Don’t you just hate it when you search for an ancestor on FamilySearch and you get a hit for what you know is the correct record, and then you see the dreaded “No image available”? Well last week in the Family History Library, the absolute nicest woman, Sister Hays, taught me a nifty little trick that just might get you around the “No image available” roadblock. Here’s how you do it…
In my example I searched for a marriage record for Edward Barrett. I knew from his death certificate his wife’s name was Catherine. He was born about 1855 so I guessed he was married between 1875 and 1890. I plugged that into FamilySearch and the second result looked promising.
I clicked on the document icon and I could see a little more.
Note, the dreaded “No image available.” Well, Sister Hays, sitting right next to me said “I maybe know a way around that. It doesn’t always work, but let’s try it.” And so we did.
Step 1 is to copy the film number, as I’ve highlighted in yellow. Next, go to the FamilySearch catalog search and in the box for Film/Fiche number, paste the film number, like so….
Click on Search, and you’ll get… Search Results. Fancy that!
“Marriage records, 1801-1951” is a hyperlink to the next screen. You’ll have to scroll down to see the film notes, but lookey here, there’s a camera icon. That means pictures!
I got an array of thumbnails of microfilm images. For this particular film there are two batches of marriage records, the first from 1875-1884, and the second batch from 1885 to 1890. Edward and Kate were married in 1887 so I worked my way down to the second set. The first few pages in each set of records are an index, which appears to be alphabetical by the first letter of the groom’s name, and then in somewhat chronological order by the date the marriage was recorded.
Edward’s index entry was found on image 396 of 768.
This told me their marriage record would be on page 420. (Note this is not image 420. It’s the register page labeled 420, which happens to be on image 646.) And look at the fruits of my labor!
It's the sideways one in the upper left corner. And here in all it's glory...
This little trick doesn’t work with every “No image available” record. But thanks to Sister Hays I now know a workaround to try.
I’m certainly thankful for the week and a half of research I’ve been able to do at this wonderful library with its incredibly helpful staff. If you haven’t been here, definitely put it on your research bucket list.
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.