Brick Wall Ancestor Series #14: Locating a vital records certificate using the index information

There was an index for a birth certificate found online. Could the original document be located?


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What We Knew

  • Henry Betram Wright was listed in an index on FamilySearch.org as born 11 September 1886 in Michigan. The full birth certificate was desired to find out the full information listed.
  • The index on FamilySearch looked like this:


Records We Located

  • The index on FamilySearch listed a GS Film number as 2320846. (Ancestry.com also often has similar film numbers.) The film number refers to a microfilm number from the FamilySearch Catalog.
  • The first step is to go to the FamilySearch.org catalog by going to FamilySearch.org, Search, and then Catalog.
  • Next we searched on a Film/Fiche number 2320846:

  • We then we were able to view the birth records page with the images available. We clicked on the camera icon next to the film number.

  • We then went through the images on the digitized microfilm and located the record with the correct date. We then were able to have the original document informaton for this birth.


Conclusion


Though this wasn't a brick wall situation, this is a common question that many people have and the steps can apply to obtaining any type of original documents, such as birth certificates, marriage records, death records, etc. If there is a GS film number listed by the index, there is often an image available on FamilySearch.org of the original document.


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