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Standards for Recording Information

The key to success is to copy only what the record actually states. DO NOT add, change nor assume information. Note any differences or conflicting information in the Note or Sources section. The idea is to avoid repetitive research on the same individual looking for the same fact (or lack of fact).

1. Names:

a. Record the individual's full name in the order the name is spoken: first name, middle name(s), last name. Separate the first and middle name from the last name by slashes, example: John David SMITH or John David/Smith/

b. Always use the maiden name (surname at birth) when referring to a female.

c. Uncommon names or spellings should be noted indicating that the name was recorded accurately.

d. Always use the full legal name of the individual, although that person might use only part of their name or use their middle name. Initials are acceptable only when research fails to give the full name.

e. If an individual changes their name, by legal name change or by adoption, note it in the Notes or Sources section. Likewise, if the individual simply changes their name without court action, note the change.

f. "Sr" and "Jr" should be recorded only when actually part of their legal name.

g. When a person has initials only, use quotation marks: "AJ"

h. If the maiden name of a woman is the same as the surname of her husband, note that information in the Notes or Sources section.

2. Dates:

a. All dates should be written as day, month, year in that order: 14 Sep 1950. Numbers should never be used for the months. The full year should always be written out.

b. Use the following abbreviations for the months: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

c. When is child is born out of wedlock, prior to nine months of marrige, after the death of the father or more than five years between children, note the fact in the Notes or Sources section is show accuracy of date.

d. If the death date is unknown, use "wp" for will proved or "wd" for will dated.

3. Places:

a. Places should always be designated by city/town, county, state/province or country (if other than the United States or Canada). DO NOT abbreviate the names of the city or county. It is recommended that you spell out the name of the state or province, but the authorized two-letter postal abbreviations are acceptable. Example: Church Point, Digby, Nova Scotia or Opelousas, St Landry, Louisiana

b. When an event took place out in rural, unincorporated area, the abbreviation "Co" is used as part of the county name: Essex Co, Massachusetts

c. When the city or town is known, the county must be determined.

Note: When determining the county, state or country, it is important to remember that boundaries change and counties and counties and states are divided. Determine the correct county/state/country at the time of the event, not what it is today. If there have been changes, note the change in the Sources area.

4. Relationships:

a. If the individual has been married more than once, enter a (1) or (2), as appropriate, to the left of the spouses' name. This will help to avoid confusion as to the order of the marriages, especially if the dates aren't known.

b. If the couple divorce, enter (div) after the date of marriage.

c. The sex/gender of a child should be listed as: M for male, F for female or U for unstated or unknown.

d. If the given name of a child is unknown and the sex is unknown, use "child" followed by the surname. If the sex of the child is known, use "son" or "daughter" followed by the surname.

e. Adopted children may be entered with adoptive parents and no mention of the adoption is necessary. However, the adoptive information is desired due to conflict of dates. Note the adoptive information in the Notes or Sources section.

f. Stillborn children should be recorded.

g. Following the names of multiple births, enter "twins", "triplets", etc. This is in part to show that the birth dates are correct.

h. If an individual lived long enough to marry, but didn't marry, enter "unmd." This will save time in searching for a spouse and possible children that didn't exist.

i. If an unmarried woman has a child out of wedlock, ender "not md." This will same time in searching for a marriage that didn't exist.

5. Miscellaneous Items:

a. Always use a permanent mailing address for future contact. This is important if you are in an occupation where you move frequently, such as in the military.

b. Be specific in the Source of Information section. "Family records" is not acceptable.

c. If there is a Notes or Necessary Explanations section, list anything that will clarify the data that you are showing on the form.

6. Common Errors:

a. Transposing dates. Example: 1582 for 1852

b. Dates do not agree. Example: parents married in 1870, child born in 1860

c. Information missing.

d. Information copied incorrectly.

e. Names and places different. Example: Port Royal, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, is in what was once called Acadia. In Louisiana that is a parish (county) called Acadia. The error would be listing an event occurring in Acadia (i.e. Nova Scotia) as having occurred in Louisiana.

f. Several family members using photocopies of one person's genealogy that is not documented or verified.