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How to get past the indexed record

By Robin Foster

If you use online databases to research at or you may have come across indexed records. You should also review the infomation on the original record. Why would you even want to be concerned about the orginal record. Isn't the index good enough? Here are two good reasons:

1. Sometimes errors are made when original records are indexed. Names or dates may have been difficult to read.

2. Many times, more helpful clues can be found on the original record that were not included on the index. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.

When you find an indexed record, review the record description (found below the individual record on to see were the index came from. On, the citations below the indexed record usually includes a Film number or a reference to the source. Be sure to check the links on the page of an indexed record to see if the original record is also linked.

If the record description references a film number, go to, and enter the film number to learn more about the contents of the microfilm. To locate original records,

1. Search the records available by locality on FamilySearch Wiki.

2. Do a "place search" in the FamilySearch Catalog.

3. Contact the courthouse or archives in the area you are researching to learn more about records available in a specfic locality.

This article is in response to this query posted in Genealogy! Just Ask!

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