12 January 2011

Lots More Marriage Records: Grice & Gib

I didn't intend to write a series, but here's another example (my first such post is here) of the need to use indexes, regardless of their format, only as finding aids leading to the original records.  Today's example is from  FamilySearch and its England Marriages, 1538-1973 database.

Index Results
Searching for a GRICE and GIB marriage, my 4th-great-grandparents, yields these two index results:

This one gives lots of info;  FHL film # 1,655,691 is cited.  The slight misspellings/transcription errors could be the first hint that something might be a tad askew....

The second search result gives less info, a bit of conflict in the location, and a marriage a day later:
It cites FHL # 990,896 as the source.  I really, really hope that anyone getting these search results takes the time to look at the source microfilms....

FamilySearch Issued a Warning
If you follow the links back from the image screens to those about the database itself, you arrive at the Wiki page for the English Vital Records Index.  It's a fairly detailed description of the record set.  The first section in this wiki is 'Known Issues with this Collection.'  I think FamilySearch made a good decision in making these records available online, even though they knew there were major problems. It's up to the genealogist to carefully evaluate any records and to do a thorough job before drawing conclusions.  In this case, the sources cited for my ancestors give a much more precise picture than the conflicting index entries.

Back to the Source
FHL film # 1,655,691 is Marriage Bonds,1806-1811 for the Church of England, Dean & Chapter of York.  The entire film is images of marriage allegations and marriage bonds.  The indexed "marriage date" of 17 October 1808 is really the date the allegation was made and the bond was pledged.  The "marriage location" was really the couple's cited residences at the time. Later in the bond, it says that John "prayed a License to Solemnize the said Marriage in the Chapel of Luttons Ambo."  It's good data to have, but it's no guarantee that a marriage ceremony occurred that day, if at all.

I was looking only in the Weaverthorpe area.  Without the FamilySearch index leading me to a film about the 'peculiar jurisdiction of the Dean & Chapter of York,' I am not confident that I ever would have found it on my own, even though I knew the jurisdiction existed.  I just wouldn't have looked for it.  This series of films begins with 1613-1704.  I wonder what treasures I could find if I look at more of them?!

and Back to the Other Source
FHL # 990,896 has Bishop's Transcripts: Item 1 for the Parish Church of Helperthorpe, 1631-1870; Item 3 for the nearby parish church of Weaverthorpe, 1631-1852.  The Helperthorpe item is much shorter and Helperthorpe residents all most exclusively.  The Weaverthorpe item includes residents of both areas and  seems to have all the burials for the area.    In Item 3, we find this record:
There are no page numbers -- just general chronological order.  The section is labeled Marriages 1808.  My photo is not that good, but the image was easy to read:
Octr 18th.  John Grice of this Parish, Widower, and Sarah Gib of the same Parish, Spinster, were married in Lutton Chapel by licence [sic]
In this case, the index seems to be accurate in giving October 18 as the marriage date and Weaverthorpe was the parish, but not the exact location.  A very small number of entries in this film specify Lutton Chapel as the location. 

  • New online databases are wonderful, but there are problems.
  • Not everything we need for better results in our research is online.  Microfilms still have great value.
  • Having been led to these films by the FamilySearch website and now having read the source films, I've found details of John's first marriage, discovered his probable parents, and found that Jane remarried after John's death.  That totally unexpected discovery even led to finding her in the 1841 census.  Thank you, FamilySearch!

1 comment:

  1. This was very interesting and informative. While I do not have this record type, it probably applies to all types of indexes and databases. Thanks for posting such clear information.

    I found your blog by checking the "First Friday" file postings - what a great idea! I think I may use this for getting my files organized. Thanks