Talk:FamilySearch Indexing: US, District of Columbia-Deaths, 1874-1959

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Revision as of 20:05, 11 September 2010 by Oxxguy (talk | contribs) (confirm fixing place name errors)

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Question: I downloaded batch # 004259153[119] US, District of Columbia Deaths for arbitration.
The 2nd and 10th images are Certificates of Death from the District of Columbia. There is no Death date listed, but there is a burial date.
Should the burial date be indexed in the death date fields, or should the death dates be left blank?

Answer: You may have already submitted this batch by now, but this could come up again.  That's ok to index the burial date in the death date fields.  This is done often in the UK parish records projects where it asks for burial date, but death date is often given. Because of the wide variety of images in a project like that, that's ok here too.  --VasquezJL 18:32, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


Question: When the place of death is listed as Washington DC, how is this to be indexed in the city, county, and state fields? Does it all go in the city field, or does "District of Columbia" go in the county (or state) field?--Oxxguy 01:57, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Answer: That is a great question. Washington DC is not technically any of those types of places - it's a Federal district. Technically, the right way to do it for the standards (the way FamilySearch makes things searchable in the final database) is to put "Washington" in the City field and "District of Columbia" in the state field. However, most people won't be aware of that and so even if Washington DC is all together in the city field it is ok and will be standardized after the fact.--VasquezJL 20:17, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Common Indexing Mistakes

Arbitrators - please report common mistakes you see as you are arbitrating.  As needed, this information will be moved over to the Updates section on the main instructions page.


Question: I downloaded batch # 004259153[19] US, District of Columbia Deaths 1875-1959 for arbitration.  It has 10 images total

1st image is a death certificate, 2nd image is a burial permit

3rd is d.c.,  4th is "Transportation of Dead Bodies"

5th is d.c., 6th is "Transportation of Corpse"

7th is d.c., 8th is burial permit

9th is d.c., 10th is "transmit permit"

the information on the burial permit, transport documents repeats the info on the death cert. and may have additional information such as transportation of body to Fitchburg, Mass.

Should the burial, transport documents be indexed ?  Many of them are marked as <no extractable Data>

Answer: Yes, those should all be indexed.  This is a common problem where we see indexers marking those images as no extractable data.  --VasquezJL 20:48, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Who is VasquezJL?

I don't know how to use this Wiki but here goes with my question(s).

1. Is VasquezJL authorized to make decisions or are his/her comments just opinions?

2. Can we assume that the place on the "Burial or Removal Permit" is the place of death for that record?

George Waller

OOOps!  I just clicked on VasquezJL and discover that he/she IS authorized to make decisions.  My profuse apologies.

George Waller

That's great that you jumped in, even when you weren't sure how to use it! We are all just figuring it out as we go.
1. Haha, no worries. I forgot that I put that info there. But still you asked a great question. Because anything that anyone writes (even when they have signed their name to it) can be edited at a later point, you should probably just assume that it's opinion, no matter who they are. There are some general guidelines where indexing is concerned, and when the questions about how to index fall under those guidelines, the answers are usually pretty easy. When they don't fall under those guidelines, there are other even more simple guidelines that help: 1. Type what you see, and 2. Use your best judgment. Hopefully what comes out of rule #2 is based on a strong knowledge of those basic indexing guidelines. But because we are dealing with documents in which the recorders and the people in the documents are not around anymore to ask questions of (or give handwriting classes to), there is a lot that we must make a best judgment on. And where that is concerned, those with a strong knowledge of the record set that we are indexing may even have a better "best judgment" than many others. :) 
2. Follow-up question: Do you have a share batch number we could look at? I have seen these but don't have one in front of me at the moment. It's generally a good idea not to assume anything as we look at these documents. However, at times there is enough information on the record that you're not really assuming anymore. So I would want to look at a record to give a good answer there. --VasquezJL 02:49, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
In my opinion you cannot count on the place named in a document as being the place the person died unless it explicitly says so. I had a batch recently in which a woman died in Atlantic City, New Jersey and was buried some 50 miles away in (I think) Lakehurst. Some time later she was removed from Lakehurst to Washington DC. I cannot recall what was on the transfer document, but it could easily have said Lakehurst, since that was where the body was.--Oxxguy 22:51, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Fixing spelling errors

Officials make two common spelling errors in the project records:

1. Entering "Silver Springs" instead of "Silver Spring"

2. Entering "Prince George" instead of "Prince George's"

I enter the correct spelling.and wish there were a way to inform the arbitrator who may simply think I am wrong.

I also expand the common abbreviation of "Mont" to "Montgomery" for that county in Maryland.


George Waller

Fixing spelling errors and expanding abbreviations in place names is certainly the right thing to do and conforms to the guidelines.  I've found and fixed the same things.  I don't worry about the arbitrators--it's their job to determine what's right.  Anyone who looks at a list of Maryland counties sees immediately that it is "Prince George's".  As an indexer I've seen enough misspellings that I never take for granted what a clerk has written but always check an authority when there is any doubt at all. --oxxguy 20:05, 11 September 2010 (UTC)