When It’s Not There

When someone does not come up in an index, here are some things to think about:

  • have you considered all alternate spellings?
  • have you double checked what you put in the search boxes (right names in right boxes, no boxes with information from “old searches,” etc.)?
  • could the person be in the record under a different last name (step-father, new husband, etc.)?
  • have you used wildcards to expand your searches?
  • do you know the index is complete or is it in “process?”
  • are you certain the person really should be in the record?
  • do you know how the original records were organized and preserved?
  • have you performed a manual search of the records?
  • have you asked someone else for a suggestion?