Monday, November 3, 2014

Searching for Elizabeth Dill's Birth Record in Eastham, Massachusetts Records

My third great-grandmother is Elizabeth Horton Dill (1791-1869), daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill of Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts.  A long time ago (I started in 1988), I found her birth date (9 May 1791)  in the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI), along with her 8 siblings (born between 1784 and 1795).  I wrote those names and dates down, and added them to my Personal Ancestral File database at the time - probably in the early 1990s.

In the late 1990s, I searched through all of the FHL microfilms for town and vital records of Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleet (the latter two were daughter towns of Eastham), but did not find those birth records for Elizabeth and her siblings in a page-by-page search.  Since there were thousands of pages in these records, I figured that I had just missed the page with the record, or that the information in the IGI came from a submitted record.  In the last two weeks, I have searched through my two notebooks of Dill paper material without finding my notes, and so I went looking online for records.

A) has a database titled Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. I used the Search box to find "Dill*" records in the 1780-1800 time frame indexed in this collection.  There were 70 matches, but none for Elizabeth Dill or any of the births in the IGI for children of Thomas and Hannah Dill.

I used the Browse function for this Ancestry database and found that they had 11 volumes of records from Eastham and Orleans.  There is a helpful list of the records available on the microfiche that the database was imaged and indexed from.  Here it is:

To summarize, the Orleans vital records include 11 volumes of data and indexes for the years 1637-1892.  Since Orleans was a part of Eastham until 1797, many Eastham records are combined with the Orleans records.

There are no records specifically for Eastham in the database.  The vital records for Eastham on this Orleans list include:

1)  Orleans and Eastham Records, 1637-1853 (407 pages)

*  Births (Eastham), 1637-1733: record pages 286-335, index pages 401-407
*  Births (Eastham), 1748-1839: record pages 174-284, index pages 166-171
*  Births, (Eastham and Orleans), 1788-1853: record pages 1-160, index at front
*  Marriages (Eastham), 1657-1714: record pages 336-347, index pages 354-357.
*  Deaths (Eastham), 1659-1767:  record pages 348-352, index pages 358-359

2)  Orleans and Eastham Births, Marriages, Marriage Intentions, and Deaths, 1743-1843 (232 pages)

*  Births, Marriages Deaths (Eastham and Orleans), 1743-1837:  record pages 1-56
*  Births (Eastham and Orleans), 1763-1810:  record pages 57-88
*  Births and Marriages (Eastham and Orleans), 1749-1843:  pages 91-198

3)  There are other "books" with Orleans-only records after 1797.

Although there was no index entry for the birth of Elizabeth and her siblings, I looked at all of the pages that recorded births in the 1750 to 1820 time frame.  Most of these birth records are organized by family rather than chronologically.

B)  FamilySearch has a record collection for Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1627-2001 which has many (most? all?) of the same records that Ancestry's database has;  however, FamilySearch does not have an index for this database.

A check of the Barnstable County collections for Eastham and Orleans reveals the following digitized "books" for vital records:

1)  Eastham: 

*  Births, deaths, 1751-1826 (41 images)
*  Births, marriages, deaths, town records, 1708-1915 (399 images)
*  Town records, 1657-1863 (730 images)

2)  Eastham, Orleans:  

*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1701-1796 (126 images)
*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1716-1777 (157 images)
*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1760-1839 (143 images)
*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, Land Grants, 1649-1822 (157 images)
*  Marriages, 1763-1905 (105 images)

3)  Orleans: 

*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1637-1855(205 images)
*  Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1761-1892 (279 images)

 Obviously, some of the records listed only under "Orleans" pertain to Eastham also (e.g., the BMD 1637-1855 "book").

I've looked through most of these for the birth of Elizabeth Dill and her siblings, but have not looked at every page.

I'm not sure that has every "book" that FamilySearch has, and vice versa.  The titles and dates don't match perfectly.

C) I did find a reference to the birth of "Elizabath Dill" and her siblings when I did a global search on FamilySearch.  Here is the record for Elizabath:

There are similar records for Elizabeth's 8 siblings also.

I note that there is a "GS Film Number" in the indexing project - 907350.  The Indexing Project Number is C50246-3.  If I click on the Indexing Project number, I can see all of the 5558 entries in the specific project C50246-3.  An Exact search for surname "Dill" provides 132 results:

And further down there is Elizabath at #75:

Elizabeth's 8 siblings are also on this results list.

I also looked at FHL US/CAN Microfilm 907,350, and there are two "books" listed:

*  Item 1:  Births and deaths, 1751-1826

*  Item 2-6:  Town Records, 1654-1863 [Eastham, Massachusetts]

Those two items have essentially the same titles as the first and third "books" listed for Eastham on the FamilySearch list, but I cannot see a similar title in the Ancestry "book" list.

Even though the birth of Elizabeth Dill and her siblings are listed in the IGI entry and in the specific Indexing Project, I cannot find them in the two "Books" that are, supposedly, included on the one FHL microfilm 907350.   I've looked!

D)  So I have a "record" that references an FHL microfilm and an Indexing Project Number, but the actual record does not seem to be on the specific FamilySearch microfilm named.  How can that happen?

There is also a Reference ID number for Elizabeth's record:  2:174F59F.  I have no clue what that refers to.  I looked for Page 174 in Volume 2 (perhaps Item 2?) hoping that I would find.  I looked for image 174 also.  Neither of those have an entry for Elizabeth and her siblings.    Does anyone know how to find the image of a specific record Reference ID number?

If I requested a record image from the Family History Library by using the information above, would I receive a response?  My guess is that they would say "The FHL Catalog says it is online at FamilySearch, find it yourself!"

Any suggestions for further research here?

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Marian said...

That's a puzzler. I think I might call the telephone support: 1-866-406-1830. They have surprised me with what they know. If that doesn't do it, I'd use the Send Message option under Get Help.

Geolover said...

The cataloging for this is certainly confusing. Note that the collection title for Elizabeth's entries does not match what is in the catalog.

In the person-detail page for the 2nd entry for Elizabeth is a different microfilm number: 779025, for "items 2-6".

The Catalog entry for this microfilm is here. Not really more helpful, but this could be where the entry is - in the 'part index' mentioned at the top of the web page.