Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Book’s Index Isn’t Always Enough

Most people find a book related to their family or a location their family lived, and immediately look for an index.  If the book has an index, they look for their surname(s), refer to the page(s), make copies (or record the information), and move on.  I myself am guilty of this, especially when time is limited, even though I know indexes are not always complete.

Over the last several days, I have been reading the book, History of Oakland County, Michigan:  A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People, and it Principal Interests, Volume 1, written by Thaddeus D. Seeley, 1912.  I had consulted this book a few times before, mainly performing the aforementioned steps.  But I wanted to learn more about the county so I began reading the book, cover to cover.

Aside from learning more about the area where my ancestors lived, I also discovered there were more mentions of my ancestors than previously found using the index.  Below is a comparison of the indexed entries and the additional references that were not included in the index, for the people I was researching.

Name Index Additional References
Nathaniel Millard 119, 191, 405 236, 404, 412
Samuel Norton 11, 299, 312 342, 365, 366
Frank Norton not included 438
Gad Norton 33, 400 409
John D. Norton 245, 301, 303 224, 265, 304, 307, 360
John M. Norton 58 none found
Calvin C. Parks 124 120, 197
Robert Parks 452 272
Aaron Webster 290, 362 32, 43, 59, 119
Alanson J. Webster not included 225
Charles P. Webster 140 none found
Chester Webster not included 41, 288
Elmer R. Webster 140, 152, 229, 333, 337 none found
James Webster 218 225

As you can see, just in this handful of names, there are many discrepancies.  The lesson learned here is that sometimes, the index isn’t enough.


1 comment:

Patti Hobbs said...

Great information, Julie.

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