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Monday, August 23, 2010

Don't overlook information on original sources!

Disownya1 asked about a record he/she found:
I found the declaration #639 and declaration page 211 on Francesco Vartuli under Declaration of Intent for Naturalization: New York County: 1907-1924. I can't find what is in the file, only those numbers. What can I do with those numbers? Order online? Go to New York and do a physical search?
ASK OLIVE TREE answer: Well Disownya1, you sent me on a bit of a chase! You neglected to tell me *where* you found this indexed information so I had a hunt.

Why did I need to know where you found it?

Because 99.9% of all databases, whether online or in a book or on microfilm, have an EXPLANATION with the data which explains where the database came from, what's contained in it and where to obtain the full details!

This is very important. Without that information you are in the dark as to how and where to obtain the full record. So I'm always surprised by how many researchers overlook it. It might be at the beginning of a book or microfilm, or at the end. With an online database you must look to see where it is displayed on the website.

So I went on a hunt and I found that you searched Index to Declaration of Intent for Naturalization: New York County, 1907-1924 on . This is what I needed to know - the location where you found the entry. Then I simply read what was on the page on the website and your question was answered.

So go back to the website. Search for your name of interest again. When you see the search results you will also see a paragraph or two that begins with

Source Information: Index to Declaration of Intent for Naturalization: New York County, 1907-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2003.

Original data: New York State Supreme Court. Declarations of Intention filed in New York County, 1907-1924. County Clerk's Office, New York County, New York.

This database is an index to Declarations of Intentions for Naturalization for New York County, New York, U.S.A. from 1907 to 1924.....
Keep reading - you will see a clickable link "Learn More..."

By clicking on that link you will find out exactly what information the original records contain.

But how do you get those records? Well, if it were me, I'd write and request them from the Original Data source given with the explanation. It tells you exactly where the originals are kept.

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