Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Those Darn Digital Records!

Marian Pierre-Louis has been posting on the complexity of digital records this week, and today's post is about how the variety of indexes, records and actual images can make things tricky for a researcher.  I started to add an "Amen, sister!" comment regarding an example I encountered last week, but decided it was too long for a comment...

I was updating my tree entry for Enoch Langel with a photo of his cemetery marker, which shows he died in 1894.  Just for grins, I checked the historical records they're suggesting for Enoch, and found a whole list of city directory listings for Enoch and his wife Esther, all of which dated after 1900.  Curious, I clicked through to one of the records...and it clearly said there was an entry for Enoch, with spouse Esther, in the 1940 directory for Lancaster, Ohio.  What gives!  Did I match the wrong cemetery marker with this Enoch?

Nope.  If you click on through to the actual digital image, you see that the directory listing is for "Langel Esther E (wid Enoch)"

So...Marian's point stands true -- you must click through to the original record, even for something as simple as a city directory.  It's good that indexes Enoch's name, since it gives some help in deciding if the Esther Langel is the one you're looking for...but the index, and the fuller indexing record, are incomplete.

Makes you wonder what's hiding behind all those indexes for which we don't yet have digital originals, doesn't it!

1 comment:

  1. Julia I've had that exact same experience, where it turned out to be the widow's record. I am completely with you; I am so suspicious of records where the original cannot be viewed. I'm really never happy unless I can see the image. I click on every image! Can't help myself.