Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable.
Yes, “Records say the Darnedest Things.”
Experienced researchers know to look forward and backward when viewing images online or on microfilm. A coworker told me about a recent experience. He was helping a friend view California county marriage records.
My coworker was familiar with these records and knew to check the next image to see the back of the form. The back contained this additional information:
- Bride and groom’s marital status and number of the marriage
- Bride and groom’s occupation and industry
- Parents and their birthplaces
- The bride and groom’s birthplaces and residences are sometimes given with greater specificity.
- Much of the information from the front is duplicated on the back. If illegible on the front, it might be legible on the back.
Having learned the principle, his friend applied it to British Columbia marriage records and made a more serendipitous discovery. Only the fronts of these records were present. There was no apparent reason to check the next image.
But when he checked, he found interfiled among the marriage records, someone had slipped in a letter from their rector, certifying banns of marriage had been read. Had he not checked the next image, he would have missed this cool document.
Darn you if you don’t check the images before and after the one with your record!