How to use our Index
Our Help Centre archive contains much local information, particularly for the Alde Valley — defined at http://avsfhg.org.uk/maps/, but broadly within about ten miles' radius of Snape. It includes several graveyard catalogues, censuses, directories, information on local war memorials, books, and historic maps. Our Index can be downloaded from our website at http://avsfhg.org.uk/downloads, or emailed to you on request from our Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. Index updates, listing recent acquisitions in detail, are emailed to Members with our quarterly Newsletter (which also lists them in summary form).
THE INDEX 'COLUMNS'
|1st / A||2nd / B||3rd / C||4th / D||5th / E||6th / F||7th / G||8th / H||9th / I|
The first line of the Index contains the column headings shown above. The Line-number, Notes and Memo columns can all be ignored. As published, the Index is sorted (ordered) alphabetically by County, and within that by Parish, then by item Title (the third, fourth and fifth columns). Apart from certain magazine and photo collections, not only does it individually list (or summarise) all our resources (and for each relevant community), but for example also points to articles of particular local interest within Suffolk history magazines that we hold, often referencing named families (which would be marked "Family Hist" in the second, "Category", column). We currently have about 1,300 items in our archive, yet there are almost 2,000 index-lines.
THE 'ROWS' OR INDEX-LINES
Each index-line has its own Category (in the second column), which can be any of Biographies/personal-reminiscences, BMD (births, marriages and deaths), Census, Directory, Guide (“My Ancestor was ...” and "how to" books, etc), History, Family Hist, History WWI, History WW2, Index, Map, MI's (monumental inscriptions, etc), Photos, or "PRegisters" (meaning Parish Registers and Records).
So, for example, the entries “Family Hist | Family's amazing escape from flying bomb [Crisp family, Rookery Farm]” and “Biog/Remin | Mill-dweller wants to try and make an opera [Benjamin Britten]” are both within the magazine “History | Snape Express: Reporting the last 2000 Years” — and all have the same reference-ID, “SNAPE2000”, under which they are indexed, with Media “paper❋” (in the sixth column). By reference to the recently added webpage “Where to find things in the Help Centre” at http://avsfhg.org.uk/idx/where/, you can see that “paper*” is filed alphabetically in lever-arch files that will be found in the cupboard with sliding doors. (A new bookcase is being built so reorganisation can happen when we're able.)
“MI's” refer here not only to "monumental inscriptions", but also to war memorials, military Rolls of Honour, churchyard surveys, church record transcriptions, graves, and burial plot indexes. You will realise that these all might hold similar types of information, but in widely different forms.
The County and Parish columns are rather broader in concept than their titles might suggest. There is a Suffolk "parish" called "Alde Valley", and another one "Suffolk Regiment". Similarly, "County" includes East Anglia, England, Wales, Eng&Wales, UK, Ireland, British Isles, Channel Is. and a few foreign countries (whose "parishes" include typical emigrant or transportation destinations such as Massachusetts and Tasmania).
SIMPLE USAGE (say for a particular community)
The simplest way to use the Index is to scan it by eye, just as if you were viewing a printed copy, or looking up a particular word in a dictionary. For an idea of the wide variety of what we can have in our archive, please view the several records for Saxmundham. As you might expect, they are about two-thirds of the way through the Index within the Suffolk entries. Enquiry this way may well be sufficient for all your needs, if you're interested in only a few places. If it isn't — perhaps your interest is in a particular subject, such as Poor Law establishments — more suggestions follow below.
MAGAZINES AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES
We hold several years' worth of the "Suffolk Local History Council Newsletter" and "Suffolk Review", but only articles of particular local interest are indexed — the title includes the issue date and page numbers, whilst the Reference-ID will be prefixed "SLHCNL" or "SKREVW" as appropriate, followed by the issue date. All issues of "Suffolk Roots" ARE indexed, however, because it is the only Suffolk magazine dedicated to family history — any interesting articles within them are indexed also, the "SKRO0T" or "SKROOT"-prefixed Reference-ID matching the issue date. There are also scans taken from national magazines (such as WDYTYA? magazine), but the original printed issues are not retained, as we can make better use of the storage space — the articles' Reference-ID's relate to their subject matter, not the magazine's name.
ACCESS TO OUR RESOURCES
In normal times, you could drop in at our fortnightly Help Centre sessions to view any items of interest to you. You would find them by reference to our "Where to find things in the Help Centre" webpage. However, for now, you are welcome to raise a Research Request — visit http://avsfhg.org.uk/research/ or use the physical form appended to this Newsletter. Depending on any lockdown rules then current, we shall do what we can to help.
INTEREST IN A PARTICULAR SUBJECT
If your interest is in a particular subject, you can use the Excel "Edit" > "Find" facility by supplying text such as "Boer", "famil" (to cover singular and plural), "Garrett" (or other specific family names), "railway", "poor", "workhouse", "WWI", etc. As they say, other software apart from Excel is also available — but may work slightly differently.
So, to gather (say) all the maps together, you could use the Excel "Edit" > "Sort" facility to sort on the second and fourth columns (B = "Category" and D = "Parish"), which will reorder them alphabetically. Instead, sorted on the second and fifth (E = "Title") columns, they will be broadly in map-number order, generally in west-to-east strips. (As it happens, the Index also has three extra pages/"jobsheets" listing just the OS 25" maps in different orders — you can see these by clicking on the tabs OS25_CHEST, OS25_MAPNO or OS25_ALPHA.) More maps may be found by searching specifically on "map", which can identify the presence of useful maps within books, if we've noticed them during our indexation.
(Depending on your platform and software, your download copy may be "read-only", preventing any changes to the Index. If you wish to sort or otherwise edit it for your own use, you need a "read-write" version — just email the Webmaster as above, asking for a copy to be sent to you.)
The "Family Hist" Category references are usually to resources featuring local named families, such as the Garretts.
You can also sort the Index on the seventh column (G = Ref-ID), so that all resources containing (say) 1881 Census records are displayed together, as their reference-IDs are prefixed “CEN1881”, whatever the form of their Title.