Highlighting my Mulholland ancestors from County Antrim, Ireland and those that immigrated to Los Angeles and Long Beach California, United States; and Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

My first visit to the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, 30 January, 2016

Yesterday I made my first visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I had arrived in Salt Lake City, late the night before, after a fairly lengthy trip involving three flights, which was made even longer by a flight delay from London Heathrow to Dallas Fort Worth, a missed connection which resulted in a rebooking and just making the final flight with only minutes to spare. It was snowing fairly heavily the following morning and after getting a few groceries at Harmons Neighbourhood Grocer, I made myself a quick lunch back at the Airbnb that I am staying at and then made my way to the library just before 1 pm. 

In the week prior to my departure for Salt Lake City, I had prepared an Excel spreadsheet with a list of ancestors' records that I wanted to view on microfilm. During the compilation of the spreadsheet I checked the FamilySearch catalogue to ensure that I would highlight each record that was not available online on the FamilySearch.org website.

The library was not as busy as I had expected, but I presume the weather had put some people off.

I headed straight for the basement level B2 which is where all the British Films are stored for viewing. I located the area where the banks of microfilm readers are and began to set myself up for the next few hours of research. 

The first few records I tried to locate were for two female ancestors that were stillborn in 1933 and 1937, respectively, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, I had no luck locating either of them on the Index, I was either looking in the wrong places or the records for these events were not filmed. I have to say I was a little unhappy, but thought to myself that I should not let these unsuccessful searches ruin my first visit to the Family History Library. 

I then decided to try to locate the death record for my Ellen McWilliams (nee Irwin/Irvine), who died 26 April, 1925. I located FHL microfilm 232,472 , Death records of Northern Ireland, 1922-1959, which has the Belfast, Index to Deaths, Vol. 4, 1925. I located Ellen in the index - 

Name - McWilliams, Ellen, Age - 53, District - Belfast, Page 156, 

I had previously determined that the actual death record should be located on FHL microfilm 232,492, 1925 June quarter, v. 14, General Register Office, Belfast, Deaths, Volume 14, June Quarter, 1925. As the library was fairly quite and there were plenty of Microfilm readers free I set up this film on the microfilm reader in the adjacent booth. I scrolled through the film and found the death record on page 156... success at last. To ensure that I would be able to record my source citation properly, I took a series of photos with my mobile phone - 

the film boxes and reel numbers -
FHL British Film 232,472

FHL British Film 232,492
the Film Headers for the Index and Death Records -

the actual page where I had located Ellen on the Index -

and page 156 which records Ellen's death -

At last I had gotten myself into a routine and I went on to the next record. By the end of the day I had located several ancestors' records taken photos as outlined above and was quite happy with what I had found and achieved. 

Of course I could have viewed the records on one of the special film readers where you can save the records to a USB flash drive, but I wanted to take things slowly and not feel pressured, as I was aware that the readers that can store to USB flash drives are more in demand. I knew I could review the photos that night and if necessary I would then go back to the library on Monday or Tuesday and store the records to a USB flash drive, I would be going back to the library anyway to complete more research on the days leading up to RootsTech 2016.

There was a series of announcements advising of the imminent closing of the library, and by 4:40pm I decided I had better pack up, return the last few films to the microfilm storage drawers and get ready to leave. 

I took a photo of the entrance to the library on my way back to where I am staying for the week.

© Geoff Mulholland 2013-2016

Friday, 22 January 2016

"Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958"

For some time I have been perplexed by the marriage index entries for my great grandparent's John Mulholland and Elizabeth M'Williams showing at Ancestry.com in the "Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958".

This database originates from the “Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845–1958,” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. The records were filmed at the General Registry office, Dublin in 1953.

In April 2013, I obtained a photocopy from the GRO, Dublin, of the marriage register entry for their marriage which took place on 23rd December, 1895, at St Anne's, Church of Ireland, Belfast. The photocopy has the page number '310' showing in the upper left hand corner of the page.

Ireland, Marriage, St Anne's, Belfast, County Antrim - 18951223 -
vol. 1, page 310, no  41 - MULHOLLAND John & McWILLIAMS Elizabeth

When I looked at the index entries on Ancestry.com, the entry for Elizabeth M'Williams did not list John Mulholland as one of the other names on the page for vol. 1, p. 310 of the Oct-Nov-Dec 1895 Index.

Also the entry for John Mulholland listed him as being on vol. 3, p. 89, with NO other names listed on the page.

Yesterday, I was preparing for some other research, when I noticed that the FamilySearch.org catalog[ue] entry for the 'Ireland, civil registration indexes, 1845-1958', which includes 'Marriage records, 1845-1870, with indexes to marriages, 1845-1921, in the General Registry Office of Ireland', now has a camera icon in the column headed 'Format', in the section 'Film Notes', for a number of the listed FHL microfilms.

The camera icon allows you to browse the film online. This feature was announced on the FamilySearch.org blog back in November 2015.

*** UPDATE *** 8 March, 2016

A few days ago I went back to the FamilySearch.org site to try to view some other films from the 'Ireland, civil registration indexes, 1845-1958'. However, I found that the camera icon was missing for all of these films. I raised a support case with FamilySearch and enquired as to why the camera icons were missing. Today I received a reply, apparently the legal contracts for these particular films have been reviewed. These films are no longer available online and must be ordered in to a Family History Centre. 

When I selected the appropriate FHL film, i.e. 101257 and started browsing for the index entries for my great grandparents, I noticed that page 23 for the Oct-Nov-Dec 1895 quarter, which lists my great grandfather had been filmed twice. However, the second image # 436 had the lower right hand corner of the page torn away and a blank piece of paper was placed behind the page, highlighting the fact that the page had been previously torn.

Image 436 with page 23 showing missing lower right hand corner.
When I scrolled back to image # 435 and inspected the corner of the page more carefully, I noticed that the page indeed had been torn in the very area that my great grandfather's index entry appears.

Image 435, index page 23, with page 25 showing through in the lower right hand corner.
I then scrolled to image # 438 and noticed that the lower right hand corner of page 25 was actually showing as the lower right hand corner of page 23 in image # 435.

Part of image 438
It can be seen that vol. 3 p. 89 is actually the index entry for Annie O'Neill on page 25 and not the correct entry for John Mulholland.

Therefore, all the volume and page numbers for the individuals listed in the torn area of page 23 are incorrect.

The individuals involved are :

MOYNAN, Edmond
MOYNIHAN, Daniel James
MULCAHY, Bridget
MULCAHY, Patrick
MULDOON, Margaret
MULDOON, Patrick
MULHALL, Michael
MULHOLLAND, James Richards
MULHOLLAND, James Richard

Of course, there are other individuals missing from the lower left hand corner of image 437 of page 24. They all have the family name MURPHY. The last individual showing correctly is Catherine, and the next one showing correctly at the top of the centre column is Jane, so any Murphy that was married in that same quarter with a christian name listed between Catherine and Jane is more than likely missing from the index or indexed with only a family name and no christian name.
Part of  image 437
I did some checks, and it appears the entry below Catherine would be for Christopher Murphy, and this entry actually does appear in the index. However, the next entry which I would presume is Daniel, only appears as ??Iel Murphy. There are at least 21 entries in the name of Murphy with no christian name appearing in the index.

This scenario highlights the fact that we cannot always take an index record at face value, its construction may rely on a damaged document. In this case the index shows incorrect details for several individuals and it possibly explains some missing Murphy entries. We should always try to view the original document, in this particular case the printed index, to inspect it for any damage and or alterations.

© Geoff Mulholland 2013-2016