14 August 2011

Remember to Check FamilySearch... Again

An inspirational post about research diligence and the constant expansion of FamilySearch's records collections.

My 2nd-great grandfather, Thomas Schilling, was on my mind after church today. He is my only 2nd-great grandparent whose parents are unknown. That is still the case after more than a decade of searching. I decided to say a prayer and start looking online. My main goal is proving who his parents are or finding a picture of him, but I have learned to find joy in every record found for an elusive ancestor.

After a few minutes of googling his name, I felt like I needed to go to FamilySearch.org and check for Maryland records that have been added since my last visit. I found a collection of Baltimore City probate records that had just been updated on 22 July 2011. I've been to the Maryland State Archives, where these records can be found, many times. The problem is that I always have so many records to look up when I'm there. I'm definitely thankful for the digitizing work of FamilySearch. Below I will include some screen shots from today's visit to FamilySearch.org.

I started looking at the list of Baltimore City probate records and when I picked a probate book to look at I was told to sign in. Though FamilySearch has allowed signed-in users to see more records than guests for some time, this is the first time I noticed the phrase "Sign in to view this image." There was a point that if you didn't know the value of signing-in that you simply would think there was no image available. I'm glad those days are gone.

Because this collection is not indexed by FamilySearch I had to go page by page, but it is okay. It was just like using the book index at the archive or courthouse. The only difference was that waiting for each page to load takes more patience than turning a page or cranking a microfilm. If you take note of the time on my task bar, you will see it took me quite some time. The good news is that, after feeling like giving up, I did find my ancestor Thomas Schilling.

 With that index data I was able to go back to the list of probate books that had been scanned and pick the one I want. I was supposed to be looking for page 315. I then typed 316 as the image number I wanted because I knew the first image had no page number on it. The second half of that page had my ancestor's Estate docket entry.

This record hasn't answered my main question about Thomas, but it does lead me to a few other probate records such as his inventory. It is always interesting to see what goods an ancestor had and the value of each item. That is for another day.

There are three things I got out of this experience.
  1. Follow your inner call
  2. Find joy in every record found and
  3. Remember to Check FamilySearch... Again

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