  • The Lookup List can be a helpful reference when you have trouble reading information for an entry field.

What the Lookup List is not.

  • The Lookup List is not a complete list and does not include every spelling variation, especially for names.
  • The Lookup List is not always right and should be used as a reference only. If a search from the Lookup List returns results that don’t fit the record you are looking at, you should not assume the Lookup List is right and use what it is suggesting. Consider doing a shared batch, and get a second opinion on the record you are trying to decipher.
  • The Lookup List is not populated by indexer and arbitrator entries. FamilySearch currently populates this list.

Where do I find the Lookup List?

There are several ways to access the lookup list once you have downloaded a batch.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+F. (This method will work for both PC and Mac users.)Note for Mac users: Mac users will need to make sure the cursor is not live in the field for the keyboard shortcut to work. Use your arrow keys and arrow out of the field and back in; then use the keyboard shortcut.
  2. Click on Edit and then Lookup. (This method will work for both PC and Mac users.)
  3. Hover your mouse over the field entry until the drop-down arrow appears. Click on the black drop-down arrow, and then click on Lookup. (This method is only available for PC users.)
  4. From the field entry, right-click with your mouse. A menu will appear. Click on Lookup. (This method is only available for PC users.)

How do you use the Lookup List?

  1. Open the lookup tool using one of the methods described above.
  2. Type the letters you can decipher in the appropriate fields (see the screenshot below).
    • If you can read the first few letters of the word, type the letters in the Starts with field.
    • If you can read some of the letters in the middle of the word, type the letters in the Contains field.
    • If you can read the end of the word, type the letters in the Ends with field.
    • To enter international letters, use Ctrl+L.

    Note: You can put letters into more than one field. As you type, a list of the words that match your information will be displayed.

  3. Look at the results, and select the option that fits. If it is there, then click Accept Selected. If you didn’t agree with any of the lookup options, simply click Cancel.

As you can see, the Lookup List can be a great reference for help. Just remember, the Lookup List is not a complete list of possible entries.

Was this training tip helpful? Let us know. Email us at fsindexing@familysearch.org and give us your feedback, or suggest other possible training tips that you would like to see in future newsletters.
 

About the Author