Are You Too Reliant on Indexes?

Indexes make locating records easier, but there are limitations to them. Handwriting can be difficult to read and indexers make mistakes. Indexers may only index key names in a document, leaving out the names of others who are mentioned in ways that can provide significant information on them.

If you have reason to believe a person should be in a record and they are not in the index, search the records manually. Learn how the records are organized to create more effective manual search strategies.

If there is a person you have not found in a record and you have tried alternate spellings and names, review ways in which the records can be manually searched. Sometimes a manual search is more practical than others and not all records can be manually searched.

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