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FamilySearch indexing: Sometimes it's difficult to tell what is a sign of repetition (ditto mark)
  • What constitutes a sign of repetition?

  • What does "do" mean in a field or on a record?

  • What does " or .. mean in a field?

  • What does a straight line mean in a field?


A ditto mark indicates that the information directly above should be repeated. When ditto marks or other similar signs of repetition appear on census records or ledger documents, type the actual information that is being dittoed, rather than the mark itself. Signs of repetition may include:

  1. A “· ·” (ditto mark)

  2. The word "ditto"

  3. The letters "do"

  4. A straight line (in a ledger document like a census). Realize, though, that a straight line is not always a ditto:
    Surnames. A straight line is often a ditto in the surname field of census records.
    Place-names. A straight line might be a ditto, but you will need to see how the enumerator wrote place-names throughout the document to determine this.

  5. A blank field between record entries for a family group (in a ledger document like a census).
    Sometimes the census enumerator did not repeat the surname or the birthplace for each family member. Interpret a blank field as a ditto mark only when the original document clearly groups families together.

  6. In the Mexico census, the enumerator sometimes wrote out the father's surname and then for the mother and children's surname wrote only the first letter of the surname with a period:
    Juan Carlos Romero
    Maria R.
    Jose R.
    In this example, you would treat the repetition as a ditto mark and extract the father's surname for the wife and children:
    Juan Carlos Romero
    Maria Romero
    Jose Romero

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