Arbitration Webinar – The archived webinars are now available!

If you didn’t get a chance to join us for the arbitration webinars you can now view them online.

Session I, which was focused on UK collections, the England, Newspaper Index Cards and the England and Wales, Criminal Registers is available here.   Session II, which was more focused on US records, Nebraska State Census and the Naturalisation records, is available here.  Both webinars last a little over an hour and provide information on how to arbitrate as well as common keying errors that arbitrators see and how to avoid them.

We were asked a variety of project specific questions during the webinars – we will be posting a follow-up to these questions soon.

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In clicking on your link for the second Webinar, I was connected to the registration page, rather than the session itself.


If you didn’t register for the live webinar you have to register for each one before you can view them.

Although unable to attend the live webinar I found the archived session to be very interesting.

At the end a questionaire was displayed, is it possible that this could be provided to allow those that view the archived session the opportunity to provide their feedback.

An appropriate response timescale could be provided so as to maintain currency of information.

I listened with interest to the excellent Webinar recording which taught me a lot, eve though at present I only enter data.
However, I was very surprised at some of the records which were deemed “Other” in the Andrews register, especially when looked at from a researchers viewpoint. Recording a solicitors request for details regarding a will where the death of the person is detailed as “Other” and then recording the date as that manually put on the clipping and the solicitors location rather than where the person died could well deprive a researcher of a vital link where the date may be some years out and the location in a completely different continent. Surely the information regarding the death will be of more benefit to research?

I agree with some of the points in Ian’s post, especially with regard to dates.
The field help box instructs us to use the date in the article where there is one, and only choose the handwritten date if there is no date in the article.
In one of the examples, a probate notice for the Andrews collection, the arbitrator used the hand written date which was in September, although the notice contained a date in July.
Also, referring to the same notice, the place was changed from Kenya to London. Although the solicitors were London based, a researcher might be tempted to overlook this entry if they were seeking a person who was known to live in Kenya. If the notice of probate was made in Kenya, then would it not be more correct to keep the location as Kenya?
With regards to aliases, here I am thinking of the clipping of Emma Tucker Allen, otherwise Emily Tucker Allen, would it not be better to enter the second name as another record, with the same details except those of the given name?
I have raised this point before but with regards to a woman’s maiden name/nee, but if she were illegitimate her maiden name might be that of her mother, and not father. I agree that we should try to capture the maiden name but a less experienced researcher, may be misled by attributing the maiden name to the father.
Aside from these issues, the webinar was very interesting and helpful. I hope you will let us know when you have had an opportunity to answer the many questions that were coming in to you.

I heartily agree with Tina about aliases. In the absence of Alias fields it makes sense to enter two records.

Like Mike I was unable to attend the live webinar and have just watched the archived session. Even though I am only a ‘keyer’ at the moment, I did find it interesting and helpful with regards to entering data.

I do agree with Ian’s and Tina’s observations on the dates,locations and AKAs in the Andrews collection. The field help does state to use printed dates and only written ones if no date is shown in the article. Also solicitors are not always in the same country that a death occurred or, that a missing person was last known/seen in. Noting the AKAs I think could be vitally important, I may have known Emma Tucker Allen but not known that she also went by the name of Emily too!

I agree with Tina, Ian and Tanya.
When I have been keying in the Andrews cards, I have done it from the point of view of some one seeking personal information about the people listed. This would mean that whenever possible a death date should be entered as a death,a birth date as a birth etc. even if it is mentioned in a solicitor’s notice.

Also all aliases should be entered separately to aid those searching records.

Under the examples of arbitration mentioned in these comments it appears that the convenience and uniformity of entering is more important than endeavoring to convey the really useful information.

As I understand it these Andrews records that you mention are posted by a solicitor usually looking for members of the deceased family or similar. They appear in the newspaper on the date that is hand written, not the date the deceased died. That is why it is important that the clippings are read very carefully. They are posted in the newspaper by the solicitor, that is why it is important to key the location of the solicitor. Not the location of the deceased. The original notification of death (if there was one) will be keyed as such once it becomes available so don’t worry about keying ‘false’ information.


Pat Clark’s suggestion, where these solicitor’s and treasury notices are recorded with Record Type: Deaths, not Other, is a good one. This would allow the inclusion of the actual date and place of death, if given. My one misgiving with this is that we would be directing a researcher to death information which is not strictly speaking contained within a death notice. This is the reason I have keyed such records as Other but with the date and place of the death. That, and the instructions to use the printed date.

A significant number of these notices are treasury solicitor notices, which relate to an individual who has died intestate, or without a valid will, and where notice is being made before the deceased’s estate reverts to the UK Treasury in the absence of a legitimate heir. As the Treasury Solicitor’s office is based in London, all references to these clippings will have a London location and a date which can be many months, and even years after the individuals death.

I have also seen clippings of where solicitors have placed an advert in the 1960’s looking for the descendents of a couple who married 100+ years ago.

One of the most useful functions on Ancestry is the ability to search by name, date and location. I may be alone in my thinking, but I feel keying the location of the solicitor and the date the advert/notice appears would make this image set a poor research tool.

Seems I started an interesting discussion. I have a feeling, looking at how the cards are set up, they have been generated by people like ourselves, possibly looking to settle estates for a commission. As Tina, Tanya and Pat have already said, they are really only of benefit if significant names, dates and events are indexed. Who is going to search on “London, 1954” for an event which took place in Australia between 1880 and 1900? I agree with Michelles point about the cutting being posted in the newspaper by a Solicitor but a researcher would not necessarily be aware of their of their interest. Surely, the whole point of indexing is to locate the person concerned (at the top of the card) and what prompted the newspaper cutting ideally BMD. The suggested way will simply generate an inordinate number of “Others”!

I think Ian has the right idea as to what these cards are all about. I am no expert, however I have always understood that, where solicitors have been unable to trace the next of kin or beneficiary of a will, the money is placed ‘in chancery’ and will become dormant funds.
I presume that the chancery agents, who were collecting the newspaper cuttings that eventually became the Andrews collection, were compiling a
database which they hoped would assist in tracing heirs.

As to Ian’s comment about the large number of record type, ‘Other’ that will be generated, I feel this would not be significant if the data captured was directly relevent to the lead name on the card.

Some time ago I sent an email to Ancestry inquiring how to categorize those clippings that, while containing all the information usually found in a death notice, is actually a Treasury Department or solicitor’s advertisement. Although I may have inadvertently deleted the response I received, I seem to remember being told that if there was sufficient information in the notice, to key it as type, “death”; otherwise key it as, “other”.

In the webinar, the commentator (I believe it was Anna) seemed to say that which date/location to use depended on which type of event had been chosen, implying that either choice would be acceptable.

As a researcher, I agree with those who have commented that they would be misled from an entry in an index that, while for a name in which I was interested, the event that was several decades later, than I would have expected, or in a location that seemingly had no connection to where my ancestors were last known to have been. Perhaps if I was researching an unusual name, I would look at any entry for that name, but if I’ve learned nothing else from all the keying I’ve been doing, it is that certain names are extremely common and have reoccurred over hundreds of years.

I found the talk verry interesting and i learned a great deal.
being english the dates and some of the places are easy, but i have been indexing the place of death rather than the solicitors location, now i know better.
perhaps everyone should view the webinar especially if you are doing the Andrews collection.

A few comments on keying the “Andrews” collection:

– It is important to only key one record/line for each event.

– If the article is regarding a missing person, or is a solicitor looking for heirs it should be categorized as other.

Appreciate the comments made re keying as “Other” for Solicitors looking for next of kin where there are no definite death details but do agree with Tina and Ian and those who say we should use the death details of those abroad where these are given, in say Probate Notices. In the years covered by the Andrews Cards, Commonwealth countries were not independent and all outstanding probate notices had to be published in London – you will see most are from the offices in Storeys Gate. If we index these as suggested in the webinar – we will end up with a long list of names and dates in London that won’t be identifiable to any researchers looking at the index.

I just caught up with the webinar yesterday and have read with some relief the comments already posted: nearly all of my concerns about the Anrews collection have already been voiced. What is really puzzling me now is why, as I have been keying as ‘death’ records most of those which I now understand should be keyed as ‘other’, I have an accuracy rating of 97%. Does this raise questions about the consistency of arbitration? I shall of course now key these records as explained in the webinar, but I do agree with the others who have expressed the opinion that this renders many records largely unfindable by researchers.
One further question about the collection: how should we key a ‘clipping’ which is in fact a continuation of the previous clipping (usually apparently written on the back of the first clipping)? These often contain information which is useful to a researcher, but there is no ‘primary name’. I have been keying these using the primary name and event details from the first clipping, but I don’t know if this is correct.
Anyway – thanks for the webinar: it’s a useful means of communicating and raising issues relating to the project.

i am related to bingham’s and blake’ grandmother was named frances as well i am the 5th generation of the cursed name lol anyways i cant figure out how to post anything