Substantial information is often available in list format. Examples include Tax lists, Land Records, and the like, the content of which have been drawn for public domain records. A common problem with such lists is that the data in the original records are presented in an irregular format. In some records for a given list, the persons name may be given first, followed by the date, followed by a specific entry containing the information about that person on that particular date. Sometimes, however, the order of information varies. In some instances, for example, the date may appear as the first item in the record, followed by the information entry, followed by the persons name. In simple lists, this is usually not problematic, but in large lists, and particularly those containing many data elements, these irregularities may make the list very difficult to use effectively. For example, land records for Washington County Virginia have been extracted by Rhonda Robertson and are available on the web in two locations:
- Rootsweb Washington County Archives, etc.
- New River Notes
The resulting lists of data contain many different data elements (persons name, lists of assignments, dates of recordation, dates of survey, types of land instruments involved, lists of neighbors, lists of geographic markers, etc. These data are not presented in the original records in a consistent order; the utility of these records can be substantially improved by "regularizing" them---that is, by rearranging the various data elements into a consistent order. When displayed as a tabular list, similarities and patterns in the records can be more readily distinquished.
A simple example of a regularized list is the Russell County, Virginia Tax List 1794. An unregularized version is found at the US GenWeb Russell County Site.
A more complex example is the....