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Rosey’s Girls – A Crazy Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

marrying mess

There’s that chart again – edited to include Rosey’s marriages and children.

There are some family puzzles that take years to solve.  You gather bits here and there that don’t always make sense.  Slowly, you learn more, but the core questions remain.  Then more records become available and you add those to the bits you already have and suddenly you are able to tie things together in a way you couldn’t before.  That is exactly the meandering path that Aunt Rosey has sent me on.  And what a journey it has been!

Almost two years ago I wrote about all of the matrimonial connections in this part of my tree.  Then, nearly a month ago now, I wrote about the Robert Hyde – Rosey Hyde marriage and child.  The questions that post brought up led me to spend time on a serious review of my sources and follow up on every single lead I had.  That process led me to find a tiny little hint of Norma.

 

Finding Norma meant that I discovered Rose Elvera Hyde wasn’t new to me.  I had just forgotten about her.

In fairness though, I had first known her as Elvira Kingham.

Let’s take a little journey down the rabbit hole together, shall we?

 

Many moons ago, the first record I found about Rosey Hyde – that I knew FOR SURE was about Rosey – was this marriage record to Harry Grant Kingham in 1914.

 

Rose Hyde & Harry Kingham, 1914 marriage record

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDZN-H68 : 21 January 2016), Harry Kingham and Rosey Hyde, 19 Apr 1914; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B11378, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1,983,706.

 

Rosey is listed as a spinster, which I had no reason to question.  I figured the record was accurate and thought I had found her first marriage.  The natural next step was to try to learn everything I could about Harry Grant Kingham.  I didn’t find much.  But I did find this US Consular Record.

 

KINGHAM, Harry Grant, 1915 US Consular Record

Ancestry.com. U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. http://ancstry.me/2oJg9ew

I hadn’t yet become savvy about how complicated this family was when I first found this document.  It lists two daughters for Harry that were born prior to his marriage to Rosey.  I tried to research them and just couldn’t find anything about a Grace Kingham or an Elvira Kingham.  I made the natural assumption that they were his daughters prior to his marriage to Rosey.  I tried to find a first wife for him – even though he was listed as a bachelor on his marriage record to Rosey – no luck.

So what did I do?

I added two daughters to Harry Grant Kingham with an unknown mother.  The girls were not attached to Rosey in my tree.

Now, fast forward to a few weeks ago…

When I found Rosey’s death record and discovered she had a daughter named Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson, I had forgotten all about Elvira Kingham.

Thank goodness for that pesky little travel record that was generated when Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson went to visit her sister Mrs. Norma ?rance in 1945.  That record led me to revisit every source attached to every person connected to Rosey Hyde.

So there I was, suddenly staring at two different Elveras in my tree – Elvira Kingham and Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson.  But they were really the same person.  So I merged them.

I quit taking any parent child relationships for granted at this point and used every combo of names for each girl.  I also quit considering Rosey’s husbands as minor character actors in her life.  The girls used Harry’s last name so I needed to know everything about Harry that I could find.

The next notable stop down the rabbit hole was Harry’s WWI Canadian Expeditionary Forces Personnel File.  There were plenty of facts about Harry but there were two pages that were especially enlightening about Rosey’s girls.

 

HYDE, Muriel Grace, record

Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; CEF Personnel Files; Reference: RG 150; Volume: Box 5181 – 42; http://ancstry.me/2qc1mci

 

This particular image was page 38 of Harry’s file and it told me that Grace was actually named Muriel Grace.

 

KINGHAM, Norma Robertine, record

Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; CEF Personnel Files; Reference: RG 150; Volume: Box 5181 – 42; http://ancstry.me/2qc1mci

 

This image was page 50 of Harry’s file and is the second mention of Norma – Norma Robertine Kingham – to be exact.

Suddenly, Rosey’s three girls began to make more sense to me.  I updated Grace in my tree with the name Muriel Grace Hyde, added Norma, and away I went.

Ancestry.com very quickly added a few hints to Muriel, including this Washington State Application for License to Wed.

 

HYDE, Muriel Grace and Walter E Groome, 1924 application for license to wed

Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Marriage Affidavits; http://ancstry.me/2q2GMMs

 

It certainly matched the few details I had about Muriel Grace.  The fact that the witness was a Robert Hyde was intriguing, but even more interesting to me was this line in the application: “…I further swear that there is no legal impediment to their marriage…and [they] are not nearer of kin to each other than second cousins.”

Hmmmmm… if that Muriel Grace was my Muriel Grace, and if that Robert Hyde was my Robert Hyde, did he feel sheepish signing that form and remembering that Muriel’s parentage was himself and his niece Rosey?

That is some genealogical irony right there.

Next, I pulled up the actual marriage certificate.

 

HYDE, Muriel G and Walter E Groome, 1924 Marriage Record

Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Marriage Certificates; http://ancstry.me/2otrp2x

 

Muriel listed her parents as Robert Hyde, born in Sheffield, Eng and Alice Whiteley, born in Sheffield, Eng.  Robert and Alice are the two witnesses to this union.

What?!

 

Quick recap – Alice Whiteley Hyde is the aunt turned step-mom of Rosey Hyde.  At the time of Muriel Grace Hyde’s birth, Alice Whiteley Hyde was married to Henry Hyde – her first marriage and his second.  If she was ever married to Robert Hyde is was after she was widowed first by Henry, then by his brother Arthur.  She was the informant on Robert’s death record and listed him as the divorced spouse of Rosey, not as her husband.

So, was Muriel the daughter of Alice or Rosey?

If it was Alice, then Alice had a child with her husband Henry’s brother while she was still married to Henry, then after Henry’s death proceeded to marry a different brother – Arthur, before finally settling down to live with the third brother Robert when she was once again widowed.

That seems too crazy, even for this family.

Did Muriel list Alice as her mother – because Alice was there, conveniently had the last name of Hyde as if she was married to Robert, and had a different maiden name – in an effort to avoid an uncomfortable conversation about why her mother’s maiden name matched her father’s name?  Especially when the license required that bride and groom not be more closely related than second cousins?  Was that little question putting Muriel on the spot mentally?  Was it highlighting her uncomfortable past?  Was Muriel lying to save face?  Was she lying because she was embarrassed?

And, why was Robert at the wedding but not Rosey?  In 1924 Rosey was a widowed single mom with two girls at home.  Maybe she couldn’t afford to travel from Vancouver, BC to Vancouver, Washington?

I hoped that Muriel’s death record might reveal something, anything, but unfortunately it is an index only record on both the BC Archives and FamilySearch.  FamilySearch does hold the microfilm on which the record exists, but it is stored in the Granite Mountain Vault.  {I will probably take a little trip up to Salt Lake to view the film, I just have to remember how to request a film from the vault… That is, if that film is allowed to be viewed…}

But I digress, the index to Muriel’s death lists this:

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.55.32 PM

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLLT-LM9 : 13 April 2017), Muriel Grace Groome, 1936.

 

Muriel is listed as having a father named Robert Hyde.  I find no record of any children born to Muriel and Walter during their 12 years of marriage.

At this point I reviewed a few old family notes and letters.  Now be careful not to get lost here.  I found a letter written by Vera, daughter of Alice Hyde Duval who is the sister of Rosey Hyde.  Yes that’s right, both sisters named a daughter Elvera.  This letter written by Vera to my Grandma, mentions an old scrapbook that Vera kept.  She asked my Grandma if she wanted to have it.

I had a lightbulb moment and remembered that my mom’s cousin Heather had emailed me a few scans of an old scrapbook she had.  I dug through my emails and found those scans.  Among them was this page.

 

valmore 4

 

When Heather sent this to me all those years ago, I had NO EARTHLY IDEA who Mr. and Mrs. Peter Williamson were.  I did some basic searching but came up empty.  I figured they were important to someone in my family so I went ahead and added them to FamilySearch and uploaded the announcement.  But now?  The minute that image opened, I knew exactly who they were – this was a marriage invitation for the daughter of Rose Elvera Hyde and Peter Williamson.

Rosey was a Grandma!

This union of Carole Rose Williamson and Gordon David Zilke produced at least four children.  Of those four children, at least one has died.  But the other three may be living.  I did a little Facebook digging and found a small cluster of living descendants.  Because this whole thing started from the position of thinking that Rosey was a gay barber who had no children, I was completely shocked to discover that Rosey has living descendants.  I was not expecting that at all.  I wonder if any of them know anything about Rosey?  I wonder if any of them have pictures of Rosey?

Because I think I do.

Duval - mystery marriage

I think this photo is of Rosey Hyde & Harry Grant Kingham at the time of their marriage in 1914.

I’m getting sidetracked again…

At the time of Rose Elvera Hyde’s Marriage to Peter Williamson, she listed her parents as Robert Hyde, born in England, and Rose Hyde, born in Golden, BC.

 

HYDE, Rose Elvera and Peter Williamson, 1927 Marriage Record

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JD8Y-NXZ : 21 January 2016), Peter Williamson and Rose Elvera Hyde, 04 Jul 1927; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B13753, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 2,074,506.

 

At the time of Rose Elvera Hyde’s death, her parents are listed as Robert Hyde, born in Sheffield, England, and Rose Whitely, born in Golden, BC.

 

 

The records for both Muriel Grace and Rose Elvera Hyde are inconsistent in identifying their parentage.  But they are clearly describing the same grouping of people.  Were these inaccuracies intentional or accidental?  Were they hiding something?  It seems like it.

This leaves one more daughter – Norma.  The daughter that is definitely not a child of Robert Hyde.  Norma, the daughter of Rosey Hyde, and Harry Grant Kingham.  Norma, who led me deep into the rabbit hole.  Norma, who changed her name to Barbara.  Norma, who deserves her own post.

So here I am stuck in this mental loop where I just can’t seem to reconcile everything.  Part of me wants to believe that Rosey’s birth is the key.  That Rosey isn’t really the daughter of Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley.  That maybe, just maybe, Rosey is the child of another couple, but that Ann and Henry took her in for some reason.  That reason wouldn’t be hard to come up with.  They were living in the extreme west in a very tiny little speck of a town.  So maybe Rosey is my adopted 2nd great grand aunt.  And just when I think I have myself good and convinced that this might be the case, I talk myself back out of it because there is no baby girl born in Golden, BC on the date that Rosey claims as her birthdate.  No baby girl of ANY name born in the entire year of 1883 in Golden, BC.

Where does this all leave me?

I’m not sure.

There is a story here – that is for certain.  It’s not a traditional story.  But man is it intriguing.  I have a few more records I am trying to scrounge up that I hope will shed some light on the core question – were Rosey Hyde and Robert Hyde both husband and wife AND uncle and niece?

  • I have reached out to the appropriate agency to try to get a copy of Robert and Rosey’s divorce decree – if it exists.
  • I have requested a copy of Alice Whiteley Hyde’s probate record.
  • I have ordered the Homestead File for Alice Whiteley Hyde and Henry Hyde’s homestead in Alaska.
  • I have requested any records about this whole lot from the church in Alaska that Alice Hyde Duval’s oldest son was baptized in – maybe there will be another event for that family in that church.
  • I need to get my hands on the image of Muriel Grace Hyde Groome’s death record if I can.
  • And lastly, I am currently building a spreadsheet with everyone’s entries in the City Directories to help me understand the timeline even better.  It is very enlightening.

 

And that, my friends, is where I am at.  Still undecided.  Still searching.  My core question is most likely unanswerable.  But I am so glad that I asked the question because I have learned so much more about this part of my family.  I have learned so much more about Rosey.

Rosey has become a very different person to me.  The picture of her life in my heart is very delicate and intricate.  There are details that come from the nuances of the records that lead me to believe that Harry was the great love of her life, that Neil was a loving old age companion, and that Robert, well, Robert seems to be the villain.  I don’t know if that’s fair, but that is who he is becoming in my mind.

Thank you for journeying down the rabbit hole with me.  Don’t get lost, it can be scary down here.  Head back up to light if you can.  😉

 

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fascinating genealogy discovery today!

 

 

ps – Despite all of the records that I included, there are so many that I did not include.  Among those are a few international travel records for Robert, Rosey, and the two older girls.  Hmmmm…  

 

pps – If you happen to be one of Rosey’s living descendants, email me – amberlysfamilyhistory {at} yahoo {dot} com.  Let’s put our tid-bits together and make this picture as clear as we can.  That is, if you can forgive me.

 

 


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Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch_Logo

If you are reading this, you are most likely familiar with searching for records on FamilySearch.  What you may not be familiar with are three types of “hidden” records you can utilize on FamilySearch – images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection; browse collections; and digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.

Hidden Record Type 1:

Images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection.  I will use some Québec records as my example.  Let’s start with the Québec search page on FamilySearch:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.32 AM

 

You will notice at the top of the page it reads, “Québec Indexed Historical Records”.  It is important to note that not everything in this list is completely indexed.  As I scroll down the page I can see a list of Québec records, which also includes larger collections that have Québec records in them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.49 AM

 

Only a few collections are showing until I click “Show all 21 Collections”.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.00.33 AM

 

 

As I scroll down the list, I am looking for any collection that has a camera beside it.  That means there are images in the collection.  Close to the bottom is a collection entitled, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979”.  It has a camera icon which means there are images in the collection and it lists that there are 79,535 indexed records in the collection.  The question I have is, are there more records in the collection that aren’t indexed?  I simply click on the collection to go to the search page.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.15 AM

 

Once I am on the search page I scroll to the bottom.  The collection has a browse option at the bottom that reads, “Browse through 1,399,175 images”.  This means that in this collection of 1,399,175 images, there are a little over 1.3 million records that are not indexed.  If I click that “Browse through 1,399,175 images” button, I can search the records like digital microfilm.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.29 AM

 

I get this list of parishes to help me navigate the images.  I noticed one today that I have never seen before:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.40 AM

How’s that for a parish name?  😉

Here is a parish that I regularly search:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.56 AM

I click on the parish name again and get this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.55.03 AM

Then I can click on one of the date ranges and get this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.55.17 AM

It is basically a digital microfilm.  This particular collection is tricky to navigate because it contains such a large span of years and the years are written out like this “one thousand seven hundred forty seven”, except they are written in French.  Despite it being a bit trickier to navigate, it is totally worth it.  I get faster every time, it just takes a little practice.

Any collection that contains images has the potential to contain more images than indexed records.  If everything is indexed in a collection, you will not see the browse option at the bottom of the search page.  MANY indexed collections contain images that are not indexed.

Hidden Record Type 2:

Browse collections.  These collections are also accessed from a main search page.

We will go back to the Québec search page and scroll to the bottom.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.32 AM

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.56 AM

These collections are labeled as “Québec Image Only Historical Records”.  Most locales have several of these browse collections.  None of the records are indexed yet.  I clicked on “Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920”.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.53.28 AM

You will notice that I have no search box, just the “Browse through 4,956,093” images link.  When I click that I am taken to this page:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.53.38 AM

From here I can select a location, I chose Iberville:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.12.41 AM

Then I choose a range of documents:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.12.59 AM

Then I am once again looking at a digital microfilm.  This particular collection would be hard to use unless I have a time frame and location in mind for the record I am seeking.  That information would come from other good research.

Hidden Record Type 3:

Digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.  This particular type of record is brand new to me.  In fact, I have no idea when FamilySearch started doing this.  They snuck it in recently.  I discovered this record type while I was using microfilm at the FHL in SLC.  I had a list of Estate Files I was looking for.  I had found 6 and went looking for the 7th file when something wasn’t quite right.  That led me to look at the catalog entry for the microfilm to double check the information I would expect to find.  I thought maybe I had written the microfilm number down incorrectly.  This is the page I went to:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.19.36 AM

I scrolled down to find my microfilm number in the collection of 419 microfilm to see this list:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.19.44 AM

Ummmmmm… see those little camera icons on the right?!  This entire collection was digitized AFTER I had made my list of microfilm to search just shortly before going to the library.  When I click the camera I get a digital microfilm that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.20.01 AM.png

What on earth?!  When did FamilySearch start doing this???  The craziest part is that the images aren’t on the South Africa search page, not in the same grouping you can find here.

So.

Check the catalog, and check it again, and check it again.  I know that the rate of digitization far exceeds the rate of indexing but apparently FamilySearch can’t keep up with cataloging in an orderly fashion either?

One important last thought – FamilySearch often has images available that go away once the entire collection is indexed.  If you find an image that is important to your research, PLEASE, don’t assume the image will always be there.  Save a digital copy of that image.

And while we are on the subject of disappearing images, it is important to know that the contractual agreements that FamilySearch enters into with the owners of records can change at any time.  In fact, several collections that matter to me and my research are no longer available.  FamilySearch still holds the microfilm, but they are under lock and key because the contracts were renegotiated.

 

Have you been using these three types of “hidden” collections on FamilySearch?

 


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Unraveling the John Boles Mystery – Part Two

duban-bay-image

Durban to The Drakensberg” by John Hone, 1988, photo of Durban, Natal, South Africa

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  He is the younger brother of my 3rd great grandmother Catherine Boles.  John, his wife Christina, and his 7 living children who were all born in Scotland, just up and disappeared in 1890.

In 2014, a serendipitous connection with a kind stranger from Scotland, led me to an immigration record for all 7 Boles children traveling to Natal, South Africa without their parents.

Then there were the 3 marriage records for Elizabeth, Christina, & Helen Boles.  All 3 marriages took place in Natal, South Africa.  Helen’s 1906 marriage record stated that she had the permission of her parents to marry.

This was the first clue that indicated John & Christina Montgomery Boles might have also gone to South Africa.

I scoured FamilySearch and Ancestry looking for any record collection that might help me build on what I knew but I couldn’t find anything.  The collections were sparse and had very limited time frames.  I did some basic googling with no great results so I did what we all do at times, I set the John & Christina Boles family aside.

Fast forward to sometime last year, when I revisited this part of my tree.  I was committed to adding something to this story.  So I dove into some google searching to see what record collections exist for Natal, South Africa.  The National Archives for South Africa led me to a bunch of potentially helpful records.  The only problem was that they look like this:

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-33-10-pmscreen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-33-25-pm

I wasn’t entirely sure where I could go next based on this data.  So I went to my good friend, the FamilySearch wiki.  But.  I went to it through google.  The wiki itself has a terrible search algorithm so it’s best to use google as your entry point.  I found myself on a page entitled “South Africa Natal Death Notices“.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-40-37-pm

Close to the bottom of that screenshot you can see the section “Microfilmed records at the Family History Library”.  This link takes you to a catalog entry on FamilySearch.org for microfilms containing Estate Files for Pietermartizburg (Natal).  The collection includes 419 microfilm reels organized by year and file number.

This discovery got me pretty excited so I searched the National Archives of SA website as thoroughly as I could to identify as many potential estate files for John, Christina, their children, and the 3 sons-in-law that I knew of.  I had quite a list.  I compared it to the FS Catalog entry to identify microfilm numbers.  My list of microfilms was growing.

My big question was this – What exactly will I find in those Estate Files?

 

When I go to BYU for research, I can order two microfilms from the FHL in Salt Lake City for free, every two weeks.  No more.  I was trying to decide how much of my precious research time to dedicate to this family.  Which films should I order?

While pondering on this set of questions, I discovered that there is a 5 year window of estate records available on FamilySearch in a browse only collection for Transvaal.  I checked this against my list and discovered one candidate: William Wise, husband of Christina Boles.

Hooray!  This meant I could view an estate file from home to get a sense of what this record type, for this location might tell me.  This was just what I wanted.

Because finding this particular record took several steps, I will outline those steps in detail.

The first step was finding William’s file number on the National Archives of SA website.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-05-54-pm

I was looking for file number 3681 in the year 1959.

It was time to take that information over to FamilySearch.  I went to the main “Search” menu on FamilySearch and got myself to the South Africa landing page that looks like this.

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Then I scrolled down to the bottom to find the browse collections.  These are collections that only have images with no index.  You search them like a digital microfilm.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-04-25-pm

Then I selected the Transvaal Estate Files.

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From here, I clicked on “Browse through 191,580 images“.

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Then I selected the appropriate year of 1959.

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That led me to a screen filled with file number ranges.  My file number was further down the page so I scrolled down.

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I am looking for file number 3681 which falls into the very last number range of 3660-3736.  I clicked that range.

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Now I am essentially looking at digital microfilm.  You can see that first image has a large stamped code of “3660/59”.  I am looking for 3681 which is only 21 files later.  I left this page on the “thumbnail” view and scrolled down until I could see the first page of file 3681.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-08-49-pm

There is my file on the third row, far left.  I can now click on the thumbnail to view the first image of my file.  Then I click the little arrow in the black menu bar to arrow through the file.  What I discovered was a 5 page estate file.  Page one is the cover sheet.  Page two is the death notice.  Pages three and four are William and Christina’s will.  Page five is “Acceptance as Trust of Executor”.

Just to give you a little taste, here is the death notice for William.

wise-william-1959-estate-file-2

From this record I learned so much new information!  I added a birthplace in Scotland of Trenent, age at death in years and months (which helped me narrow down a time frame for birth), address at time of death, date and place of death, and the names of William and Christina’s 3 children (including their daughter’s married last name).

Finding this file got me really excited to see John and Christina’s Estate Files.  I moved those microfilm right to the top of my BYU list.  On my next visit I ordered both microfilm and hoped for the best!

Was I finally going to learn when and why John Boles went to South Africa?

 

…to be continued…


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Browse Collections on FamilySearch

Arsene

Marriage record for my 4th great grand aunt Marie Arsene Duval.

Have you ever used the browse collections on FamilySearch?  If you haven’t, I would like to introduce you to a new friend.  A very good friend.

See that beautiful record up there?  It comes from a FamilySearch browse collection.  Here is the ancestry version:

arsene - bad

Quite a difference.

I most commonly use the ancestry Drouin collection for records on my Quebec line simply because they are a bit easier to search.  Not because the index is good – it’s pitiful – but because the records are broken down by year and the FamilySearch collection is in very large clusters of years.  To use the FamilySearch collection I have to spend a lot more time “reading” the handwritten years.  To further complicate that the years are written out in word form.  That is slow going for this non-French speaker.  But I digress…  The ancestry marriage record for Marie Arsene was difficult to read and I couldn’t make out a few key pieces of information so I went through the process of finding the same record in a FamilySearch browse collection.  It was worth the effort.

So how did I do it?  Here are the steps.

Go to familysearch.org, click on “Search” in the top center.  In my case I wanted Quebec records so I clicked on Canada on the map and then chose Quebec.  This is the list of Quebec resources on the website:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.04.19 PM

 

See that collection second from the bottom?  Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979?  It only has 79,535 records but it has a camera icon.  That camera tells me that this collection has images.  Any collection with images has the potential to be a browse collection.  The number of records refers only to the number of INDEXED records in this collection.  I clicked on the collection:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.05.09 PM

 

I can search the indexed records like I normally would by typing info into the search fields.  But notice at the bottom of the page there is a hyperlink that reads: “Browse through 1,399,175 images”.  Bingo – I have found a browse collection.  These collections are like going though microfilm online.  I clicked on the hyperlink and then I get this page:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.05.37 PM

 

For this browse collection I get a HUGE list of parishes.  I scrolled down and found my civil parish of Sainte-Luce and clicked on it.

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.06.03 PM

 

Then I get another page where I choose the ecclesiastical parish.  In this case I only have one choice so I clicked on Sainte-Luce again.

 

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I know this one is hard to read.  The important thing here is that I have three choices.  They are Baptism, Marriage, and Burial collections covering different year ranges.  I choose the appropriate range and click it.

 

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Voila!  Now I am in a set of images that I can click through.  This set has 727 images and covers the years 1842-1869.  Most collections are in chronological order but some are in alphabetical order.  You can usually figure out how your collection is organized fairly quickly.  Once I know how it is laid out, I like to skip forward and backwards in large chunks until I land really close and then I start using the arrows to go a page at a time.

Many of the collections you have been using may also be browse collections.  Here are two gems (images have links that will take you to the page you see here with one click):

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And there are so many more!  Give the website a look and see if you can find a collection that might include one of your ancestors and check to see if that collection is a browse collection.

 

Bonus tip:

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At the bottom of every location specific search page there is a list of image only collections.  This is the top of the Illinois list.  The entire list is quite long and contains some really great collections.

 

Have you ever used a browse or image only collection on FamilySearch?

 

 


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Search Strategies: Wildcards

gg, wildcards

If you are struggling to find a record, try using wildcards in your search terms.

Many websites allow wildcards and they are usually the same.  A ‘?’ represents one letter and an ‘*’ represents any number of characters.  This can come in handy when a name has been misindexed, misspelled on the original record, or if a name was spelled various ways during a person’s life.

Maffit and Moffit can both be found when M?ffit is searched.

Vickers and Vicars can both be searched with Vic*rs.

It is important to learn how wildcards function in the website you are using.  For instance, ancestry.com allows wildcards in your search but they don’t work with soundex matches, only exact or ranked searches.  You can learn more about wildcards on ancestry.com here and familysearch.org here.

Have you used wildcards?

 


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Search Strategies: Parent Search

gg, what is a parent search

Using a ‘Parent Search’ is one of my favorite search strategies.  It sifts out a lot of unnecessary information in your search return and helps you focus on just the family you’re searching for.  It’s also really helpful if a family moved around and you’ve lost track of them.  Sometimes the parent search will pick up a record in a location you didn’t know to look in.  And then boom – you pick up the family trail and you’re back in business.

So how do you use this marvelous technique?  Go to your favorite website.  In the search fields leave everything blank except for the parent’s names and hit search.  The results will vary depending on the website you are using.

Familysearch.org is probably the best for a parent search.  I seem to get the best results on their website.  Ancestry.com is okay for a parent search but you have to play with the search parameters a little bit more by choosing some of the names and telling it you want that exact name.  If you know a location you can use a parent search in a specific record collection on either website and get great results.

As with any search technique, start your search and then adjust and adjust and adjust until you get the results you were looking for.  You may start with just the parent names and then add a birth year range or a place.  Or you might search by the father’s first and last name but only the mother’s first name.  You may try a few spelling variations.  As you alter your search parameters you will get different results.  When you find a sweet spot, stay there and harvest the information.

Try a parent search today!

Want to borrow some of my ancestor’s names to see what all the fuss is about?  Go to familysearch.org, click on the ‘Search’ tab in the top center.  Use the names Seth Maffit and Emma Esther Jerrain.  Look at the results for a minute then take out Emma’s last name and search again.  The results are pretty awesome – everything on the first page is about their kiddos, half on the second and third pages and then by the fourth page we’re done.  Lots of records on an entire family with one search.

Using parent search is a great way to find a bunch of records quickly.  Give it a try, let me know how it works for you.  Happy searching!