Each week, I focus on either a new (or updated) record collection at ancestry.com.au, FamilySearch orFindmypast, or one of the other resources that I have used when researching my family history. This week I decided on a collection (I’m not sure if it was a new or updated collection) at FamilySearch – Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934
My husband’s 2x great grandmother, Anne Marshall, had four brothers (three full and one half) who migrated to the United States, and settled in Chicago. I decided to start with the eldest of her full brothers, John Marshall, who had married Ann Agar in Ireland. Their son Andrew, according to family records, had married twice, firstly to a Julia Finnegan around 1865, and then to Mary Coleman.
I wasn’t able to find a marriage of Andrew to Julia Finnegan, but there was a marriage to a Julia Fleming. Did the family have the wrong surname? Something to come back to at a later date. There was no entry for his marriage to Mary Coleman in this collection.
I then went searching for the second son of John, James L. Marshall, who family showed as marrying Catherine Byron. Although family records showed they were married in Ottawa, I decided to check this collection anyway, and found entries for two of their daughters
James Marshall, wife Katie Byron – daughter Irene Marshall married John Gray 20 Sep 1905 at Kane, Illinois, United States.
“Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK9L-Y3QG : accessed 8 July 2015), James Marshall in entry for John W Gray and Irene Marshall, 20 Sep 1905; citing Kane, Illinois, United States, county offices, Illinois; FHL microfilm .
James L. Marshall, wife Katie Byron – daughter Louise Katherine Marshall married David Joseph Jarrett 29 Jun 1904 at Kane, Illinois, United States.
“Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK9L-Y78L : accessed 8 July 2015), James L Marshall in entry for David Joseph Jarrett and Louise Katherine Marshall, 29 Jun 1904; citing Kane, Illinois, United States, county offices, Illinois; FHL microfilm .
The question I soon asked myself was, why weren’t more records for the family coming up? I decided to expand my search to all the collections at FamilySearch, and soon found that there was a separate collection for Cook County: Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920
When I started searching in this collection, I found the marriage of Andrew Marshall and Mary Coleman on 25 June 1875 at Chicago, Cook, Illinois
“Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N769-8MZ : accessed 8 July 2015), Andrew Marshall and Mary Coleman, 25 Jun 1875; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,092.
If a collection is indexed, it is often more helpful to do a global search, as this will pick up any other collections the person or family can be found in. Focusing on a single collection is helpful where you only have a name, and you wish to restrict your search to a particular location and type of record, to reduce the number of results.