Wednesday 16 September 2020

Ancestry indexes marriage notices

A new addition to Ancestry – Marriage Index, 1800s–1990 – will figure in my next two-week summary of new and updated US record collections but deserves its own 'launch' blogpost.
As its name clearly reveals, the new record set is an index to marriage announcements dating from the 1800s to 1999 as held in Ancestry's sister database The Index extracts not only the usual bride and groom data plus date and place of ceremony, it pulls out numerous facts from the announcements, including names of parents, occupations, residences, name of employers, names of children and siblings who attended the event, and other details published in the annoucements. If you're lucky, the announcement for your ancestor was fullsome.

And because the index presents these details, you don't necessarily need (even if you might want) to view the full published announcment on

On Monday evening, a close friend and genealogist phoned me about a Santry who had unexpectedly appeared in her DNA results. There's never previously been any reason to believe we're related, but if she matches to a Santry, it's likely we have some distant link. So when this new Index landed in Ancestry the following morning, I decided to check out her Horace Santry cousin. I'd never come across him; Horace is definitely not a name that's ever appeared in my family tree.

From this new Index alone, I was quickly able to work back from Horace's marriage in Kansas in 1965 via Ohio and Canada to the birth of one Daniel Santry in 1815 in the Santry stronghold of Clonakilty, County Cork. (The speed with which I was able to do this demonstrated with utter clarity how much harder Irish researchers have to work in the absence of 19th-century census collections.) With the facts presented via Ancestry's new index – see below – I was also able to trace forward in time to Horace's descendents, as well as to stretch the tree personnel to his siblings and other extended family.

I haven't yet been able to make a documentary connection to my own Santry family line, but I suspect it's out there somewhere and I'll search again later this week.

If you don't have a subscription, this new Index collection of more than 11 million records on Ancestry will be an important friend to all Irish family historians with ancestors who emigrated to the USA.

The search result from Ancestry's new Index
The search result from Ancestry's new Index