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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree June 2019 > Your letters

Your letters


Your discoveries, dilemmas and old documents uncovered on the family history learning curve…

An important lesson learned

I thought that perhaps readers in the early stages of research might appreciate this example of the importance of sighting original documents before jumping to conclusions.

In 2012 when I was a member of the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (SAGHS), I was searching for the marriage certificate of my 2x great-grandmother Sarah Smith (née Hinde) on my father’s side.

Sarah had emigrated to South Australia in 1852 aboard the Medina from Liverpool as a 19-year-old domestic servant, and married John Henry Smith in St Jude’s Church, Brighton, South Australia in 1857. I was sure it would be straightforward.

The SAGHS has an excellent library of resources including the use of microfiche and film readers. Using the facts that I had already established through prior research, and the South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1852-1916, I was at first delighted to find a microfiche image of a marriage certificate.

The dates were correct, the church, the volume and page number – but wait… What was this?

Sarah Hinde’s father, whom I had understood to be a butcher, William Hinde, was not mentioned as the bride’s father! In his place was one Jesse McInnes. See my transcript of the index below:

SMITH, John Henry MI (minor) (marital status not recorded) (father James Henry SMITH) married 4 July 1857 HINDE, Sarah (full age) (marital status not recorded) (father Jesse MCINESS) at St Jude Brighton Dist Ade Sym A b30 p69

I followed this puzzle with a look-up in a public library with an Ancestry Library subscription. Its source was the Australia Marriage Index 1788-1950 and – again, everything correct except Sarah’s father, once again given as Jesse McInnes.

Transcript of index being: Name: John Henry Smith Spouse name: Sarah Hinde Spouse’s father’s name: Jesse McInnes Marriage date: 4 June 1857 Marriage place: Brighton Reg. Place: Adelaide SA Page no. 69 Vol no. 30

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About Family Tree

What is it about family history that's captured your imagination? Whether you're seeking the story of your WW2 veterans who fought at D-Day, or tracing your tree across continents to bring your family back together again, we've got a host of advice and tales to help and inspire you: 1. Gen up on your ancestors' role in D-Day (75 years ago this June). 2. Discover how to use DNA, combined with the paper records, to trace family worldwide. 3. Learn about the top 10 genealogy sins - and how to repent and become a better family history sleuth! Plus DNA tips, reader stories, expert advice on your questions and brickwalls, and so much more... - including that all-important topic of 'How to write your family history'! Enjoy