It can be a pain and it can take time.

But it can result in great discoveries–manually searching records.

Indexes and finding aids fail. They are not perfect. Sometimes a person needs to go page by page in order to make certain that the record they want really is not there. Before you search page by page, there are some things to consider to increase the chance you actually find that person, you should determine:

  • how the records were originally organized
  • how the records  are organized in the format you are using them (probably the same as when they were created, but it may be different)
  • where your person should be in the records–probable residence for materials organized geographically, date of event for items organized chronologically)
  • how complete the records actually are
  • why the person might not be in the records

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