Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time to Write: #4 an Index

Genealogy books need a Table of Contents and an Index to make their use easier. I want both in the book I am writing about my mother’s family, ‘Remembrances’. I am using Microsoft Word 2010 for my manuscript.

What to Include
To decide what items to include in my index I thought about trips I have taken to libraries & archives. When I pull books off the shelves there what would I like to find in those indices?

Locations; towns, counties, etc.

Female Names
Names of females present problems because names usually change with marriage. I want to make the women in my family easy to find in my book. In the index I list them by maiden name. I wonder if I should also list them by married name in the index. It would be more complicated but I wonder if it would be more useful.

In the pages of the book I use this: Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner
In the index I use this:                     Coyle, Helen F. (Gardner)

Insert Index
It was not difficult to go to the end of my document, click on the Reference tab & click Insert Index. There are, of course, options. My index is fairly basic. I just want it to be easy to read & use. I do use the two column option. One column leaves lots of white space on each page & three columns do not give enough space for long names. 

Having said that inputting an index is easy, inputting each name is VERY time consuming. One chapter at a time I read through my work carefully looking for those names & places I want included in the index. Highlight each entry; go to the Reference Tab; in the Index section click ‘Mark Entry’. Then in the Main Entry box type the way you want this entry to appear in the index. For example, if you highlight Joe Brown you probably want the Main Entry to be Brown, Joe. Type it in the box. Then click either ‘Mark’ or ‘Mark All’ which will automatically include all Joe Brown references in the manuscript.

I have sections in my Index that are a step more complicated. I have cemeteries listed under the topic Cemeteries with the locations beneath. If you want to do this highlight the name of the cemetery; click on Mark Entry; put the name of the cemetery in the Subentry box & the word Cemeteries in the Main Entry box. I have done the same with Churches, Ships & Soldiers.

Youtube has several videos showing the Index steps clearly. I suggest looking at one for details.

Update Index
As with my Table of Contents, as I add and revise my manuscript I update my Index. Just go to the Index, click on it to highlight it; go to the Reference Tab, Index section & click on Update Index.

Your Thoughts?


Marian B. Wood said...

Colleen, may I suggest you include your female ancestors in the index under BOTH maiden name AND married name? You can use parentheses to indicate maiden name or another way (such as "nee Coyle") in the married name entry. This is because some people who don't know the maiden name would look for them under their married name, I found out with my index. So I put the married name too and said "See entry 'Maiden Surname, First Name'" to alert them to where the page numbers are. Good luck with your manuscript! You're making huge progress!

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Thanks, Marion. That's a great suggestion!

Charlie Purvis said...

Colleen, I’m so glad you did this series. I'm thoroughly enjoying each new step in the process.