☞  This page is subject to progressive minor change, especially whilst the current reindexing exercise is in progress.


Most resources (such as a book or CD) have only a single entry in the Index, but some have several, so a particular reference-ID may appear more than once.

For example, the lines …

line-no Category County Parish Item-title
SN0205 Directory Suffolk Aldeburgh 1962/1963 Street Directory — Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham and Districts
SN0314 Directory Suffolk Leiston  1962/1963 Street Directory … etc
SN0359 Directory Suffolk Saxmundham 1962/1963 Street Directory … etc
SN0631 Directory Suffolk Alde Valley 1962/1963 Street Directory … etc


… all point to the same one copy of the street directory, now allocated reference "DIR1962AV".   Line no. 631 for "Alde Valley" (AV) has been added to aid traditional searching "by eye", as of course the directory covers more places than just the three towns listed — but only broadly the Alde Valley, excluding Framlingham for example.  The Alde Valley items of course always appear within the County of "Suffolk"!

Reference-ID "PRBUCTHOR" has been allocated to a "Family Tree Magazine" CD which contains Parish Records (PR) for the Buckinghamshire (BUC) village of Thornton (THOR), plus four other quite unrelated items.  If the CD had included anything relevant to one of our local communities, or broadly the Alde Valley or Suffolk or Norfolk or East Anglia, it would of course have been referenced to reflect that instead, as in the following example of a CD containing three items ...

line-no Category County Parish Item-title
SN0057 Census Hampshire Romsey Census - Romsey, Hampshire 1901
SN0291 PRegister Suffolk Ingham Parish Records - Ingham, Suffolk
SN0613 History     Wesley's Journal (Extract)


As the CD contains Parish Records (PR) for the Suffolk (SK) village of Ingham but with no date information, it has been allocated the reference of "PRSKINGH" — with a suffix of "2", because it happens to be the second Ingham Parish Register/Records item that we found during the reindexing exercise, after "PRSKINGHA".

At this early stage of the explanation, it is also useful to know that references for items in Categories of CENsus, DIRectory and MAP are often followed by a year (such as CEN1881UK), whatever the item's title.  Also, titles often include specific additional text to assist searches for key family-history data, for example —
"Garrett":  a few references to the famous family, of Aldeburgh, Leiston and Snape Maltings, who were also major C19th/C20th employers in the area;
"WWI":  First World War data;
"WW2":  Second World War data [very few of these].

As the Index is now a spreadsheet, you will realise that you can easily "Find" all "WWI"/etc records online at your leisure.  Similarly, if you can download the data into a read-writable spreadsheet (as explained on the Index page), you can then sort the Index so that all resources containing (say) 1881 Census records are displayed together, as their reference-ID's are prefixed "CEN1881".


The first five columns of the Index are (A) Line-no, (B) Category, (C) County, (D) Parish and (E) Item-title.  When the Index-spreadsheet is published on this website, the entries are sorted by "County" (C), then by "Parish" (D), then by Item-title (E).  Members who are familiar with the old printed Index will recognise that that is broadly how it was ordered before, though it was difficult to maintain it, as it was a Word-type document.

If you wish to sort the Index into a different order, or process it in some other way, there are instructions on the website "Index" page on how first to produce a sortable/editable copy on your own computer.  

The Line-no column (A) is new, and the line numbers all start with "SN", simply meaning "serial number".  Broadly, the first 629 lines are from the last version of the printed Index (dated 24th November 2016), except for a few lines swapped around to reunite related entries that had become separated over time, or remove duplicated lines, etc.  So, with the normal sort-order, the original lines stay broadly in order too, but with "newer" lines interspersed amongst them.  

The Category column (B) has been moved forward to this second position as it is often used as the first Element/part of the reference-ID.  Typical categories are "Biographies/personal-reminiscences" (usually with a reference starting "BIO"), BMD, Census (CEN), Directory (DIR, which includes gazetteers), Index (IDX), MAP, MIs (monumental inscriptions, plus military Rolls of Honour and war memorials), and Parish Registers (PR).  Category "Guide" (usually with reference-ID prefixed "HOW") includes "how-to" resources and item-lines formerly listed as "Sources" — whilst local guidebooks are usually categorised instead as Directories or Maps. 

Items under the former category of "General" have usually been merged into "History", whilst any Great War "History" records have been split out into the new category "Hist WWI", with "[WWI]" added to their Title in Column E. 

Newly-introduced Category "Fam.Hist" indicates magazine articles on Alde Valley named families or individuals, either amateur family-historians' investigative experiences searching for their forebears and/or factual local community history articles.  There may be several lines all with the same reference-ID (usually for one magazine-issue) for each of the places where such families lived (and indeed descendants may still do so), typically in a cluster of villages.  Additionally, named-family records that are listed under other Categories may have the text "family" or "families" within their Titles to ease their discovery.

The County column (C) is broadly self-explanatory, but also includes entries for larger geographical entities such as Australia, British Isles, East Anglia, "Eng&Wales", Ireland (meaning the whole island, typically pre-1922), London, UK, USA and Wales.  If "County" is a country outside the British Isles, the corresponding "Parish" will contain names of states or geographical regions (such as Massachusetts, New England and Tasmania), typically emigrant or transportation destinations.

The Parish column (D) is also broadly self-explanatory, but includes the names of towns — and entries for "Alde Valley" (always, of course, within the County of "Suffolk"!) for such items as the "1962/1963 Street Directory ..." mentioned above.  The column can also include names of civil Districts, ecclesiastical Benefices and Deaneries, historic Hundreds and Poor-Law Unions, Registration Districts or other sub-divisions of counties — or, as explained above, names of overseas states, etc.

Each Item-title, in Column E, is listed as closely as possible to what is shown on the item, but sometimes abbreviated with dots (…).  If there is useful information in the title which is too long to be shown, the item is annotated with "[NB]", which cross-refers to a note in jobsheet "NB".  Conversely, sometimes extra data is deliberately added to the Title, within square brackets, to aid searches — for example, as mentioned already, First World War items contain "[WWI]" in their Title, whilst family-history records that do not most naturally fall into the "Fam.Hist" Category may contain  "family" or "families".  Any first word "The" is omitted.

The Media column (F) usually suggests in which drawer or cupboard an item can be found in, in our Help Centre.  Typical values are book (with a spine and not very small), booklet (anything like a thin book but stapled, or a very small book), box, card, "CD" (simplifying the former cover-CD/“CvrCD” and “DVD” entries), "env"elope, fiche, "folder" (which includes the former value of "binder", or ring/spiral binders), "mag"azine and paper (which is flimsy, stored in a lever-arch file and/or stapled).  Small magazines are annotated "mag A5", as their size influences where they're filed.  Further media-types are map and photos (usually with the reference-ID prefixed “MAP”, "PHO" or "LGS"). 

Many delicate items (such as booklets, cards, envelopes, paper, maps and photos) may be filed arbitrarily together in lever-arch files, to protect them from damage. 

As well as the foregoing physical resources, certain computer-files are indexed —
● Files that are ONLY available via the "Index⬇︎Downloads" webpage are NOT indexed, as they are on the One Suffolk server, not stored in our Help Centre.
● Media values are ".jpg" (single-page graphics, typically individual photos), ".mp3" (audio tracks, typically BIOgraphical/Reminiscences), or ".pdf" (graphics). 
● Graphics files may also have a laminated one- or two-page print version (on a "card") with the same reference-ID, and typically stored in a lever-arch file. 
● Files of type ".doc" or ".docx" are NOT stored in our Help Centre archive, but are first converted to ".pdf" format to prevent their accidental corruption. 


The structured nine-character reference-ID, in Column G, relates to one identifiable media resource as above.  See the separate, fuller section below.


The "Source" column (H) simply holds information about how the resource was obtained, or other additional permanent notes.

The remaining columns, "Notes" (I), cover-CD "date" (J), reindexing "TO DO?" (K) and "done" (L) will not be retained once reindexing is complete. 


The structured nine-character reference-ID relates to one identifiable physical resource (such as a CD or a book) or to one computer-file, and is generally based on its Category, County and Parish (in that order) — or at least those values for the item within that resource that is most relevant to us in the Alde Valley, for example one particular file within a CD.  That means that (say) five index-lines can share one reference, as explained with the examples for the Street Directory, or Thornton (Bucks) and Ingham (Suffolk) mentioned above.   

It is useful to know that references for CENsus, DIRectory and MAP are often followed by a year (such as CEN1881UK), whatever the item's title.


For a fully-structured ID, there are up to four elements as follows —
Element 1 relates to column B (Category), but is often not used;
Element 2 relates to Place — columns C and D (County and Parish);
Element 3 depends on 1 and 2, usually related to the Title in Column E;
Element 4 (with Media/Col.F value "mag"azine) is an issue-date, e.g. "185" for May 2018 —
OR just a sensible, recognisable free-format abbreviation of its Title, place it relates to, or its purpose,
such as an Element 1/Category followed by an ≈six-character contraction of the Place-name.

Each physical resource has a sticky PROPERTY-OF label to which its Reference-ID has usually been added — in the form "CEN 1881 UK", with spaces for clarity.  However, the microfiches are all stored in envelopes in a single box, already in alphabetical order of their Title, so it seemed pointless to mark them with their Reference-ID and then have to re-sort them — and also the action of removing the fiches before writing on each envelope's label might have damaged them. 

ELEMENT 1 = often null ≡ Column B (Category)
If an arrow (➡︎) is shown, particular further element-values usually follow, but the dagger (†) symbol means that Element-2 (place/County/Parish) is never used, except maybe within “yyyyuu”, which denotes a year followed by a (possibly place-name-related) two-character unique-id.

Item-lines for Magazines and magazine-articles: If there is only one item-line for a particular magazine-issue, use a reference-ID prefixed PSIAH or magazi as appropriate.  Otherwise, before doing so, consider if any of the magazine articles' item-lines would benefit from a more meaningful reference-ID taken from the list below, and share that amongst all the issue's lines.

Item-lines for History, "History WWI" and "Fam.Hist" categories generally (unless they relate to articles in Suffolk-based magazines) adopt a more meaningful reference-ID associated with another item-line for the same resource, taken from the list below.  If it is for a particular area or community, use "HIS" followed by a contraction of the place's name.  As a last resort, if it is the only index-line for a particular resource and has an ISBN, then consider using its Dewey number.


BIO = biography, personal reminiscences  
BMD = BMD (incl births-only, marriages-only, deaths-only; also marriage licences)  
CEN = † census ➡︎ CENyyyyuu, etc (see Element 3)
D = † Dewey number (used only as a last resort): visit ➡︎ Dddd.dddu
DIR = directory/gazetteer/local guidebook: if date imprecise, match to a census-year (1yy1) if possible ➡︎ DIRyyyyuu
HIS     Item-lines for History, "Hist WWI" and "Fam.Hist": but see paragraph above first.  
HOW = † “How to” guides (DIY books and similar, including "My Ancestor was a ..." book series)  
IDX = index or list or similar [but if the item relates to particular locality/ies, "DIR" may be more suitable]  
PSIAHyyyy = † "Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History" annual journal for year "yyyy"  
magazi = † magazine-title from Title/Col.E (six characters, e.g. "SKREVW" for "Suffolk Review") + Element 4 (issue or date) below
MAP = map(s): if date imprecise, match to a census-year (1yy1) if possible.  [Use "DIR" for local guidebooks] ➡︎ MAPyyyyuu
MISSINGuu = † missing item from within a set, with “uu”nique-id  
MI = monumental inscriptions (including military Rolls of Honour, war memorials and gravestone inscriptions)  
PHO = photograph collection (except LGS / Leiston Grammar School: see Element 2 below)  
PR = Parish Register or Records  
SOU = † source-list  


ELEMENT 2 = Place ≡ Columns C and D (County and Parish)

☞  When first allocating a reference-id, scan both Element-2 lists, top to bottom, until a suitable match is found, adding new abbreviations as needed.

approximately Kings Lynn / Downham Market / Ely / Cambridge / ✈ Stansted / Maldon
briefly: the whole of Suffolk and Norfolk, plus eastern Cambridgeshire and north-east Essex
OR historically east of the river Great Ouse and north of the Blackwater, which in modern terms is broadly north-east of the M11, ✈ Stansted and A120

— Where an item has several lines (e.g. for Aldeburgh, Leiston and Saxmundham), an extra line is added for “Suffolk|Alde Valley” and then the ref-ID includes “AV”.
— Similarly, where a multi-line item is for Suffolk AND Norfolk (and maybe other counties), add an extra line for East Anglia, and then the ref-ID includes “EA”.  
— If an item relating to more than one county includes either Suffolk OR Norfolk (but not both), its reference-ID includes “SK” OR “NK”, but no "extra" line.  

uu = unique-id part of “yyyyuu”: often AV/SK/NK/EA/etc below, but may relate to important detail in Title (e.g. RC=Catholic, RN=Royal Navy)
(null) = locality not relevant
LGS = Leiston Grammar School photos (digital) ➡︎ LGSyy-yzs, etc. (per Element 3).  [The originals are being passed to Suffolk Record Office]
L or LE or LEI = Leiston
ALDB/ALB/AL = Aldeburgh
ALDR = Aldringham
SX or SAX = Saxmundham
SAXT = Saxtead
WS = Westleton
tow = Alde Valley town/village (per website Map page): three letters are usually enough
AV = Alde Valley (or broadly coinciding with it)
BSE = Bury St Edmunds
FRAM or FRA = Framlingham
FX = Felixstowe
IPS or IP = Ipswich
SWOLD or SW = Southwold ["SW" can also mean south-west]
SKtow = Suffolk town/village (outside the Alde Valley)
SK = Suffolk (and perhaps other counties, but not Norfolk)
NR = Norwich
NKtow = Norfolk town/village
NK = Norfolk (and perhaps other counties, but not Suffolk)
EA = East Anglia (= Suffolk AND Norfolk, and perhaps other counties)
CAM or CB = Cambridge/Cambs
ESX or EX = Essex [should really be “ESS”, but unlikely to be confused with "East Sussex"!]


OUTSIDE EAST ANGLIA (extra "troublesome" counties are added as they are encountered)

☞      If a town/village is named, it typically follows its county abbreviation — see: "coutow" below
BK or BUC = Buckinghamshire
KE or KEN = Kent
NI = Northern Ireland
EYK = East Yorkshire
DBS = Derbyshire [should really be “DBY”]
DER = Derby
HEF = Herefordshire
HRT = Hertfordshire
IRE = Ireland (Republic or whole island, e.g. pre-1922)
LBbor = post-1963 London Borough "LBabc" (e.g. LB Ealing ➡︎ "LBEAL") — for Barking/Barnet/Haringey/Harrow, refer to ISO 3166-2 below
LON or LO = London
NBL = Northumberland
cou = UK county — most obvious "abc", but if that is ambiguous (e.g. HERefordshire and HERtfordshire) ...
          ... visit —or—
coutow = UK town/village outside Suffolk and Norfolk  (e.g. Biggleswade in Bedfordshire ➡︎ "BEDBIG")
WLS = Wales
BRI or BI = British Isles


ELEMENT 3 = free-format unique id (usually related to Title/Column E)

ddd.dddu = D/Dewey number, followed by single-character “u”nique reference
yyyyuu = BMD or CENsus or DIRectory data with "uu"nique-id
            (e.g. all three index-lines for "1851 British Census (Norfolk, Warwick, Devon)"  ➡︎ "CEN1851NK"
             OR for "Suffolk 1851 Census [by Registration] District"  ➡︎ "CEN51dddp", where "ddd"=district and "p"=part=sub-Volume
             OR for "1881 Census SuffolkBirthplace idx — Fiche01" ➡︎ "CEN81SKB1")
yy-yzs OR yyyyss ... = LGS/Leiston Grammar School photos — formats vary slightly, but indicate school-year and sport


ELEMENT 4 = issue-date (only for “magazi”,  from Title/Col.E)for magazine's own entry-line, Category/Col.B = "History" or "Fam.Hist", and Media/Col.F="mag"

iii = issue number (rarely)
yyp = issue year/period, where "period" is one of the following ...
yy1 to yy9 = January to September: if for two months (e.g. "June/July"), take the earlier ("yy6").
yyE = Easter/Spring/Q1
yyS = Summer/Q2
yyU = October/Autumn/Q3
yyV = November
yyW = December/Winter/Q4 (e.g. Winter 2015/16 ➡︎ "15W")
yyX = Christmas/Xmas





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