US, West Virginia—Will Books, 1756–1971 [Part A]


Project-Specific Indexing Instructions



Determining the Image Type

  •  The following links are examples of some of the different types of wills in this project:

                  Will 1

                  Will 2

                  Will 3

                  Will 4

                  Will 5

  • Although many other types of documents are included in this project, you will index only the wills. All other types of documents, including inventories, appraisements, property information, and court probate documents, will not be indexed. If an image contains only one or more of these other kinds of documents, the image should be marked as a No Extractable Data Image.
  • Index only the first page of each will or the first page of a codicil to a will. The first page usually begins with the words “Last Will and Testament of . . .” or “I [person's name] being of sound mind and body.” Each image that contains only pages following the first page of the will should be marked as a No Extractable Data image.
  • Because images may contain more than one record, search each image carefully before you determine what to put in the Image Type field. If the image has at least one first page of a will, select Normal in the Image Type field.

What to Remember as You Index This Project

  • Index only the first page of each will.
  • All other types of documents should not be indexed. If an image includes only these kinds of documents, the image should be marked as a No Extractable Data image. Other types of documents you might see include:

                 — Additional pages of a will

                 — Inventories

                 — Real estate or property information

                 — Appraisements

                 — Letters or correspondence about a will

                 — Probate or court documents

  • A single image could include more than one will, each of which pertains to different individuals. When multiple wills appear on the same image, index the first will; then create a new record and index the second will.
  • In determining the image type, be sure to search each page carefully, and remember that an image will often include more than one page. Some pages include more than one record, and a will may start anywhere on a page—at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom.
  • If an individual’s name is listed with various spellings on a will, include all variants, separating each with the word “or.”

    For example, if a name was written as Joseph Broski, Joseph Browzowski, and Jozef Brzozowski, all in the same will, you would index the name fields as follows:

    Given Name: Joseph or Jozef

    Surname: Broski or Brozowski or Brzozowski

  • If you find a joint parties will—a will filed by a husband and wife or two or more family members—index all parties, creating a new record for each additional person. If a husband and wife are the joint parties, index the husband first; then create a new record, and index the wife.

Number of Records per Image

  • The data entry area of the indexing screen is set at one record per image. If your batch includes images with more than one record, you will need to add entry records to match the number of records on the image. To add entry records:
    1. On the menu bar, click Tools.
    2. Click Records per Image....
    3. Click in the Number of records box, and type the number of records on the image.
    4. Click OK.

Highlights and the Ruler

  • Because of the many different forms found in this project, highlights are not available. You may use the ruler instead to follow a record across an image.
  • If you choose to use the ruler, please be aware that the ruler is not anchored to the indexing screen and does not automatically move as you move to a new entry. To use the ruler:
    1. On the menu bar, click View.
    2. Select Show Ruler.

Handwriting Helps

  • Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting help on the data entry screen may help you decipher the handwriting.
  • To access this help, on the toolbar just above the data entry area, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill).