Message Boards Update

We have been very excited to see the activity and interaction on the World Archives general message board.  In hopes of making the message boards more approachable, and a place where more focused discussions can occur, we have created four new message boards covering the main types of records that we are currently working on; Naturalization Indexes, Census Records, International Projects – English Language, and International Projects – Other Languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, …).   

The message boards are a great place to discuss questions, share stories you have found, and to network with other contributors.  We appreciate your contributions and willingness to help each other through the keying process – we have found many great posts and have learned a lot (what could be better, where you are having difficulties, what changes you would like made, etc.) from reading the message boards and we hope you do too.  Enjoy the new message boards!

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Have enjoyed helping with the NY Naturalization Indexes. However, either it wasn’t clear in the instructions, or I just missed it, but several questions have arisen but I have worked through them but wanted to post to see if I am on the right track. Also, others may have the same question:
1. Name Change. When a card shows the name of the individual and then you see something like (See and then another name) that is spelled similarly, is that technically a name change? Since it didn’t say “Name Change to: or “Change name”, I have been going to the next line after entering the data and inputting that other name and then marking the date fields as blank. That is not using the name change entry form. Hopefully, this is correct.
2. Sometimes you wll see 2 dates on a card. Not sure why 2 but the dates are obviously important. For several 100 cards, whenever I encountered the 2 dates, I just omitted the 2nd date. However, it dawned on me that I could go to the 2nd line. Mark the name fields as blank on that 2nd line and then input the 2nd date. Is this correct?
If the above isn’t correct, then maybe my entries can be corrected during the comparison process. Thank you for any insight you can offer.
Ed Ratliff

I believe the changes in names noted on the cards are made about the time they were mailed out. If there were any changes given them before that date the were typed in above the original name line, in some cases below that line. I have been condensing these changes into the two cells provided. In most cases that is sufficient to present the informaiton to a search engine. I don’t know whether the additional lines on the key page are actually recorded or simply ignored. I tend to believe the latter.


Yes, as you are keying these records, you will sometimes see two lines with two dates. Typically, preceding these dates are either “Pet.####” or “Dec.####” and then a date.

The ‘Dec.####” refers to the Declaration of Intent. This sometimes also referred as “First Papers” as this was the first papers that an immigrant would file to become a naturalized citizen. Typically first papers were filed after about 2 years after the immigrant arrived in the U.S. Then after a total of 5 years (or more) or 3+ years after filing their Declaration, the immigrant returned to court and then filed their Petition for Naturalization. Therefore, both of these have dates.

Additionally, you may have noticed that after the date, you will see a two number sequence such as “134-235”. I believe that this refers to the Volume Number and Page number within the volume/register where the original record is located.

Then every once and awhile you will also see an A.R.####, this is typically the Alien Registration number of the individual.

Now in the event I see a date for the Dec. and Pet., I enter in the surname, given on 2 different lines with the 2 different dates. Seen nothing official yet from Ancestry and how to process.

In terms of name changes, I have seen several cards with Surname, Given (Alias Surname, Alias Given) without any “Change Name” or “Change To”. I normally enter as a change name in order to record the alias. Working with other records there is NO guarantee that a card exists with the other name and this information is important.

Sorry so lengthy!

A lot of the names seem to be corrected spellings rather than actual name changes. I use the name change form (unless a birth date or age is also on the card) and enter the one that seems to be the true/correct name as the birth name and the misspelled name as the alias. If it is not clear which is the original name, I choose the one that seems to be foreign (Alberto) for the birth name and the other (Albert) for the alias, assuming that the person was anglicizing their name. Of course, it could be the other way around, but we just have to do our best.

Does anyone else have problems with the red highlight box jumping back to the top of the card or form when you are trying to highlight something near the bottom of the document? This has happened to me on every type of form (not each individual document) I have keyed. It gets annoying, because I have to move it back to the middle or bottom of the document several times. Sometimes it is necessary to ignore the red box and just key the data.
Any ideas?

When there are two dates with one discreet name, I enter the name on two lines (or records) by using the F3 key to copy from the cell above and then the dates (usually one is “dec” and the other is “Pet” as Richard details in comment #3).
When there are two names and one date I enter both names with the same dates on two lines.
And if there are two names with two dates I enter 4 lines.
When these are finally made available, I think an advanced search of a name and date will display more accurate results if all names and dates are available in the indexes we’re creating.
Also, I have only seen one image that actually says “name changed to” so that is the only one I have actually used the ‘Name Change card’ type of entry.


I think you will find that ancestry has given a definitive answer re what dates you use if there are more than one. This was queried early in the project and the answer is on the old main message board. The advice was

If there are 2 dates then please key the petition date

If there is only 1 date key it even if it is not the petition date.

As the petition date is usually the latter one – if you have 2 dates with no labels – I would key the latter one as this fits in with the advice

In general, none of these records so far should need a 2nd line keying except possibly where you have more than one alias/alternative spelling/name change.

Hope this clears up some of the queries.

While I’m glad we have new message boards split out, I’m afraid people are still going to go to the general message board because of the link from the software. Would it be possible to change the link to go to the place where the individual message boards are? And then, of course, would it be possible to move the other threads to the new locations?

I was having trouble with the red highligt, too. For the index cards, I just turn it off, since you can make the entire card fit the screen (while still being legible.) I’m now working on the Nebraska census, and since the pages have 50 single-line entries, I rely on the highlight, which can become seriously misaligned. In those cases, I use the highlight drop down menu from the toolbar, and move it back into alignment. I may have to do this several times a page, but it does make data entry much easier.

I agree with your enthusiasm about the message boards but I have a lot of difficutly keeping up with all of the disjointed information. I have been arbitrating sets for some time now and only today did I find that there is an arbitrators message board that apparently only a few know about. Isn’t there a better way of making sure all the volunteers receive the information they need?

There is a post from arbitration that says (SEE ANOTHER NAME) can be done as either a name change or Generic. I myself use the name change card. When you tab to the date section, in the bottom right corner of the instructions it says PLEASE ENTER THE PET date.

I recently came across a set of cards that has a name but next to it says (FOR with another name) I asked ancestry how to key this and they said they had never seen a card like this and asked me to send a screen shot of it. A couple days later they sent me a reply saying to just key the first name on the card they will deal with the (FOR another name) at a later time.

We are working on moving applicable messages to the new message boards. I am glad that the message boards are being well used, we saw quite an increase in traffic this past week.

I’m glad to see that the old messages on the main message board are to be moved to the new specific boards. It would also be very helpful if the Message Board Section on the Dashboard webpage contained links to all project-specific message boards. Right now it only displays the main board and a lot of people are still using the main board to post project-specific items.


While working on the Nebraska census I had so much trouble with the red highlighting tool, I just gave up. It was lines ahead of where I was working despite going back and reentering the coordinates. I have done a lot of indexing on the Family Search projects and find their system much easier to use.

I’ve completed over 1500 NYC Naturalization Idex records and have been surprised to find that only a very few (probably 10 or less)have been women. Any information on this?
Thank you for your insight.