How should I interpret the dates on this record?

+3 votes
36 views

This Massachusetts birth record describes "births in the town of Quincy during the year next preceding May 1, 1846".  I find this wording very confusing.  Should I interpret this as any births May 1 and later occurred in 1845, and any before May 1 occurred in 1846?  Whoever transcribed the record placed all the births in 1846.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6R4S-XNK?i=404&cc=1536925

asked in Genealogy Help by Brian Lamothe G2G4 (4.9k points)

1 Answer

+4 votes
 
Best answer
If you back up a few pages (402) you will see that the clerk wrote in the year in the left column as 1846. It is always good to check other pages in order to sort out the methodology a clerk was using. The preprinted wording is definitely confusing.
answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (177k points)
selected by Brian Lamothe
Thank you Doug.  I backed up a couple pages, but I guess I didn't go quite far enough.  This confirms my interpretation as the years written in the "Birth Date" column follow the 1845 after May 1, and 1846 before May 1 methodology.  Now I feel like I need to check every record like this that I have in my sources for the transcription errors.

When the original records exist I never trust the transcription or index. Too many errors. The error rate on some big sites like Ancestry has been going up as they use more non-native English speakers to index. It appears that they get little real training, especially with handwriting. It is good to remember that an index is not a source. Ancestry and FamilySearch searches bring up the indexed information. You really do have to look at the source and evaluate the original, if possible. For some records you may have to go to the beginning of a volume to find the information necessary to decode. Another good thing about checking the original records is that sometimes there is more useful information that didn't get indexed. Margin notes in church records is one of my favorite things to look for. Sometimes tell you where someone moved to (or from).

Another source of useful information that you might want to check are the unindexed records at FamilySearch for Quincy. There are a number of digitized but not indexed records there. Go to the Catalog entry under the Search pull-down and search for Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts. If a camera appears as an icon, it has been digitized. If there is a "?" near it is has been indexed. If a "key" is above it you have to go to a Family History Center or the Family History Library to view it (licensing terms restrict it). 

Related questions

+4 votes
1 answer
+12 votes
2 answers
+4 votes
2 answers
+7 votes
4 answers
145 views asked May 23, 2015 in Genealogy Help by Janice Robertson G2G Crew (520 points)
+6 votes
1 answer
52 views asked Sep 28, 2017 in Genealogy Help by G Anonymous G2G Crew (940 points)
+5 votes
1 answer
58 views asked Jul 27, 2015 in Policy and Style by Sheila Anderson G2G1 (1.5k points)
+3 votes
1 answer

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright

...