Beware of "Selected record" Lists

It is fairly common practice for family researchers to view records and extract information for not only their known family members but also "same surnamed" individuals that they haven't had the time yet to sort through. These lists are shared on the web in the hope that someone else might benefit from them and that someone will connect to their family. Some of these lists are fairly extensive and might give the impression that someone took the time to index a complete volume of records. Be sure to read the description of the list.

Online Images and Cataloging Problems

I am very happy that the LDS has been putting images of records online. For example, images of catholic parish records for the Archdiocese of Chicago are online. But, I don't like their cataloging of the online material. Most of these were originally on microfilm and were scanned to create digital images.

Duncan, Platte County, Nebraska

Duncan is a town about 8 miles west of Columbus. Early on, its post office was known as Cherry Hill. The Union Pacific Railroad ran through the area and named it Jackson.

Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Joliet, IL

The Diocese of Joliet was formed in 1948 from what had been a part of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Marche, Pulaski County, Arkansas

Surprisingly, there was a Polish community in Pulaski County, Arkansas. It's founder was Timothy Choiński who came to the US in 1873. Initially settling in Milwaukee, he thought that Poles might want to get back to their farming roots away from the urban scene. Furthermore, he wanted a site where the winters would not be so harsh. He started his settlement, Marche (French for marketplace), in 1877 in section 26 of what was to become Worthen Township. It was Pyeatt Township at the time. Like some other Polish farming settlements, there were complaints about the land not being cleared or being of poor quality for farming.

Hey, that's not right! -- Correcting Database Errors

Regardless of one's best efforts, errors in indexing are inevitable. As mentioned in another article, reading bad handwriting is probably the biggest source of errors. Then there are also data entry errors (typos) of the indexer and errors in fact created at the time the record was originally written. Many indexes in genealogy-land are regarded as transcripts-- faithful and accurate copies of the original records.

Gruesome Deaths

Causes of death were not always recorded in the parish death/burial records. In some volumes, natural causes like tuberculosis, diphtheria and other common diseases of the time were not included. While some of these deaths may qualify as gruesome if painful and protracted, this essay will focus on unnatural causes of death. The most common of these include drownings, falls, or being killed by trains.


Marrying Your Cousin?

I ran across something interesting in some marriage records I was working with recently. There were some pages inserted among the usual forms. What were they? While written in Latin, I deduced that these were dispensations from consanguinity allowing the marriage to take place. Consanguinity? It's a fancy term for marrying someone who is blood related (usually a cousin).

Where Did They Come From?

Baptisms were usually performed close to the location of birth and shortly after birth. This practice was observed to lower the possibility of the infant dying before they received the rite. Marriages usually took place close to the residence of the bride or groom. But because these adults may have moved, we can't be sure they were born in the same parish as their marriage.

Sub Condition Baptisms

What is a sub condition baptism? The Catholic church only recognizes one baptism. A sub condition baptism is a "just in case" baptism in instances when it's not clear if the person has already been baptized. Under what circumstances might it apply? A sick newborn may be baptized at home without a priest. While such a baptism is considered valid, there may be a church baptism later on to make it "official". An orphaned child may also be baptized sub condition if no one is sure if the child has already been baptized. It might apply to a convert from a different Christian religion.


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