What We Learned Today

No items found.

Note: "What We Learned Today" is a new column that Jan and Doris will be writing each day to capture learnings from the Rootsonomy Research Group in Skype.

Today while I and a couple of the other researchers at Genealogists.com staff were looking for a death record of Josiah Oden, we re-realized how important it is to look at the original… We knew that Josiahdied in 1925 in Ohio. FamilySearch hasthe Ohio death collection 1908-1953 online, indexed and images.  We like to work from theactual collection whenever we can.

1.  To access it, go to FamilySearch.org and click Browse All Published Collections.

2.  In the top left-hand corner in the search box,enter Ohio deaths.  This displays twocollections: one with images and indexed, and one with index only.  Click the collection with the image (camera icon) 1908-1953.

Note that if you enter Ohio de, there are 4 collections. I would have missed that if I had not gone back and followed my own instructions. 


3.  For the last name enter Oden.  Click the word Death and enter Muskingum forthe place, 1925 for the year. Press Enter on your keyboard.

This is what we learned: The first name that pops up is Joseph Oden.  His birth is indexed as 1899.  His death is the correct year and in the correctplace.  His father is not the father that we had listed, and 1899 is about 40 years too late.  We didn’t even look at it, but kept on searching and... nothing.  Finally we thought we would go back andreexamine this Joseph.

First thing thatjumped out was that the handwriting was very difficult and messy.  We knew the indexer would index what he/she saw.  Nothing “fit” what was in our database.  We looked at the informant and found Clyde asthe son of Josiah, whose father was also Josiah.  We relooked at the name and saw that Joseph was actually Josiah.  Also, the father that is indexed as Isaiah isactually Josiah if you look closely.  However, we still had the problem with age.  Our Josiah was born in 1849, not 1899.  Upon closer examination, what jumped out was that the date was 1925 and the person was 76 years, 2 months and 26 daysold.  Even for someone who doesn’tlike math, we  knew that 1899 could not be correct; however, 1849 would be correct.  Our Josiah was born July 12, 1849.

Upon closer examination, it became clear that:

  • The indexedJoseph was actually Josiah
  • His birth datewas not July 12, 1899 as indexed, but July 12, 1849
  • The fatherwas not Isiah, but in fact Josiah

What did you learn today?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Written by


March 27, 2013
Wesley is the founder of hello@traceyourpast.com.

Additional ARTICLES