Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tales from the Genealogical 'Hood: My FHC Field Trip

Today I made another trip to my local Family History Center. As you may or may not know, I don't have good luck there. It seems the films I request always come back "restricted" and my access denied. I suspect the problem is with the regulations of entities in a particular state in which I have a research interst (rhymes with Dew Hexico). There's nothing really scandalous or secretive about the circa-1900 marriage & probate records I need.

Anyway, I went to the FHC today armed with a new order for records from other--hopefully more access-friendly--states. Here's what I requested:

Since I had an $11 credit from my last denial, I invested the funds into 2 microfilm rolls for Pope County, Arkansas probate records and indexes. I'm looking for the will of my great-great-great grandfather, John Laurens Williamson, who died in 1862. I want the document because he's a direct descendant and I believe it is an important record to have. At the same time, I'm trying to sort out the mystery of his likely son, Horatio Williamson, who shows up in the household in the 1850 census (no relationship stated), then is never heard from again in any other records. Perhaps this will holds clues.

At the same time, I placed an order for 1900's-1920's marriage records for Stephens County, Oklahoma. I'm looking for my great-grandmother, her five sisters & all their husbands. I know who all these people are, I just want the actual records. The good news with this order is that all these volumes are on microfiche. These cost 15 cents apiece and they stay at my FHC indefinitely! Yay! That means I'll have 3 decades of Stephens County marriage records within reach as long as I need them. I will need them, too, because my family history research of Duncan, Oklahoma is fast turning into a community study of sorts.

As I claimed my credit with the FHC volunteer, I gave the explanation of the restricted records. The nice lady helping me jokingly wondered aloud what mysterious research I was doing. I just shrugged and let her think I was up to no good. Makes life interesting. I just wait and see if my FHC luck will change. It all depends on how the microfilm rolls, I guess.


  1. A mystery! How exciting. I just finished reading Dan Waddell's new genealogy mystery "Blood Atonement" where early records were similarly "unavailable." Very twilight zone. Good luck, keep us updated on your progress.

  2. Cool blog! I'm looking forward to reading the Dan Waddell book, too! I'm reading "Flags of Our Fathers" right now, about the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. Our library book discussion group talks about it in 2 weeks. Heavy reading, but good.