Pulled From the Stacks: Everything is Coming Up Roses

Written by: Kiera E. Nolan
March 28, 2016

Note: Kiera Nolan is a former Reference Librarian for the DAR Library.

I recently found the marriage abstract for my third great-grandparents, from 1850 in County Tipperary, Ireland, using FamilySearch.org at the DAR Library. I accessed FamilySearch.org through the DAR Library but it is also a free resource for all genealogists. This marriage abstract already gave me the names of those being wed, their year of birth and current ages, the date of the marriage, and the names of their fathers, thus, giving me info on my fourth great-grandfathers. For me, doing Irish research, this was quite a find! But as with every genealogical discovery the excitement soon abated, and the hunt for more information began.

I have been doing Irish genealogical research for years now, so I knew this abstract was from a marriage register, which gives even more information on the four people mentioned in the abstract. But how would I get to the original abstract? Knowing about where I found the information was a little crumb leading me to the primary document. I found it on FamilySearch.org, in their “Irish Marriages, 1619-1898” database. The convenience of FamilySearch.org is for each record abstract you find, you are given two citations at the bottom of the record, and on the right hand side of the page next to the abstracted information, the database name is listed and underneath it is the indexing project batch number, system origin, GS film number, and the reference ID. Basically, FamilySearch.org makes it near impossible not to further you along the way to find the direct source of the information they have indexed and abstracted.

FamilySearch.org is owned and run by the Genealogical Society of Utah, which serves as the genealogical branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). LDS does a great deal of work in genealogical research and collects books and records from all over the world. Most of these records are on microfilm which can be loaned out. In addition to FamilySearch.org there are Family Search Centers, as well as the huge Family History Library in Salt Lake City. In the two citations given for the marriage abstract and the GS film number FamilySearch.org provided, I knew exactly which roll of microfilm, owned by the Family History Library, the original marriage register was on. I then searched the catalog of the Family History Library, located on FamilySearch.org, and found that I could order a copy of the microfilm roll I needed. I did this for a small fee. I was then given an option of which Family History Center I wanted to send it to in order to view it. It turns out there are 4,600 Family History Centers across the world, and quite a few in the D.C. Metropolitan region. I went with the most convenient one, the DAR Library.

The DAR Library is not an actual Family History Center, but an affiliate. As an affiliate the DAR Library accepts materials, mostly microfilm, loaned out from the Family History Library for use by patrons (or staff). The DAR Library is the only institution in the District of Columbia that participates in the Family History Library’s “Affiliate” program. Through this relationship, researchers may rent Family History Library microfilm and view it in the Seimes Technology Center. It took the film a few weeks to arrive. When it finally did I used my lunch time to sit down and search for the marriage register of Joshua Rose and Anne Dooly.

Seimes Technology Center at the DAR Library houses not only the DAR Library’s microfilm and microfiche collection, which contains State and Local collections, Family Genealogies, the Draper Collection Manuscripts, as well as copies of other vital genealogical data, but also the microfilm and microfiche that is on loan from the Family History Center. The Seimes Technology Center houses a couple old school microfilm readers, and three ScanPro film readers, small high resolution film readers that can adjust and manipulate images through a computer program on computers they are connected to. You can also print the images you find with the ScanPro readers.

I used the ScanPro reader in order to get the best quality image available of the marriage register. It took some time and patience to go through the microfilm, but with three minutes to spare I found the register I was looking for. Not only did I get the information from the abstracted record, but I additionally got the occupations of the newlyweds, the occupations of their fathers, their residence at the time of their marriage, the names of the witnesses and the registrar who performed the marriage, where exactly the marriage was performed, and whether the newlyweds were single or previously married (they turned out to be single, Joshua was a bachelor and Anne was a very young spinster according to the record). With this information I was able to form a much more complete picture of my third great-grandparents, and align data I had already known about them. For instance, I knew from an old newspaper article I found that Joshua was a policeman once he came to the United States, and, as it turns out, he was a policeman in Ireland too!

Having researched this line for many years, finding the abstracted record seemed too good to be true, and then seeing the original record, which gave me more information about Joshua and Anne, but also some new information about the generation before them was a super exciting find! As the only institution in the District of Columbia that is a Family History Library affiliate, where else could I use my lunch break and good old microfilm to obtain a copy of the original Irish marriage record of my third great-grandparents.

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