Casefile Clues

06 February 2013

What On Earth Am I Searching and How Am I Searching It?

Don't get me wrong, I like Ancestry.com. I use it every day. But there are databases on their site that I don't use in my research. And there are reasons I do not use them.

This is one of them: Illinois Marriages 1851-1900.

I've blogged about the minor correction that needs to be made in the description of the source of these index entries. I've made contact with someone responsible for textual corrections and it's on the list of corrections to be made. That's not a serious concern as the FHL source numbers are provided and one can easily determine what records were supposedly used to create the database.

I say "supposedly" because I am confused. 

The description of this database provides the following reference for Hancock County:

HANCOCK182528 SEP 1829County Court Records - (FHL #0954177 - 0954180)

This indicates the county was formed in 1825 and that the earliest record dates from 28 September 1829. 

That's all correct.

The film numbers used as the source for the Hancock County marriages bring up the following titles when searched for on FamilySearch:

Marriage register, vols. A1-A2, 1829-1857.
Marriage register, vol. A3, 1857-1862.
Marriage register, vol. B, 1862-1890 Marriage register, vol. B (copy), 1862-1890.
Marriage register, vol. C, 1890-1915.

1900 was the apparent cutoff for the Ancestry.com Illinois marriage database. Based upon the years of records that appear when the call numbers are located, one would expect the records to include Hancock County material from 1829 through 1900.

But apparently it does not. 

When I search for marriages taking place in 1868 in Hancock County, I only get four. 

While I do not have the marriage records in front of me, I find it difficult to believe there were only four marriages taking place in the county in 1868. No names were a part of my search.

The index also fails to locate any marriages with the last name of Rampley in Hancock County--I know there were at least six as shown below (these results taken from the Illinois State Archives' Illinois State Marriage Index):

RAMPLEY, CHARLES W
EWING, VIOLA A
1893-09-28
HANCOCK
RAMPLEY, JAMES
NEWMAN, ELIZABETH
1872-12-08
HANCOCK
RAMPLEY, RILEY
NEWMAN, NANCY JANE
1867-10-02
HANCOCK
RAMPLEY, THOMAS C
ASHLOCK, ELIZABETH
1873-09-11
HANCOCK
RAMPLEY, THOMAS C
ROSS, NANCY N
1866-04-12
HANCOCK
RAMPLEY, W ARSUTUS
ALLEN, CLARA A
1897-03-24
HANCOCK



My Trautvetter family are partially in the Ancestry.com version of this index.

The  Illinois State Archives' Illinois State Marriage Index lists the following Trautvetter entries:

TRAUTVETTER, CHRISTE
KIRSCH, ELIZA
1855-03-15
TRAUTVETTER, GEORGE A
SHITTMAN, ANNA I
1869-01-26
TRAUTVETTER, JOHN M
HAASE, FRANCES
1868-02-18
TRAUTVETTER, LEWIS
NICKEL, MARY
1883-06-13
TRAUTVETTER, THEODORE
HANNAH, JOHANNA
1872-04-03

The only Trautvetter entry in the Ancestry.com version of this database is for Christe and Eliza. Even if names were difficult to read, first name only searches (which were done for George and Anna and John and Francis) should have found the entries.

The problem is that I'm not certain if the database is incomplete or if Ancestry.com's search is not working correctly.

I'll stick with the Illinois State Archives version of this database.