☞  This page is subject to 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 (though not, for example, Framlingham).  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 the whole Alde Valley, or Suffolk 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.  Items for the First World War now all contain "WWI" in their title — and typically contain key family history data.

As the Index is now a spreadsheet, you will realise that you can easily "Find" all "WWI" 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, except with a few lines swapped around to reunite related entries that had become separated over time.  So, with the normal sort-order, the original lines stay broadly in order too, but with "newer" lines mixed in amongst them.  

The Category column (B) has been moved forward to this second position as it is often used as the first element of the new reference-ID.  Typical categories are biographies/reminiscences (which entries usually have a reference prefix of "BIO"), BMD, census (CEN), directory (DIR), Guide (HOW), index (IDX), MAP, MI (monumental inscriptions or war memorials) and parish registers (PR).  In this sense, "guide" means "how-to" resources — guidebooks are likely to be categorised as Directories or Maps.  Other categories, not usually part of the reference-ID, include General (which we are trying to phase out), "Hist WWI", History and Magazine.

The County column (C) is broadly self-explanatory, but includes entries for British Isles, East Anglia, "Eng&Wales", Ireland (meaning the whole island, typically pre-1922), London, UK and Wales.

The Parish column (D) is also broadly self-explanatory, but includes new entries for "Alde Valley" (within the County of "Suffolk"!) for such items as the "1962/1963 Street Directory ... etc", mentioned above.  The column can also include names of Benefices, Districts, Deaneries or other sub-divisions of counties.

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.  

The Media column (F) usually suggests if the item is a computer-file or (most usually) in which drawer or cupboard it can be found in, in our Help Centre.  Typical values are ".mp3" (audio computer-file), ".pdf" (graphic computer-file), book (with a spine), booklet (anything like a thin book but stapled), box, card, "CD" (simplifying the former “CvrCD” and “DVD” entries), "env"elope, fiche, "folder" (which includes the former value of "binder"), "mag"azine and paper.  Also, items with media-type of map and photos usually have their reference-ID prefixed “MAP” or "PHO".

The structured nine-character reference-ID, in Column G, relates to one identifiable physical resource (such as a CD or a book) or to one computer-file.  See the separate, fuller section below.

Of the remaining columns, "Notes" (H), cover-CD "date" (J), reindexing "TO DO?" (K) and "done" (L) will not be retained once the reindexing exercise is complete.  The "Source" column (currently Column I) will remain.


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 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 is a (rarely used) date, e.g. "185" for a May 2018 magazine.

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

BIO = biography, reminiscences  
BMD = BMD (incl births-only, marriages-only, deaths-only; also marriage licences)  
CEN = census ➡︎ CENyyyyuu or CENyySKuu
D = † Dewey no. (used only as last resort) ➡︎Dddd.dddu
DIR = directory/gazetteer  ➡︎DIRyyyyuu
HIS = history (but not if "PSIAH" below; if not for a particular place, consider Dewey)  
HOW = † “How to” guides (books) BUT, unless a meaningful reference, use Dewey no.  
IDX = index  
magazi = † magazine-title from Col.E (e.g. "SKREVW" for "Suffolk Review") + element 4 (issue or date) below
MAP = map ➡︎MAPyyyyuu
MISSINGuu = † missing item from within a set, with “uu”nique-id  
MI = monumental inscriptions (including war memorials)  
PHO = photograph collections (except LGS / Leiston Grammar School)  
PR = Parish Register or Records  
PSIAH = † "Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History" annual journal ➡︎PSIAHyyyy
SOU = † source-list  


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

☞  When first allocating a reference-id, we scan down the two Element-2 lists 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 north-east of the rivers Great Ouse and Blackwater, which in modern times is broadly north-east of the M11, ✈ Stansted and A120

— Where an item has several lines (e.g. for Aldeburgh, Leiston and Saxmundham), a further 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 a further line for East Anglia, and then the ref-ID includes “EA”.  
— If a multi-county area includes either only Suffolk OR Norfolk, ref-ID includes “SK” OR “NK”, but no extra line.  

uu = unique-id part of “yyyyuu”: often AV/SK/NK/EA/etc below
LGS = Leiston Grammar School photos (physical or digital) ➡︎ LGSyy-yzs, etc. (per Element 3)
L or LE = Leiston
FX = Felixstowe
SX or SAX = Saxmundham (or “SAX”)
WS = Westleton
BSE = Bury St Edmunds
CAM or CB = Cambridge/Cambs
ESX or EX = Essex [should really be “ESS”, but unlikely to clash with "East Sussex"!]
IPS = Ipswich
ALDB = Aldeburgh
ALDR = Aldringham
tow = Alde Valley town/village (per website Map page): three letters are enough
AV = Alde Valley (or broadly coinciding with it)
SKtow = Suffolk town/village (outside the Alde Valley)
SK = Suffolk (and perhaps other counties, but not Norfolk)
NKtow = Norfolk town/village
NK = Norfolk (and perhaps other counties, but not Suffolk)
EA = East Anglia (= Suffolk AND Norfolk, and perhaps other counties)


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 = London Borough (e.g. LB Ealing ➡︎ "LBEAL") — if post-1963 "LBabc" is ambiguous, 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 exceptionally 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 = date/issue (only for “magazi”, from Title/Column E)

iii = issue number
yyp = 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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