Friday, May 7, 2010

Finding Databases without Name Indexes

I posted twice last year about databases that do not have name indexes, but have a significant number of names included in the database images. The two posts were:

* Updated List of Unindexed Databases on 2 October 2009

* Unindexed Databases at Redux on 5 May 2009

In both of those posts, I used this search string on Google: [ "no search function for names" ] . Unfortunately, that search string no longer returns many matches - apparently has changed their database descriptions and are no longer using a standard phrase for databases without name indexes. It was so easy before! Arggh!!

I wanted to update this list, so I went through the lists in the two previous posts to determine if the databases listed still were not name indexed, plus Googled some search terms, and came up with these (there are a few new ones):

* Missouri Still Birth & Miscellaneous Records, 1805-2002

* Selected U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Image Only - World Archives Project)

* U.S. Revolutionary War Miscellaneous Records (Manuscript File(, 1775-1790s

* U.S. Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904

* War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815

* Hamburg Passenger Lists, Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934

* Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916 (World Archives Project)

* AJHS New York Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1860-1934

* AJHS Industrial Removal Office Records, 1899-1922

* AJHS Selected Mayor's Court Cases, New York, 1674-1860

* AJHS Selected Insolvent Debtor's Cases, 1787-1861

* Mecklenburg, Germany, Jewish Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1813-1918

* Mecklenburg, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1876-1918

* Paris & Vicinity, France, Death Notices, 1860-1902

* New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifests, 1807-1860 (World Archives Project)

* Dept of Interior Decisions on Pensions and Bounty-Land Claims (1886-1930)

* London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

* U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix Slave Plantation and Head Tax Lists, 1772-1821

* U.S. Freedmen's Marriage Records, 1861-1869

* Summit County, Ohio, Death Records, 1870-1908

* World War II Japanese-American Internment Camp Documents, 1942 -1946

* Returns from Regular Army Regiments, 1821-1916

* U.S. Circuit Court Criminal Case Files, 1790-1871

* Lübeck, Germany, Births, 1813-1875

* Lübeck, Germany, Marriage Banns, 1813-1871

* Lübeck, Germany Citizenship Register, 1591-1919

War of 1812 Papers, 1789-1815

Several of the projects above are in the World Archives Project (AWAP). The current list of Ancestry World Archives Projects is at The page includes databases that are Available (for indexing), Unavailable (for indexing), Completed (indexed and images are available) and Live (being indexed, but available for searching and browsing on

There are also several (how many?) databases on that are poorly indexed. These include:

* Many of the Massachusetts Vital Records to Year 1850 ("tan") books are not first-name indexed.

* The US Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records database is arranged by State and Regiment.

* The Berks County, Pennsylvania Estate Papers, 1752-1914 surname search returns no names after Bleckley.

* The California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 are notorious for not providing exact matches of first and last names, and for having the street names indexed

* The Newspapers matches do not provide for exact matches of first and last names, and are keyword indexed so that names are not distinguished from ordinary words

The last four items were noted by Genea-Musings reader and commenter Geolover in the earlier posts.

What good are these online databases if there is not a useful name index? If a researcher searches for a name, the records in these databases will not show up on the list of matches. Not every researcher knows that there are some databases on that do not have name indexes.

The Card Catalog can be used to determine the databases available for specific subjects. There is a link to the Card Catalog in the "Record Collections" box on a person's home page, but it is not prominent.

IMHO, a link to the list of unindexed databases in Ancestry'c collection should be highlighted on a member's home page.

If you know of another unindexed database, or a poorly indexed database, please comment and I will add it to the list above.

Last updated: 3 July 2011

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Randy, thanks to your post, I am doing a genea happy dance! I found my brick wall ancestor's in the Naturalization Index in the unindexed names on

Thanks soooooo much for the post.