I don’t like to admit it, but oftentimes I accept the index entries for records. I know I should view the source document for everything possible, but the time, effort and cost of seeing every document often seems prohibitive. When the index provides the key information I need to know, I generally accept it. Although I know that the original documents may show much more information or even provide more accurate information, I have been lax and not ordered the actual film. Such is the case of the marriage of Samuel Scott and Amanda Haley.
It began on Family Search. I was looking for the marriage of Samuel V. Scott and Amanda J Haley for my Roberts Family Research. I quickly found the record. Samuel V. Scott married Amanda J. Haley on 24 May 1879. He was 17 and she was 18 years old.[i]
Then I saw a second record, Samuel V. Scott married Amanda J. Haley on 24 May 1879. He was 18 and she was 19 years old.[ii] I thought to myself, ‘that’s odd, well they probably either lied about their ages or they had birthdays between when they got their license and the actual day of the marriage.’ Then I noticed that they were two different indexes from the same database. That seemed really odd.
I decided to check out Ancestry.com and see what they showed. Also, maybe they might have an actual image. I quickly found two results. The first one was an index only Marriage Date of 24 May 1879, but it didn’t give their ages. The second result also didn’t give their ages, but it did indicate their marriage date was 25 May 1879 and had a comment, “This record can be found at the County Court Records, Film # 1005304 – 1005310.”
Hmmm, a day here, a year there, before long I found myself with questions about what was accurate. Samuel and Amanda are second great-grandparents on my Roberts tree, so it is important to me to assure their information right. The only way to know for certain is to order the films and see exactly what these indexes were based upon. I figured that I might need to order the record from the county court, but, I decided to go back to Family Search first.
I searched for the surnames Scott and Haley in the Franklin County Marriage Records. I found several other marriages listed in that film for individuals whose parents were William H. Scott and Emily Hendricks and a couple more who’s parents were A. J. Haley and Montgomery. They are:
Mary F Haley
T. E. L. Curry
26 Feb 1878
Samuel V. Scott
Amanda J. Haley
24 May 1879
Viola S. Scott
Charles M. K. Galloway
5 Jul 1879
J. A. Turner
10 Sep 1885
S. V. Scott
Lavina Allmend Shockley
25 Dec 1892
Clara M. Scott
Leonard D. Mooneyham
18 Nov 1898
Francis P. Scott
Florence E. Roberts
24 Mar 1901
3 Jul 1904
William Alonzo Scott
Fannin Jane Story
14 Sep 1905
I thought with this many family members it is a microfilm well worth ordering. I added the image numbers, so that when I received the microfilm I’d have the image numbers so that I could quickly and efficiently find the records I am interested in.
Then, I went to the records page[iii], so that I could order the microfilm. I saw the collection included three microfilm reels and an index (the one I was using) was available online. Looking further down, I realized that there was an icon to “browse the images online.” I didn’t need to order the microfilm.[iv] The on-line index just wasn’t linked to the images, but the film has been digitized and is available online. My list of image numbers of interest was perfect. I quickly downloaded the images and all the information on many family members. Wow, so much information, so quickly.
The Marriage of Samuel Vaden Scott (c.1862-1931) and Amanda Jane Haley (1861-1889) 24 May 1879[v]
Marriage Register – Groom Side – Samuel V. Scott
Marriage Register – Bride Side – Amanda J Haley
Marriage License Number: 245 | Dated: May 23, 1879
Groom: Samuel V. Scott | Residence: Goode Tp, Franklin Co. | Occupation: Farmer
Age next Birthday: 18 | Race: White | Place of Birth: Tennessee
Father’s Name: William H. Scott | Mother’s Maiden Name: Hendricks | No. of Groom’s Marriage: 1
Bride: Amanda J Healey | Residence: Goode Tp, Franklin Co.
Age next Birthday: 19 | Race: White | Place of Birth: [blank]
Father’s Name: A. J. Haley | Mother’s Maiden Name: Montgomery | No. of Bride’s Marriage: 1
Where and When Married: Goode Tp. Franklin Co. May 24 1879 | Witnesses: G. Elknis & R. Elknis [??] | By whom Certified, Name and Office: S. M. Brayfield, J. P.
Date of Return: 5 24 1879 | When Registered | 6 20 1879
Items in Green above are newly learned and include the following:
The marriage license number and when it was applied for.
Where Samuel and Amanda lived at the time.
Conflicting information regarding Samuel’s place of Birth (I had/have Illinois, I’ll need to sort that out later).
Who the witnesses were (although it is difficult for me to read).
Who performed the ceremony.
And, most importantly, I learned the answer to my question about Samuel and Amanda’s ages. Samuel was 17 and Amanda was 18 when the license was taken out and at their NEXT birthdays, they would be 18 and 19. Everything fit (except Sam’s birthplace) once I saw the actual register.
This case acted a reminder, when using Family Search, always check for the film of a document. You can get a lot more information from the image without much more effort. Sometimes very important information. They might have the film digitized and available on-line. Even if they don’t, if you can afford it[vi], order a copy, you never know what more you can learn. I know better than to take the easy way, and I plan to do better in the future.
List of Greats
1. Clara/Clora Dell Scott 2. Samuel Vaden Scott & Amanda Jane Haley
Prove where Samuel Scott was born (Illinois or Tennessee).
Incorporate the marriage information for the other Scott and Haley family members in my tree that were married in Franklin County.
[i] “Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934,” database, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KFK4-RF1 : accessed 14 March 2016), Samuel V. Scott and Amanda J. Haley, 24 May 1879; citing Franklin, Illinois, United States, county offices, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,005,309.
[ii] “Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934,” database, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KFKW-85D : accessed 14 March 2016), Samuel V. Scott and Amanda J. Haley, 24 May 1879; citing Franklin, Illinois, United States, county offices, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,005,307.