On this day November 29, part 2

The Family History Center in Worcester called this morning to let me know that some microfilms I’d ordered from Salt Lake City had arrived, so I stopped by on my lunch hour to see what I might find. One film contained death records, the other marriage records, both from East Providence. I located the death record for Catherine Creegan on one film, noted the information, and then looked at the marriage records on the other film. I was disappointed to discover that the records were in no particular order. I didn’t have time to go through them individually, so I decided to take a few minutes to just zip through the whole film, stopping at random to see if I’d get lucky.

I did.

On about the sixth or seventh try, the image on the screen was the marriage certificate of Daniel Farrar and Catherine (Creegan) Regan. As I’d deduced from going through the indexes on my last visit to the FHC, this was the second marriage for each of them. Daniel was 51, Catherine 31. (Daniel had three grown children by his first wife, Jane McKee, who died in 1866. Another son, Thomas, had died at the age of 23 just a few months before Daniel and Catherine’s marriage. Catherine and her first husband, Jeremiah Regan, had no children together. Jeremiah died in 1876).

The marriage record was a great help in fleshing out Daniel Farrar’s past. It reveals that he was born in Leeds, in Yorkshire, England, and that his parents were James and Harriet (Armitage) Farrar. That information led me pretty quickly to English census records detailing Daniel’s family. I also learned that Catherine’s mother’s maiden name was Hyland (maybe we’re related to the micro-brewers/apple growers in Sturbridge?!).
But the neat thing about the marriage record was the date: Daniel and Catherine were married on this day, November 29! And better yet, according to a perpetual calendar I checked online, November 29, 1883 was a Thursday- Thanksgiving Day!

Index Free Or Die!

They sometimes do things differently in New Hampshire- here’s an example. I recently requested a microfilm of Death Certificates from the State of New Hampshire, for the period that included the deaths of Daniel, Mary Alice, and Carl Dunn. The certificates are stored alphabetically, and the LDS catalog listing showed ranges of names- I selected “Day, J.-Emerson”, which you would think would include “Dunn, D.”, wouldn’t you?

I certainly did. So I was very surprised when, winding my way through the film, I started seeing a whole bunch of Dwyers. Thinking I’d zipped past the Dunns, I rewound the film. No Dunns. I scrolled forward, and shortly after the Dwyers and Drzinkas ended, started seeing Evanses.  

That’s when I reread the fine print at the beginning of the microfilm, and learned that in New Hampshire at least, alphabetical order means using the first and third letters of the surname! If I had looked more closely at the index at FamilySearch.org I would have seen that- the entry preceding “Day, J.-Emerson” is “Dewhurst, J.-Day, J.”- which only makes sense if you use the unique New Hamphire indexing style.

Which leaves me with one little problem- how do you break the tie when two names have the same combination of first and third letters? There are two films that should have the Dunn certificates- but is it “Demers, K.-Dinsmore, J.” (alphebetizing on the fourth letter) or “Dinsmore, J.-Dion, J.” (using the second letter)?