Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Finding Grace L. (Richmond) (Shaw) Moody's Birth Record in FamilySearch Digital Microfilm

I have been helping Laura, my second cousin once removed, get started on her Mayflower application, since we have the same line from William White for the first ten generations.  My 11th generation descendant is my grandmother, Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962), and Laura's descendant is her great-grandmother, Grace L. (Richmond) (Shaw) Moody (1876-1963) - Grace married Fred Shaw (1884-1919) and William Norman Moody (1874-1960) during her lifetime.

Neither Laura or I had a full birth name, birth date, or birth place for Grace.  Because the family resided in Killingly in 1880, I had assumed that she was born in Killingly where I had found a birth record for Alma Bessie Richmond.  Laura needs a birth certificate, or other supporting records, for the Mayflower application.

In recent months, I received an Ancestry Record Hint for a Social Security Applications and Claims record for Grace R. Shaw:

Aha!  That provided the birth date - 22 August 1876.  And a birth place - Putnam, Connecticut.  I missed seeing that the first time around.  I reviewed this record several days ago, and took notice of it.

So where might I find a birth record for Grace's birth?  Voila - Putnam, Connecticut!  

So where can I find birth records for Putnam, Connecticut in the 1870s?  My first choice was FamilySearch!  And I found it.  Here is the process I used:

1)  In the FamilySearch Catalog  on the "Place" field, I entered "putnam, conn" and received the standard place name "United States, Connecticut, Windham, Putnam":

2)  I clicked on the standard place name, and all of the holdings of FamilySearch for Putnam, Connecticut were listed:

I knew that Connecticut districts hold town vital and other records rather than the county.  Putnam is one of the districts.

3)  I'm looking for a birth record, so I selected "Vital Records" and one item appeared on the list:

4)  I clicked on the item for "Records of births, marriages, and deaths, v. 1-3, 1855-1900" (two screens below, some overlap):

The screen above indicates that there are two sets of digital microfilm available - the first set is an index and Volume 1, and the second  set is Volumes 2-3.  An 1876 birth would be in the second set.  Note the Search icon under "Format" for the second set, and the Camera icon under "Format" for both sets.  The Camera icon indicates that the digital microfilm can be accessed by anyone from any location (some Camera icons have a Key symbol above the Camera icon which means they have to be accessed at a Family history Center or affiliated library).

5)  I clicked on the Search icon for the second set and put the exact last name of "richmond" in the search field:

Oh no!  There is no Richmond in the indexed collection!  But then I used a first name and a birth year, and no records were listed.  Then I used the last name Smith and no birth year, and no records appeared.  That set is not indexed as indicated!

6)  I pressed on, and since I thought I knew the birth date, I clicked on the Camera icon.  That brought up the thumbnail images for 442 images in the second set:

This set starts in 1870, so it was a fairly easy search to find 1876 births in Putnam.

7)  After several guesses, I honed in on image 70 of 442 (page 82 in the original record book) and found the page with Grace's birth information (two screens shown, some overlap):

9)  Grace's birth entry is the 7th entry from the bottom of the page.  Here are closeups of the two pages with her information:

The extracted information for Grace is:

*  Birth date:  22 August 1876
*  Name of child:  Grace Louise Richmond
*  Sex:  Female
*  Name and birth place of Father:  Thomas Richmond, England
*  Name and birthplace of Mother:  Julia White, Killingly Ct.
*  Age of Father:  28
*  Age of Mother:  24
*  Residence of Parents:  Putnam, Ct.
*  Color of Father:  White
*  Color of Mother:  White
*  Occupation of Father:  Mill operative
*  No. of Child of the Mother:  4
*  Physician or person certifying:  H.W. Haugh

The source citation for this birth entry is:

Putnam, Connecticut, "Records of births, marriages, and deaths, v. 1-3, 1855-1900 ", digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 March 2020), 2 microfilms, "Births, marriages, deaths v. 2 1869-1899 Births v. 3 1895-1900," [also on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 1376371], Volume 3, page 82 (image 70 of 442), Grace Louise Richmond birth entry, 22 August 1876.

10)  Some "Lessons Learned" here:

*  Revisit the indexed record sets often!  The record providers (e.g., Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast, AmericanAncestors, FamilySearch, etc.) are adding indexed records and digital images every month.  We need to check them every so often to see if more records for our ancestral families are available.  That's how I saw the Social Security Application record that lead me to the correct birth place for Grace.

*  The FamilySearch Catalog digital microfilm has a wealth of information - use it as your first resort when you are searching for unindexed records!  Have you looked for records on FamilySearch digital microfilm in the Catalog in your ancestral places - Country, State/Province, County, City/Town?

*  Not every set of digital microfilm on FamilySearch with a Search icon actually has an every name search capability.  I was surprised when this search had no persons whatsoever, not even a Smith.  Don't stop looking because there are no matches from your search.  Go the extra step and do an image search.

*  Use any index available!  After I found this record, I went back and searched the other set that has a name index, and easily found the entry for Grace L. Richmond on page 82.

*  This search took me less than 30 minutes to find and capture this record and send it to my cousin.  All I needed was a lead for the birth place, which was found on a recently added indexed record on Ancestry.com.  A letter or an in-person visit to Putnam would have found this record also, but would have taken a lot more time.

*  There is a learning curve to opening up these "hidden" records on FamilySearch.  Learn how to access the catalog items, and how to search them by index or image-by-image.  You may be wonderfully surprised by what you find!

11)  My cousin Laura now has a birth record for Grace Louise Richmond in Putnam, Connecticut which names her parents.  She can obtain a birth certificate from the town of Putnam based on this record for a small fee so she can document the birth of her great-grandmother.  As a result, she will have an acceptable evidence of her great-grandmother's birth as Generation 11 of her White Mayflower line.


The URL for this post is:  

Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.


Diane Gould Hall said...

I enjoy this process so much. For some reason, browsing through those unindexed images is enjoyable to me. I have found many a record this way. It’s like a game of hide and seek. Good work Randy and I know your cousin appreciates it.

Team Spice said...

Thanks again, cousin. Does one need to pay a membership fee to FamilySearch? Also, when requesting a birth certificate, do I do that online or via letter, and if a letter, what information do I need to include? What kind of costs are involved for birth, marriage, death records?

Randy Seaver said...


I would look for a phone number for the Putnam town clerk and call and see what their ordering process is. They may do it over the phone if you have a credit card or paypal account. Or they may have a website to order on. They may only accept orders by letter, I have no idea. I would tell them exactly which volume (2), which page (82_), the name and the birth date. They should be able to provide it for a fee - perhaps $5 to $10.