Read the Instructions
- Please read these project instructions carefully before indexing any batches.
- Review this page and the field helps frequently for updates to these instructions.
- Click here for a summary of project updates.
What to Index in This Project
- Index only the name of the testator—the person whose will is on the image.
- Index only the page of the will or codicil on which the name of the testator first appears. The name is usually written on the first page and often begins with the words "Last Will and Testament of..." or "I, [person's name], being of sound mind and body…." Click here and here for examples.
- DO NOT INDEX THE NAMES of any other person mentioned in the will, such as heirs, beneficiaries, spouses, children, executors, administrators, attorneys, judges, or clerks.
- If you find a joint parties will—a will filed by two or more people—index the names of all testators, creating a new record for each additional person. For example, if a husband and wife are the joint parties, index the name of one spouse; then create a new record, and index the name of the other spouse. Click here for an example.
- If a will and a codicil to the same will are both on the same image, index the name of the testator just once (since it will be the same for the will and the codicil and will refer to the same image). Do not add a new record and index the same name twice for the single image. Click here for an example. However, if a will and codicil appear on different images, index the name once for each image.
- 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. Click here for an example.
- 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
Determining the Image Type
- In this project, you will index wills and codicils only.
- The following links are some examples of different types of wills and codicils:
- You will index only the page of the will or codicil on which the testator’s name first appears. Any image that contains ONLY additional pages of the will or codicil should be marked as a No Extractable Data Image.
- All other types of documents should not be indexed. If an image contains only these other types of documents, the image should be marked as a No Extractable Data Image. Click here for an example. These other types of documents might include:
- Additional pages of a will.
- Real estate or property information.
- Letters or correspondence about a will.
- Probate or court documents.
- If an image contains a document that is not to be indexed in this project, such as an inventory or a probate court document, as well as the first page of a will with the testator's name, the image should be marked as Normal, but only the will should be indexed. Click here and here for examples. Ignore the other documents.
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 will or wills with more than one testator, you will need to add records in the data entry area to match the number of records on the image. To add records:
- On the menu bar, click Tools.
- Click Records per Image.
- Click in the Number of records box, and type the number of records on the image.
- Click OK.
- Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher the handwriting.
- To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill).