Finding the bound cover

I've got an Oklahoma Marriage record from 1909. Easy to read and fill out. The image appears to be from a bound volume (no big deal there).

The issue is that the filmers did not include the cover or a title page. There is a film header giving the dates included, but it's from Ancestry and not the volume dates. 

The question is do I try and find the corresponding film at FamilySearch, where the cover is hopefully filmed, or just deal with what I'm looking at. Pick a side and I'll argue the other one :)

Use what I have - I've got the image, Ancestry isn't likely to go away, so what if I don't know the exact volume. 

Find the cover - If someone is at the courthouse and wants to review the record, they don't know what to ask for. They need to search all over again. Counter to that is we do have a page number and a likely set of dates, but that's not a guarantee.

It feels slightly wrong to spend time just to find the cover, but then I've not completely identified the record. And for those who are doing client work, does that change the decision.

Submitted byEEon Thu, 04/18/2024 - 09:39

Cryptoref,  the cleanest way to cite in a situation like this is to put your emphasis on the database, with an added layer to report what Ancestry gives for its source.

"Oklahoma, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1890–1995," database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 18 April 2024) > Muskogee > 1908–1912 > [Unidentified volume], p. 197, Park-Parker marriage license and return (1909); citing "Various Oklahoma County marriage collections."

This presumes that the exact date of the marriage and the identity of the couple is provided in the text to which the citation is attached.

Thank you.
But I was also asking the question of should I go after that volume cover. It’s likely at FamilySearch. What are the odds that the cover and first pages would give me something that I needed. I’m thinking it’s a very rare occurrence, but then this is a knock down drag out fight on a 50 year brick wall. 

Stated another way, is going after the cover unreasonably exhaustive research?

Cryptoref, EE would not consider it UNreasonably exhaustive research to check for images of the register to see whether the cover is imaged there. Writing the courthouse or hiring an onsite researcher to try to locate the volume might be.

As for "odds that the cover and first pages would give me something that I needed," that's a question I'd never attempt to answer. Statisticians do odds. History researchers know there's no way of predicting that a record we haven't seen will or won't give us something we don't expect—and that, even if the odds were miniscule—the odd-item could be just what we need to solve a problem.


Thank you. That's where I was too. Until you see the doc you never know. I do like the difference between doing it online where it's just my time (and I know that's valuable) and hiring a researcher. If I'm on a trip and at the courthouse for sure I'm going to ask to see the original. 

I shouldn't have said odds, as that's the wrong premise. From experience, what are the odds that the census enumerator is not some random person but rather the link that ties two facts together. Enumerator and enumerated and therefore likely knows the details regarding his servant. That's one of my experiences. Now I always glance at who did the enumeration.