Friday, October 9, 2009

Don’t Stop at the Index

Last time, I pointed out a couple of databases on from the FamilySearch Western Europe Vital Records Index:

Database Language Size Published Updated
Spain, Albacete Province, Births and Christenings, 1504-1905 Spanish 721,311 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008
Spain, Albacete Province, Marriages, 1564-1899 Spanish 226,404 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008


Interestingly, while has an index for the Albacete, Spain records but doesn’t have images, FamilySearch Record Search Pilot has images but no index. Can one use the index on and then get the images from FamilySearch? Yes!

For example, I found this record on

Albacete, Spain record on

To find the image of this record on FamilySearch, we will need the citation. Notice that the citation elements are divided into two parts, labeled “Source Citation” and “Source Information.” (These are mislabeled, but that’s a subject for another article.) Unfortunately, doesn’t identify the meaning of the elements in the first group. Poking around the Internet and the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC), it looks like the meaning is:

To find the image of this record at FamilySearch,

  1. Start at .
  2. On, click on Search Records menu, then on the Record Search  pilot menu item.
  3. On the Record Search page, click on Browse our record collections. You can find this link above News & Updates.
  4. On the world map, click on Europe or select Europe from the drop-down list and click Browse Collections.
  5. In the list of collections under Spain, click on “Spain, Albacete Diocese, Catholic Parish Records 1550-1930.”
  6. In the list titled Nombre de ciudad o pueblo (Name of city or village), select “Sahaúco,” which seems to be the choice closest to Sahúco, the village we are interested in.

    I think this is a typographical error in Record Search. I’m no expert on overseas records. (I’ve made it a point to descend entirely from New England ancestors. It makes my research so much easier!) But I’m pretty darn good with Google, and web pages like this one lead me to believe that Sahúco is correct.
  7. In the list titled Nombre de parroquia (Name of parish), select “Santísimo Cristo.” The presence of the desired parish confirms our choice of city/village.
  8. In the list titled Tipo de registro y años (Register type and years), select one of the Bautismos registers covering 1870. In this particular example, I’ve already searched and found “Bautismos 1870-1889” is the one.
  9. As I’ve mentioned before, I think it is a mistake that at this point we aren’t viewing the first image. Instead we see another link titled “View 205 Images.” Click it.
  10. You are now viewing a small strip of 205 images from a microfilm. Like microfilm, you must crank through it to find the desired image. We know that the 205 images cover records from 1870 to 1889. Since Andres Gonzalez was christened 2 December 1870, he should be at or near the beginning of the 205 images.
  11. Click through each image, scanning the entries in the margin for
    Andres, hijo de [son of]
    Higinio Gonzales y [and]
    Tomasa Sanchez.

Fortunately, we don’t have far to look; it is image 2. (Click for a larger view.)

Click to see a large image

We found it!

I think…

It’s late and I’m too tired to try and read some dead language tonight. That will have to wait. Stay tuned.

It happens so often, I don’t know why it still surprises me. It’s amazing how often I get ready to work an article idea only to see another writer cover the same topic. While I was preparing this series of articles DearMYRTLE (tagline: So famous that on Second Life even my pseudonym has a pseudonym) published “Getting from an index to the original document.” The article features a most excellent handout showing an example of looking up an original record after finding it in an index. Highly recommended.


  1. Thanks, that is a really good suggestion. I hadn't thought about looking on for indexes of the documents in Record Search.

    As the the location you used as an example, there is more than just a possible mis-spelled name. Albacete is a Diocese in South-central Spain. There is also a city of the same name. The parish of Sahuco (with an accent on the u) is in the ZONA LA SIERRA. Arciprestazgo de Peñas de San Pedro, which makes a little too general. But you are correct that the spelling in Record Search is probably wrong. On maps, the name of the town is really "El Sahuco" (again with an accent on the u).

    Thanks for pointing out this really interesting issue.

  2. Thank you for the info. I was frustrated that Ancestry does not have the images. I like to keep a folder of extracts and copies originals as the transcribers for ancestry are usually a mess on Spanish names.
    Your blog has loads of great tips.


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