Divorce "Index" on FamilySearch

Need some guidance with this. The only way to navigate to this record as far as I can tell is to search the catalog for New Hampshire then go to Divorce > Index of Divorces and Annulments Prior to 1938. The target is deceiving because its not quite an index, but rather loose documents of divorce and annulment records. The target says the index goes up to 1900, when in fact it goes up to 1938. The catalog discription seems more fitting.  I think I have all the pieces, but am unsure it put the citation together correctly. I'd appreciate your feedback.

New Hampshire, Registrar of Vital Statistics, Divorces and Annulments Prior to 1938, Index to divorces - Jewell to Morin, C. Lawrence McCarthy and Viola McCarthy divorce, 20 October 1922; digital images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSK9-K9HV-J: viewed 12 August 2020) images 3049-3050 of 5018 from FHL Film 1001327.

Submitted byEEon Thu, 08/13/2020 - 12:46


You’ve captured most essentials, but a few things need rearranging for clarity. For the benefit of our readers, let’s go back to the “thinking about what we dealing with” stage—not just the FamilySearch access issue—and walk through the data.

  1. The first few images of this collection tell us that
    • Filmers from the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), back in the 1970s, went into the New Hampshire Registrar of Vital Statistics and created the film.
    • At the time, the label created for the film identified it as “Index to Divorces and Annulments prior to 1900.”  However, we clearly see that post-1900 entries have been added. So we have a date conflict to consider in crafting the citation. We also do not know whether that label is exactly what the Bureau uses or (as is often the case) the filmers made up their own description of the collection.
    • The original cards are in boxes, arranged alphabetically, and the boxes are numbered. From the images that are relevant to your search, we cannot determine the box number or the label that would be on the box. However, at the start of the film there is a one-page guide telling us that a “McCarthy” card should appear in Box 398. (We can also confirm that by using the thumbnails to search backward for the quite visible “Box Number” icon.) The image for that box number carries no descriptive words. Just the number.
  2. The phrase “Index to Divorces and Annulments Prior to 1938” is a creation of the Family History Library when it filmed the cards. (From the images, we see no evidence that the Bureau itself has a collection with that title.) This collection title, with a concluding date, should not be used in Layer 1 where we are discussing the original records. It belongs in the layer that cites FamilySearch and FHL cataloging data.
  3. We have a similar issue with the sub-group that you identify as "Index to divorces - Jewell to Morin."  This is also a sub-group created by the Family History Library for cataloging purposes, the descriptive title for the one roll of film we are using. It is, in other words, one waypoint on the menu path that we have to follow when we are on the FamilySearch site.

Considering these points (and using separate colors for each layer for instructive purposes), EE would rearrange the citation this way:

          1. New Hampshire, Registrar of Vital Statistics, Index to divorces and annulments, Box 398, cards for C. Lawrence McCarthy and Viola McCarthy divorce, 20 October 1922; digital images, "Index to Divorces and Annulments Prior to 1938," FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSK9-K9HV-J : viewed 12 August 2020) > Film 1001327, Index to divorces–Jewell to Morin > images 3049–50 of 5018.

Also note:

  • The conflict of dates between (a) the target created by the filmers at the Bureau and (b) the date used by FHL's collection title could be resolved by using a descriptive ID, "Index to divorces and annulments" as the collection identity at the Bureau. EE would not put that collection identity in quotes, as a formal title, because we have no evidence that it is the formal title used by the Bureau.
  • Your question regarding how to describe how you got to the image—or how someone can get to the image from your citation—is resolved by using a path and waypoints. The ARK should take a user directly to the image, if (a) the provider never changes it; and (b) no one makes a typo in the URL. Adding the FHL/FamilySearch collection title to the start of that layer, then the path that takes us from that collection to the subgroup to the image, will help to ensure that the image is retrievable later.
  • EE adds a space between the URL and the colon, so that the colon will not be perceived as part of the URL.  The added space between the place of publication (the URL) and the colon is already a long-standing practice in library cataloging.

Submitted byHendricksonon Fri, 08/14/2020 - 13:09
Thanks for this. Your explanation goes a long way in helping me understand what I was looking at.