Talk:World Archives Project: Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, Church Records, 1636-1850

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Revision as of 05:33, 18 December 2012 by Annafechter (talk | contribs) (Questions and Answers)
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Feel free to add to or edit information in this discussion tab as necessary. Please take time to become familiar with the General Keying Standards and be sure to read all instructions on the main project page. (Please note that in case of a discrepancy, project level instructions always trump general keying standards.)

Extra Keying Helps

  • Here is a list of common abbreviations you may encounter.


Also for Intentions and Publishments (marriages) p = publishment and c= certificate, hence the c date is the date of the actual marriage.

From United Congregational Church, Little Compton, book: a = admission, b = baptism, ab = admission and baptism (on same date)

  • We will sometimes see an Event City outside Rhode Island. In those cases only key the city, not state and/or country. Cities outside Rhode Island will not be in the dictionary so F7 will be needed.

NJ Marriage.JPG In this example "Plainfield" will be keyed.

  • The Event City can often be found in the page header, like Westerly in this example:

Grace Church.JPG

Usually, only every other page will have this header. For the other pages, that don't list the City in the header, we should not assume the Event City is the same. Then we can only get the Event City from each item and we may often need to leave the Event City blank.

Many items on the pages will list one or more cities which are not the Event City. Those cities whould not be used, even if there is no identified location for the event.

Example Marriage Record.JPG

This is a marriage record and the birth and residence locations are not to be keyed.

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

Do not key Jr in given or surname fields. Per keying guidelines: In cases where the name is listed as Rev. John Smith, or John Smith, Jr, and there is not a prefix or suffix field the name should be entered with John in the Given Name field and Smith in the Surname field, without either prefix or suffix. [1] -- Wiedwoman 21:35, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Please check that you have keyed the Event City if it appears at the top of the page. Even though the city name may appear only once on the image, if you miss it out of every record on the page, it could have a bad effect on your accuracy stats! --Katerimmer 12:05, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Questions and Answers

If you have a keying question that is not answered on the project page or in any of the information above, click “EDIT” and ask it here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.

Q: I have a birth records entry which reads GOULD THOMAS, OF THOMAS AND SARAH, MIDDLETOWN, JULY 11, 1728.  The next line reads JOHN, OCT. 29, 1736.  Am I to assume (and key) that John is also the son of Thomas & Sarah born in Middletown?  Or do I only key John's name and birthdate as seen?

A:We have decided that the parents need to be copied down until the next record where parents are given.
Attached is an image that I have marked with numbers showing each new set of parents.

(previous discussion here has been summarized for Keying Helps section above and removed.)

Q. I have a list of names along with dates that follow a "b." At first I thought it meant birth, but it became apparant that there were too many multiple births (quintuplets, etc.). Then I determined that it must mean baptized. There are also "a."s, which I thought meant about, but now I am finding dates that follow "ab.". What do all these mean?

A: I believe the a's could stand for "aged".

Q. Regarding my question on abbreviations, here is an excerpt from page 35:  Using the suggested abbreviations, I think it is highly unlikely that there was a set of Octuplets, followed by a set of sextuplets. These are prevalent on the surrounding pages.  All these children of John Wood, including John Jr., are followed by a John, (no parent(s) given.  They are all "born" on the same "aged?" day.  I suggest that the "b" refers to baptism and the last "John" is the father of the preceding individuals and is being baptized at the same time.  I also suggest that the "a" may stand for something along the lines of "admitted into the church", or maybe some other type of of religious commitment.  Ideas??


Not an answer ... Can you give the titles of the two pages? If this is from a Friends (Quaker) church, they did not baptize (according to my sources). No other ideas yet but still thinking. (Tom)

On the left page you have "VITAL RECORD OF RHODE ISLAND", and on the right page is "UNITED CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH-LITTLE COMPTON.".

Here is some more fuel to add to the fire:


I get quite a few "wife of " so and so's. What is that about?  And I really don't understand the fourth entry from the bottom in the clip above.  This appears to be more evidence that "b." is being used for Baptized in this book.  Also, do we key the date as seen when it is 1748-9, etc.?

A: I found the same book on (link). Here is the header on the first page of that section:

Little Compton 1.JPG

So "a" is when admitted to the church. "ab" if if the person was baptised and admitted on the same day.


A: Excellent!  Now if we could just get those added to the drop-down list.
A: "Baptism" is in the list. I have been using "Other" for "admission", "received", "letter" etc. that I am seeing. But I am not entering multiple records for a person if they are only "Other" records (like Mary Valentine's letter date below):

Mary Valentine.JPG

Here I entered one "Other" record for James, to capture that name, and one "Death" record for Mary. I did not bother with an "Other" record for Mary for the letter since it wouldn't help anyone for searching, once we have captured her name in another record. Is that ok?

Q. More abbreviation questions: In the following clip you will find "dr."s, "d."s, and sometimes both together.  "d." cannot indicate "died" in this case, as several entries have both "d." and "died" with two different dates. Perhaps you could find a complete listing of abbreviations particular to this book.


(Tom) Please report the titles from the tops of the two pages; then I will see if I can find the book elsewhere online to look at the opening pages.

Without knowing more, those "d" entries look like indexes to annual books.

A: I used your link and finally found the answer to the question above, regarding d., dr, and b. in this section.  See clip below:


Q: The following excerpt has a lot of information.

Mother Surname.JPG

It seems perfectly clear to me that I can/should key the mother of William and David as "Mary Harris". This all seems to read like a paragraph. Or is that inferring too much?

On the other hand the following excerpt is structured the same but does not include "his wife" and "their children".

No his wife.JPG

So for this one I list the mother of Sarah et al as "Phebe G Peckham". Although it's pretty obvious that she is "Phebe G Lockwood" the data does not explicitly say that. Ok?

Since first writing this question a couple days ago I have seen this structure very often, listing the parents followed by the children. So now I have started keying e.g. the mother of Sarah as "Phebe G Lockwood" rather than "Phebe G Peckham" as I believe the book intends that to be clear. Is this ok or is it inferring too much?

A: You're correct, Phebe G Lockwood is how the mother should be keyed.Annafechter 12:33, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Q: In working on marriage records, I have encountered many instances where the bride's maiden name (and her parents' last name) is not given.  In that case, do we assume that the groom's last name should be used for every one in that grouping, or do we leave the surname fields blank for bride and her parents?

A: In this situation we would not assume their surnames. The only cases in which we would assume surnames are
1. When the child's name is listed in full but the parents names are not
2. When the parents' full names are listed but the child's surname is not


If you have a suggestion or would like to make an addition to the project page, click “EDIT” and post your suggestion here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.