“Essential” fields

Let’s talk a little about essential or highlighted fields.  What are they?  Why are they different? Do I need to key just these fields?

  • Every record should have this information and it is essential in creating the index.  Generally the essential fields are names and dates.
  • If you do not enter anything in this field you will need to mark it “blank”.
  • No, these are not the only fields that should be indexed.  All of the fields are important – these are just a little more important than others.

You can read more about these fields here and here.  If you have additional questions that we didn’t answer please reply in the comments.

Thank you for all you contribute and … happy indexing!



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When I first saw the Illinois Railroad records I thought “what a wealth of information”. It is often hard to find maiden names and here they were on these records.
So it is important to key not only the required information, but also any available information that will help identify the person.