Evening, May 7, 2009 - Tampa

07 May 2009


Today’s Thursday, my volunteer day, 1 to 9 PM… and sometimes no one shows up and I’m able to get a lot of viewing done. That’s the bonus upside to this volunteer gig. And I’m just back from walking the four dogs.

I’ve updated my Access database that I use to track the microfilms that I’ve checked out from the FHL from Salt Lake City. I try to ensure that I include the surname that I am researching as a record in the database. But sometimes as my research continues and I begin following up on a new surname I have to reorder the same film again. This seems to happen more and more frequently as I progress further back in time with my research.

Here’s what happens… When I first begin researching a surname, I zero into a town or area specific to that specific name. I find a relevant microfilm and then order it from Salt Lake City. My first review happens; I find what I think I need. In my case, usually it is SMITH, my paternal line, or ROBERTSON, my maternal line. I then return the microfilm back to Salt Lake City.

But of course, a SMITH that I’m researching may have married someone, and in my first search I may have found a civil or parish marriage registration. And the marriage registration includes another surname; as in the case of my great-great-grandfather James SMITH, Junior who married my great-great-grandmother Cecilia Jane THOMAS. The marriage registration, No. 93 on page 131, is dated 6 June 1840 in the Parish of Saint George in Grenada. I found the registration in the microfilm FHL1523656.

Transcribing the registration, I can read:

No. 93 James Smith the Younger of the Parish of Saint Georges, Esquire Bachelor, Master Carpenter, and Cecilia Jane Thomas of the same place, spinster were married by licence at the residence of Mr. Robert, in the Parish of Saint George and Island of Grenada aforesaid this 6th day of June in the Year of Our Lord 1840 by me J.C. Barker, Rector. This marriage was solemnized between us – J. Smith Jr, Cecilia J. Thomas. In the Presence of James McDonell, W. Thomas.

But at that time I wasn’t researching the THOMAS surname, and family lore offered that great-great-grandmother Cecilia was from Tobago. I was centered on Grenada and I really focused on the SMITH name, so I returned the microfilm back to the library.

A number of months later I began researching THOMAS. I first reviewed the documents and images I had in hand. I did note that in the 1840 marriage registration it was written “Cecilia Jane Thomas of the same place.” If the registration was correct then “the same place” should refer to the Parish of Saint George, in Grenada. I also remarked that one of the witnesses’ signatures was “W. Thomas”. And so I reordered the microfilm FHL1523656.

Estimating that great-great grandmother Cecilia may have been about 20 years old when she married great-great-grandfather James, Jr. I zeroed in on and around the year 1820 for birth registrations. And I found the birth registration number 618 on page 113 of a Register in FHL1523656. But this is a transcription from the original register. And my transcription of the transcription reads:

618 Cecelia Jane, daughter of William Thomas & of Maria his wife born on the 25th day of Septbr 1819 & baptised on the 26th day of Novbr. 1819 Sponsors:- Charles Gray Sgd. Francis McMahon”.

One never knows who or what one will find when they start searching in depth. I now keep that microfilm in residence at the Family History Center as I keep referring back to the same as new names and searches pop up.




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