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.
|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|
|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|
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.