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Monday, February 25, 2013

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One of the most informative marriage records

English: Screen capture of we...
English: Screen capture of web site (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was looking for more information on the McClure family from Birmingham, Alabama in the databases at  You know when you notice a collection only has a few records indexed, you feel a heart drop because usually the people you are searching for are not included yet.

The Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950 collection is only about 38% complete with 566,839 records so far.  When I have searched incomplete databases helping others, it gets a little disheartening at this point.  I start to feel guilty for not doing more indexing to help.  In the description of each collection above the search field is a link (Learn more) that will take you to an article that will tell you more about the particular historical record you are searching.

I have to say I was prompted to take a stab at searching anyway, and I was pleased to see many McClures had been indexed. Because there is a lot of information that we are unsure of, I figured I would be more successful searching the names of the parents hoping they would bring up the marriage records for the children.  This is a way around not knowing names of spouses and only having maiden names.

I was delighted to find one of the most informative marriage records ever, the marriage record for Essie and her husband, John Doyle.  According to my husband's oral history, Essie lived with her grandparents for a time.  The information in the marriage record included:

1.  The births and addresses of both spouses.
2.  The parent's names of both spouses.
3.  The certificate was signed by Essie's grandmother, Coreain, who all previously lived with her aged parents, Harry and Lula Bell Jackson after the death of Coreain's husband, Columbus.
4.  The name of the minister who married the couple.  Now we can search for the church.

Of particular interest is discovering the address where Essie was living because we can now visit this site.  We can now search previous census records for John's family too.

I am just amazed at all the information contained here.  My husband is busy now extracting all the data.

"Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Feb 2013), Columbus Mcclure in entry for John Doyle and Essie Mae Mcclure, 30 Oct 1947; citing Jefferson County; FHL microfilm 2409263.

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  1. What a great find, Robin. You will have a lot of fun searching census and other records now. You are on the case. Congratulations! It is such a great feeling when you come across a wealth of information that you didn't have before.

    Happy Hunting!

    1. Thank you, Wendy! I LOVE treasure hunting for ancestors!

  2. It's the thrill of finding the unexpected that keeps me addicted, LOL!

  3. It's astounding how one "find" like this can hold so much information, and many details are clues to finding yet more information. The parents' names and Essie's address, and the minister's name, are each the start of one more search. It looks like the handwriting is legible, too -- at the very least, you can get a few alternate readings.

    Doesn't it make all the searching worthwhile when you get a "find" such as this one? It just proves that a searcher should never, ever give up!

    1. Thank you< Mariann! It does prove we should never give up. I went back and looked through other marriage records, and not one of the other ones I reviewed even had the parent's names. This certainly was the piece of the puzzle for Essie in this case. I will need to investigate the clues that fill in more of the picture for the others.

  4. Hi Robin,

    My name is Carmen. Essie Mae and John Doyle are my grandparents. I am trying to find more information about Essie Mae and her indigenous roots. I would love to chat with you.


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