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Incorrect information on an indexing image
Symptoms (Problems)
  • While indexing, I found information that the clerk appears to have recorded incorrectly on the original document. Can I fix the information as I am indexing?

  • Wrong information was recorded on the original document.

Answer (Resolution)

Miscellaneous mistakes

Example: On a death certificate, the clerk recorded the death date as February 30. The attending physician wrote that he last attended the patient on February 3. February does not have 30 days. Can the indexer conclude that the correct death date is February 3?



Generally the answer is no; only type what is on the document. The indexer is to make an accurate record of the information on an image. However, exceptions to the rule are usually noted in the Field Helps. The Field Helps are guides to correctly index each field in a document. Also, realize that the rules can vary from project to project, so an exception for one project might not apply to the next project.



Example: The state name or other items are clearly misspelled. Can the indexer correct them?


Most Field Helps tell us that the names of countries, states, and counties should be spelled correctly in the index.


Sometimes names are also misspelled, such as the name "George" might be written as "Geroge." Do not correct the spelling of names, since we cannot be certain that the name is actually misspelled.


Gender or sex is incorrect

Example: The sex, or gender, does not seem to match the given name and relationship. Can the indexer correct the gender?


On projects that give both a given name and relationship, the Sex field can be interpreted using the combination of that information.

If the Given Name field and the Relationship field both contradict what is in the Sex field, an indexer can change or correct the sex using the information given. For example, if the given name is Rebecca and the relationship is Wife, but the sex is M, type F in the Sex field. Make the change only if both the given name and the relationship are an obvious contradiction to the sex; use caution in doing so since many names such as Marion, Ashley, Leslie and Stacey, are not gender specific.


Remember that the index is going to be coupled with the digital image of the original document used to create the index. When researchers use FamilySearch to find an ancestor, he or she can see that original document and make corrections while assembling their own family history.


See document 102817 for more information.

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