02 December 2009

Cook County Marriages with Spades

The first image in this post (with the two spades) is the marriage license for Albert Haakman and Eleanor Frame from Cook County, Illinois in 1908. It was found on FamilySearch's pilot site by searching for Frame marriages in the Cook County marriage listing and looking at desired entries. When I originally located this entry, I got so sidetracked on the "spots" that I neglected to see an additional index entry on Family Search for this samecouple.

Note that this marriage has the license number of 49807 in the upper right hand corner.

In preparing for this post, I did another search on the http://pilot.familysearch.com site for the Eleanor Frame and Albert Haakman marriage. This time because my search was specific it was easier to see that there were two entries in the Pilot site for this marriage--something in my obsession with the "spots" I had not noticed (one usually doesn't expect to find two marriage index entries for the same couple).

The names and all the details (at least on the search results) appeared to be the same.

However, when I clicked on "record details" (which appears on the far
right of the screen and is not shown in the image with this post), I noticed there was a slight different. The reference numbers which LDS assigns to each record were different. These reference numbers (in the case of the Cook County marriage records) are actually the license number. So there
were two license numbers for the
Frame-Haakman marriage.

The second license looks just like the first one, except that the original number of 49807 has been crossed out and replaced with 498907.

Note that this version of the license has none of the spades.

The Family History Library Card Catalog entry for these marriage records makes the comment that "Spade marks on licenses indicate numbering problem."

In an effort to dig down to the bottom of the spade issue, Cynthia at http://www.chicagogenealogy.com sent me the entry from the Cook County marriage index for the Frame-Haakman marriage. Their index entry for the Frame-Haakman marriage indicates that the license number is actually supposed to be 498907. The license image with this number does not have the spade marks.

A little bit of history is necessary (thanks to Cynthia at http://www.chicagogenealogy.com). The first license post-fire in Chicago was license number 1/2 (yes that's a half--as in "better half") to John G. Blaine and Alice R. Miller on 10 October 1871. The number sequence just kept on going year after year, which makes it possible, using the numbers from the microfilm film notes of the Family History Library Card Catalog, to estimate when a marriage took place using only the number. The license on the "spaded" image is dated 49807, which would be an entry from late 1880. The correct number for the Frame-Haakman marriage is 49807.

Another license between James Bell and Clementine Dorsey is incorrectly numbered 49806 and appears next to the Frame-Haakman marriage (it is mentioned in our earlier post). It too appears in the FamilySearch index twice, once with reference number 49806 with corresponding image that has spades. It appears in the FamilySearch index again under reference number 498906. The image corresponding to that ent
ry (partially shown in this post) has no spades and has the incorrect number crossed off and the correct number written on it as well.

Spades aside, it appears that if you do find a spaded entry in the images on FamilySearch's pilot site for these records, you should search for the marriage in the index again and you might find another copy with the correct license number and no spades on the license image.

Thanks again to Cynthia at Chicago Genealogy for her help with this post.


Blogger Rondina said...

Michael, this was good research. I'm wondering what moved you to contact chicagogenealogy.com rather than a government entity. Did you have previous experience with them?

6:38 AM  
Blogger Michael John Neill said...


Actually Cynthia at chicagogenealogy contacted me and we did some collaboration on this. I've not had adequate responses from Cook County vitals in the past. I've posted notice of this blog post to a few email lists hoping to generate either some response or answers from someone familiar with way these records were microfilmed.

9:13 AM  

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