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Some locations of events are in the form "civil, minot, androscoggin, maine". What does the'civil' in the location mean?


As an example using FamilySearch I have a whole family that has two entries per person.

George Briggs Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915

birth: 11 October 1807 BERKELEY, BRISTOL, MASSACHUSETTS father: George Briggs mother: Eunice

as well as

George Briggs Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900

birth: 11 October 1807 CIVIL, MINOT, ANDROSCOGGIN, MAINE residence: 1807 Minot, Androscoggin, Maine, United States father: George Briggs mother: Eunice

I have also seen 'CIVIL' for other families I have been researching. Does this mean it is duplicate perhaps, or something else?

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I believe this is a quirk in the way FamilySearch indexed a particular town record book for Minot, Maine. Many, if not all, of the entries from the indexing of the film (#11550) of that book use "Civil, " as if it were a subdivision of Minot. Some, but not all, of those entries have nearly duplicate entries that use a location name for Minot that does not include "Civil", one or two of the Briggs family included.

There a fair number of other towns which FamilySearch shows "Civil" at the front of the town names in the indexes of vital records. A cursory check found this for some towns in some, but not all, states in New England. It seems to be used for vital statistics from town records (as opposed to church records, which used to be predominant). The appearance in Family Search index entries probably survives from early indexing efforts decades ago using a short-lived convention. Searching on FamilySearch with place terms using just "civil" does not retrieve relevant results, unlike searching for a town name (like just "Minot")

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