Monday, March 02, 2015

Indexing the books of Lawrence G.Green

Lawrence G. Green was a prolific author and raconteur who wrote stories about people and places, mostly in southern Africa.

I've found some of his books useful in family history research, as some of them mention family members, or places where they lived. In his life as a journalist he collected notes on all sorts of topics, and wrote them up in his books, sometimes reusing the same story in more than one book.

I have been rereading some of his books to make notes for family history research, and in response to a recent review of To the river's end someone pointed me to a combined index of 23 of his books.

I downloaded the index, which was unfortunately in PDF format, though someone kindly converted it so that I could get it into a spreadsheet. Unfortunately none of the books in the index had any references to the families I was interested in (Morris, Stewardson and Green) and it did not give page numbers. Also, the personal names were listed with surname last, which makes alphabetical sorting by surname difficult. It also appeared to be simply based on the printed indexes in the books, which are not complete, and many of the most interesting and useful bits in the books do not appear in the printed indexes at all.

Someone else sent me another index, which was rather too complex and difficult to use.

So I would like to propose a new collaborative indexing project for the books of Lawrence George Green.

I propose that people who have access to Lawrence G. Green's books undertake to index one or two of them, and communicate with each other to ensure that the work is not duplicated.

The entries should be in book index format, and entered in a spreadsheat or database program that can export a file in "comma-separated values" (CSV) format.

The fields should be:

  1. Combined Index
  2. Book
  3. Page

They should all be text fields.

The Combined Index field should contain the index entry, initially compiled from the printed book index, and then supplemented by going through the book and adding missing entries. The Combined Index field should look like this:

Moffat, Robert
Moore, Leopold
Morton, (hangman)
Morris, Abraham
Moss, George
Muchison Club
Musina people
Myres, Prof J.L.
Oates, Frank
Oberholzer (farmer)
Old Drift
Oswell, William Cotton

Personal names should be listed with surname first, and proper names with the initial letters capitalised.

If you use a spreadsheet program, when you enter the title of the book, it will usually offer a duplicate entry, which can saving typing (and typos).

If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this proposal, please write them in the comments section below, and also if you would be interested in taking part in such a project.

You can get a copy of this article, with a sample index, at the following link:

I suggest that discussion and coordination of this project take place in the African Genealogy Forum on Yahoogroups, which has facilities for uploading and downloading files and entering files in a database.

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