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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Right Under Your Nose, or at Least, Your Fingertips!

Dickey Family about 1909
In Back: Cyprian
In Front l to r: Burnie, Jennie, Audrey, Marion, and my grandmother Alys

THANK YOU, Lisa Louise Cooke!

I woke up a little early to noodle around with my genealogy, and saw I had a new Genealogy Gems podcast to listen to (episode 197). As I made the coffee, I was listening to Lisa talk about how she had found the exact marriage date for her great-grandparents, a fact that had eluded her for several years. She had searched in depth, found nothing, and set it aside. She finished the segment by encouraging listeners to try again on a tough problem.

Well, I too had a set of great-grandparents with a mystery marriage. I actually had the date, but I had never been able to find the civil record. I had come to the private conclusion that perhaps a marriage hadn't even taken place...

I was wrong. Following Lisa's advice, I sat down with my coffee and loaded up FamilySearch. I typed in "Marion Dickey" and "Sarah Jane Reck", and clicked on marriages, with the dates from 1890-1900. I didn't specify a location.
Screenshot of FamilySearch showing my great-grandparents' marriage
I was dumbstruck. I had spent a good chunk of 1994 mailing (with stamps) letters (on paper) to nearly a dozen counties where I thought the marriage could have occurred. This couple lived in both western Ohio and eastern Indiana so I concentrated in that area. I included a SASE (you kids even know what that is?) to ensure a reply, and I kept all those. I saw the above record came from Randolph County, Indiana, and I was curious as to whether or not I had tried that one.  Guess what?
"We're sorry. We have no idea what you are talking about."
I had given them the exact date. The exact woman's name. The correct man's surname with what would be a matching middle initial. Seriously?

So, 22 years after receiving word that my great-grandparents were not in the index in Randolph County, Indiana, I present to you their marriage record:
Francis M. Dickey married Jennie Reck on April 3rd, 1896 in Randolph County, Indiana, courtesy of
I found this record in less than one minute, drinking coffee, before 7 a.m. on a work day. How sweet is that? Thanks again to Lisa Louise Cooke for her great podcasts and encouragements!

P.S.: I love this record because my dad told me that Marion (his grandfather) was named after the Revolutionary War figure Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. I have seen NO records that show his first name being Francis, until today.

I'm doing the happy dance! Now, go looking for something YOU had given up on.

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