The Titles that are Incorrect

Cataloging and titling things can be tricky, particularly when the items are unique manuscript items–diaries, letters, personal papers. Titles and descriptions of those things I always take with a grain of salt because I know that it can be difficult sometimes to categorize one-of-a-kind items.

But titles can be wrong even with more standard records. recently announced a database titled, “Iowa, U.S., Delayed Birth Records, 1856-1944.” Because of the title, I almost did not search it. My parents were born at the end of the year span covered, but I knew they did not have a delayed birth record. I went ahead and searched the database anyway. My parents were both in the database–with certificates recorded very promptly after their births and no “delayed” registration information included. Their certificates were not delayed.

Knowing what you are researching is always important–because it allows you to track what you searched. But sometimes I still search databases that I think won’t include what I want–because I know that there are a number of databases, on websites large and small that have titles that are inaccurate.