One thing I recall as a child, was that it was neat when you got something in the mail. Now it seems like that doesn’t happen very often now, except for flyers and bills and even then you can have those come to your email.
So one of the cool thing about being a genealogist or family history nut is that you “do” get things in the mail. Right now I’m waiting for a death certificate and another certificate that I’m ashamed to say I don’t recall what it was, but they are coming from Britain. I always log my certificate purchases in my genealogy program but for some reason I missed this one so it’s going to be a surprise. I’m also waiting for some probates to arrive from the B.C. Archives, after my recent trip to Victoria. All of these items will provide, hopefully; more clue to get my research farther back or at least to fill in those gaps. Meat to the bone so to speak.
Family history can be an expensive hobby. As I mentioned; I’m waiting for some certificates from the UK that cost 9.25 pounds each and the three wills that should arrive on Monday cost about $35.00 Canadian. But I guess there could be worse things that I could spend my money on. I don’t have any vices so family history is mine.
Sometimes you can find the same information in other ways, such as on-line databases or genealogy websites but sometime you just need to look at the document to get the details that you want. For instance; with regard to the death record I’m waiting for. My 3x great-grandfather; William Middlebrough was born in Kingston on Hull, Yorkshire, England in 1839 or 1841 . Pretty straight forward until you get his birth record and it lists, not Jane Brook which all the other Middlebrough researchers say is his mother, but Jane Carr. I’ve done some research on Jane Carr and I can find a Jane Carr but no record of her and John Middlebrough as a couple. I can find John Middlebrough married to Jane Brook though.
But the birth certificate I have shows John Middlebrough, Joiner (and that’s my John’s occupation) and the mother is listed as Jane Carr. So what the heck. Then there is the death record in 1839 which I have on order for William Middlebrough. Who is this William. So I’m purchasing it to see who is listed as the father and if he’s connected to the family. Were their two John Middlesbrough’s living in the same area? Did they have the same occupation? Did they both marry Jane’s? I can hear the conversation now; “Hey cuz, isn’t it wild that we are both marrying Jane’s, why don’t we both name our sons William? Just to make it interesting one of us could register the birth and the other not? Oh, your didn’t register your marriage…that will fix those government types”.
So that’s why you buy certificates… sometimes they are a wild goose chases and sometimes they answer questions.
On the other hand purchasing a probate record can provide you with an abundance of information. Often you can find out who were the important people in your ancestors life and what their relationship was to your ancestors and even where they lived , or at least that’s the hope.
So as I said earlier you could spend your money on worse things; after all purchasing some of these documents are a bit like gambling. You spend your money and you’re hoping for a big return.