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Researcher Finds Needle in the Haystack

I received an email from one of my clients and I think she’s come across a wonderful example of how powerful the Record Search pilot site is. With her permission, I will post her note here in a slightly edited form.

Thank you, Margie!



When the Chicago birth certificates became available [at] I pulled up everyone I could think of. I was looking for two sisters, Mabel and Joan Hayes.

I found Joan.

Baby not yet named
Second baby, two living
Father, Joseph Hayes, born in Pontiac Illinois, age 37, laborer
Mother Hannah Austgen Hayes, born in St. John, Indiana, age 31

I could not find Mabel. When I search for the name Austgen, I came up with

Mary *BROWN*
First baby, one living
Born December 29, 1910
Father, Joseph BROWN, born in Pontiac, Illinois, age 37, laborer
Mother, Hannah AUSTIN BROWN, born in Dyer, Illinois, age 29

Dyer is in Indiana, not Illinois, and is right next to St. John. The birth places of the parents matched so well!

This looked suspiciously like Mabel's birth certificate. Mabel's middle name could be Mary, her middle initial is M. I ordered the death certificates, and … guess what Mabel's birth date is: December 29, 1910! And on the death certificate, her father is born in Pontiac, her mother in St. John.

Can you believe it! It has the … wrong family name! I noticed it wasn't filed for more than a month after the birth. It’s like the doctor said, “What was that name? Something common? Oh, yeah, Brown.”

Funny thing, I NEVER would have thought of looking for the Hayes family under Brown!


Unknown said…
Good to know about the power of site!!! and she caught because she gave wrong information oops!!!!

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