Monday, November 17, 2014

An image of an index is still an index

There are some indexes on FamilySearch, and other websites that have images of the index attached. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if there is an image that it is automatically an image of an original document.  An image of an index record is still only an index.  Here are two examples, one from and one from FamilySearch.

Texas Birth Index (

birthScreenshot from

Even though this is an official index from the Texas Department of Health it is still an index and you would cite it as such.  You would not cite this the same way as you would cite a birth certificate.


California, San Diego Naturalization Index, 1868-1958 (on FamilySearch, linked to Fold3)

natScreenshot from Fold3

This is not the person’s naturalization papers.  This index will help you locate the naturalization papers but if you think that the information contained on this card is all there is then you are cheating yourself out of a lot of information.  The actual naturalization papers are a goldmine of information.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

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