Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Randy - How Did You Find That 1840 Lancashire Marriage Record?

One of my readers asked me that question in an email, referring to the record in Treasure Chest Tuesday -- 1840 Marriage of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire (posted 28 November 2017).  

The answer to the question is very simple:  I went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City several years ago, found the microfilm for the Parish Registers for Bolton-le-Moors, scrolled through it to find the page with the record, and took a photograph of the page on the microfilm screen.  

However, I wondered if this particular record, and even more importantly, all of the parish records for this church, was on digital microfilm, and if so, was it available to me at home or did I have to go to the local FamilySearch Library to view it (and other parish records).  

I found today that it IS on digital microfilm, and it is available to me at home if I am signed into FamilySearch (using a free registration).  

To help other researchers interested in how I use the digital microfilm process, here is the process:

1)  I went to the FamilySearch Catalog page ( and entered "bolton-le-moors" into the Place search field:

After I typed the place name in, the screen added the results of the search - for "England, Lancashire, Bolton-le-Moors" as shown with the light green background above.

2)  I clicked on the link in the light green background, and saw the list of record types available for this place:

3)  I want church records, so I clicked on the item for "Church records (61)" and the list of 61 church "record sets" appeared.  Way down the list is the "record set" for "Parish Registers for Bolton-le-Moors, 1590-1974:"

4)  I clicked on the link for that "book" and saw the description of the record set:

5)  There are 43 "books" in this "record set."  I scrolled down and found the "Marriages, 1837-1841" "book":

The microfilm number and the DGS number are listed in columns on the right side of the screen above, along with a "magnifier" (search) icon and a "camera" icon.

6)  I clicked on the "magnifier" icon and the FamilySearch search screen for this "book" opened.  I filled in the name of "alex* "whittle" in the name search fields:

7)  After clicking the "Search" button (not shown on screen above), the search found two matches.  I clicked on the first one and information for the indexed record appeared:

The indexed record is for the right marriage of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley.  On the right-hand side of the page, there is a "camera" icon and the words "No image available."  Huh?  There was a "camera" icon in the Catalog list.

Note also in the lower right-hand corner is information about the source of the indexed record.  It says:

*  Indexing Project (Batch) number:  M00724-8
*  System Origin:  England EASy
*  GS Film Number:  1966480
*  Reference ID:  it3, p155, no309

That last bit is the vital clue to saving time - the record image is on Microfilm 1966480, Item 3, page 155, number 309.

8)  I went back to the Catalog list and clicked on the "camera" icon, and the "filmstrip" view for this "book" of 798 images appeared.

I want Item 3 on this digitized microfilm strip.  Notice the third image on the screen above, with the all black background?  That is the "Item" indicator on the microfilm, and it says it is Item 1.  I want Item 3.

9)  I scrolled down a long way to find the Item 3 image (on image 534 of 798):

10)  I easily navigated to Page 155 (found at the top of the image below) to find the record of the marriage of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley on image 696 of 798:

11)  This process took about ten minutes to process.  I did it at home, this morning. I didn't have to fly to Salt Lake City, book a hotel room, or go into the Family History Library, find the right microfilm, find a microfilm reader, scroll through 698 images, and take a photo of the record page.

12)  Not all English parish register record sets are indexed, not all are available on digital microfilm yet, but almost all are available.  Not all of them are available at home with a FamilySearch registration, but some are.  Fortunately for me, this record set is available.  

13)  This is the digital genealogy future - a researcher has access through the FamilySearch Catalog to a lot of record sets at home, and many more at a local FamilySearch Library or Center.  Every researcher needs to learn how to do the process noted above in order to find Original Source records for their ancestral families.  

Are you working as a 21st century genealogist, using all of the online and digital resources available to you?  


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1 comment:

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Isn't wonderful, this new future? Great post with wonderful screenshots. This will be very helpful to those who just haven't ventured into the digital microfilm images yet.