Friday, July 25, 2014

A Nice Surprise - "David" Smith and Abigail "Vanse" Wisconsin Marriage Record

While adding Life Sketches and Stories to some of my ancestor's profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Record Hint for the profile of my 2nd-great-grandmother, Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931).  It was another "Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research" moment!

The Record Hint was for the marriage record of "David" Smith and Abigail "Vanse" on 4 April 1861 in Rolling Prairie, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  Here is the record summary in the Wisconsin Marriages, 1836-1930 collection on FamilySearch:

Is this my Abigail Vaux and Devier J. Smith?  The parents first names are correct, the Smith last names are correct, the birthplace of "David" Smith is correct, the date and place are correct.  How do I know?  I have a family Bible record that provides the marriage date and place, and another record that provides the parent's last names.  It's my folks, but with some wrong names!

"David" is really Devier, and "Vanse" is really Vaux.  The handwriting on the record may be difficult to read!

I wondered where this record came from.  There is a GS Film number 1275941 provided, which is in the set of microfilms of the "Dodge County (Wis.) Registration of Marriages (1842-1907) and Marriage Index (1845-1907 --, 1842-1907" collection:

For some reason, I have never looked at that set of microfilms before!  I'm sure it's on the list of records for Dodge County, Wisconsin in the Family History Library Catalog.

Now I wonder what the entry looks like.  It must have all of that indexed information in a format of some sort.  Is it just in columns, or is it on a handwritten form?  If it's a form, why wasn't the form imaged from the microfilm for this record collection?  I guess I'll have to find the record image to find out.

FamilySearch provides a source citation for this record summary:

"Wisconsin, Marriages, 1836-1930," index,  FamilySearch   ( : accessed 24 Jul 2014), David Smith and Abigail Vanse, 04 Apr 1861; citing reference p00195; FHL microfilm 1275941.

I crafted my own source citation for the record in RootsMagic using the "Digital Archives" source template:

"Wisconsin, Marriages, 1836-1930," FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 July 2014), record extraction, David Smith and Abigail Vanse marriage, 04 Apr 1861; citing page 195 on FHL microfilm US/CAN 1,275,941.

I have no clue how FamilySearch decided that this record pertained to the marriage of my second great-grandparents.  A search for "Abigail Vaux" (not exact spelling) in this collection does not provide a match.  Adding a marriage place and a marriage year does not provide the match.  A search for "Devier Smith" with a place and year does not provide a match.

A search for the father's name, "Ranslow Smith," in the collection easily brings up the match.

The lessons learned here is:

*  Double-check the Family History Library Catalog for records in the states, counties and towns of interest.

*  Search specific record collections by parent's names or children's names, in addition to principal's names, to find records.

*  Pay attention to the "Record Hints" in the FamilySearch Family Tree!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Finn said...

Randy, I will be close to the FHL next Wednesday, I will take a quick look and see if I can capture an image for you.

Sharon said...

Good time to remember about FHL free photoduplication service!

jk said...

My in laws live right near Rolling Prairie and I've got a lot of Wisconsin ancestors so this piqued my curiosity. I looked on the Wisconsin Historical Society vital records site ( which appears to have been recently redesigned) and the record shows Abigail Naux! Way too many alternate spellings out there for genealogists to stumble through...,Nr:NOT(P_ID%3aMR1738723)&dsNavOnly=Ntk:P_County%7cDodge%7c3%7c-P_Volume%7c2%7c3%7c-P_Page%7c200%7c3%7c-P_Month%7c4%7c3%7c-P_Day%7c04%7c3%7c-P_Year%7c1861%7c3%7c,N:682,Nr:NOT(P_ID%3aMR1738723)&dsRecordDetails=R:MR2571563