Sunday, November 23, 2014

Actual Record versus Index

I was reviewing a New Jersey (second) marriage with someone from Jersey City in 1888.  We don't have the original record, only the entry (no image) at FamilySearch in the collection, New Jersey Marriages, 1678-1985.

The question was:  As this is a remarriage, is the bride's name in the index her name at birth or her first husband's name?

The answer:  We don't know unless we look at the record.  (The record is on microfilm in Trenton, so we aren't going to see it from our computers at home.)

I looked at some marriage returns in my possession to compare to the online index.  From Jersey City in 1886, I have the marriage return for the second marriage of bride, Anna, to James Livingstone Miller.  She was the daughter of Louman Heiser (Hyser) and Catherine Eckler.  She first married William H Cummings in 1877 in Catskill, Greene County, New York.

Marriage Return, 1886, Jersey City, New Jersey
James Livingstone Miller, son of Christopher Miller and Agnes M Barton
Anna Bell Hyser, daughter of Luman Hyser and Catherine Eckler
"Cumming" was listed as Anna's "maiden name," then crossed out and "Hyson" (Hyser) written in.  "Last name, if a widow," was Hysen Cumming.

Next I turned to the index at FamilySearch to see which name appears.

In the index, Anna is listed by her name at birth, Hyser, or at least a construed version of the name, Hyren.  The married name, Cumming, is not mentioned at all.  The middle names of the parties are omitted from the index, but are available on the actual record.  Marital status is single and does not change if the record is for James or Anna, yet the actual marriage record is clear that this was Anna's second marriage.

James Livingstone Miller in the 1887-1888 Jersey City (Hudson County, New Jersey) directory

By 1900, Anna Hyser had married again, this time to Nicholas Brower.  My grandmother told me she married four times.  Still looking for another husband.

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