Basic indexing guidelines

Updated: march 30, 2020


Each project has its own instructions due to the nature of the document and needs specific according to the information that can be found. These specific rules for each project can be found by opening an image, then clicking on ‘Instructions from the project'. The ‘Basic Indexing Rules’ below is a set of general rules that apply whenever the ‘Project Instructions’ are not specific or does not answer your questions. If you have any questions about how to index information, first refer to the Project and, if still in doubt, consult the Basic Indexing Rules.


Before you start filling out the indexing form, you will need to determine if the image can be indexed. The images that can be indexed are all those that have some information and for that, we click on the green button. Just click on the red button when you find an image completely without information, for example: cover image, against cover or cover page, title page, etc. If you cannot read the information document, click pause indexing and choose another project. Never click on the button red just because I don't have the experience to read that text.


Often you will not find the information requested for a field in the image specific to the indexing form. When this happens, always mark the field as empty. To do this, use the (CONTROL) + (B) buttons or use the (_x_) icon (empty field) found in the toolbar above the document you are indexing. The signal will be added to the field. For cases where the field is blank or the information is missing, use these features and never type .


An information becomes unreadable only when there is something that prevents its reading, like an ink blot on the text, a part of the document destroyed, folded or torn. To do this, use the (CONTROL) + (U) keys or use the icon (_? _) (unreadable field) found in the toolbar above the document that is indexing. The sign is added to the field. For cases where the field is impossible to read, use these resources and never type .

Never mark the field as illegible if you, for lack of experience or knowledge of spelling, fail to decipher the word . if you find the text very difficult to read, which is beyond your current experience of reading old documents, consider returning the image and choose another project to index .



Do not expand name abbreviations unless you are aware and sure you are typing the correct name. Wrong names can prevent a researcher from finding the record that want. If you're not sure, index exactly how the name appears on the document.

Example: Fernando S. Souza, type Fernando S Souza.


If a place name was mistyped and you can determine the correct spelling, correct the error. If you are working on a foreign project, do not translate the names of the locations. If the name of a place has been abbreviated and you have knowledge and certainty, enter the full name instead of the abbreviation. If you are not sure what an abbreviation means, type what was written. Do not use periods in abbreviations.

When entering a place name, do not include terms such as 'near', 'approximately', 'around', 'municipality', 'city', 'state', or any other than the exact name of the locality unless be part of the name, for example: Mexico City or New York City.

If you do not know or are not sure whether a place name refers to a city, state, country or other search for more information on Google and type in the geographically smaller name available. Do not use the person's nationality to determine the location of the record.

Corrected information and notes:

It is relatively common to find images of documents with corrections made by hand. You can find crossed out information and the correction just above or even in the sequence. You can find the word 'I say' and then the correct information or even another indication of that information is wrong followed by correct information. Always type the corrected information. If the information has been crossed out and has not been corrected, enter the crossed out information.

Annotation is the act of registering something in a registry office and changes the registration made previously. In general, the annotations are found on the same record sheet, but on the side as an additional note. If you find a record with an annotation, consider that information to be correct and enter it in the indexing form.


In MyPast Indexing the full name is indexed in a single field. The search engine has artificial intelligence capable of differentiating information and facilitate the search for names and surnames. If the person’s name has been registered more than once, read all content, including the signature when present at the end of the document and index the most complete version.

For example: If you find the name Francisco Sales and then the name Francisco Souza Sales referring to the same person, index Francisco Souza Sales. Consider the maiden names (o) and married (o) and type in their respective fields. Don't try to guess a person's last name if based on the surname of other people, such as parents or spouse.


do not index titles of nobility, terms or pronouns of treatment . if a child's name has been ignored and the terms baby, stillborn, child or other are representing the name, not index this information. Use CONTROL B to indicate that the information does not exist.


If multiple spouses have been listed for a single individual, index only the name of the current spouse. If you are not sure who the current one was, enter the name of the first mentioned.


The order in which the dates are written (day, month and year) varies depending on where the documents were created. Observe the details and index the information in their respective form fields. If multiple dates have been recorded for a birth, enter the oldest date. If multiple dates were given for other life events, enter the most recent date or last date. For events that include a date range, such as "between February 2 and February 14, 1907, enter the most recent date.


Please list only complete years. Example: 3 and a half years, index as 3. If a child's age months of life, index the age as 0 (zero). If a person's age was with a break, such as 'between 18-20 years old', index the youngest age. Whether age is an assumption or how approximate number, only index the registered age.


Don't assume a person's gender just based on their names. However, you can use terms of kinship or other indications in the language to determine the person's gender, such as the words "daughter", "son", "mrs", "she", "he", and so on. Observe notes that are usually found around side of the original record.