When we lived in Dallas, Texas, shopping was both wonderful and hard. It was wonderful because there were so many options and it seemed that whatever I wanted or needed could be found if I just persisted in looking long enough. The bad part was for someone who is a little compulsive in nature, if I couldn’t find something it was hard to just give up because I knew if one place didn’t have it, another place might. So with so many options, the search could go on forever and sometimes it felt like it did.
In ways I feel like that is how it is with genealogy research today. It’s good because there is always one more place to look, but bad because the never ending options are responsible for both anxiety and sleep deprivation for many a genealogist.
While some stay within the confines of the sites created specifically with genealogy in mind, the bottom really opens up once we realize that, in addition to the massive number of records on those sites, there are many options beyond the typical genealogy sites.
A couple of years ago I stumbled onto a website for Oklahoma court records called “On Demand Court Records.” This site has Oklahoma public records searchable for free. In addition, there are subscription options for advanced tools, but so far I have only used the free version which allows me to search by individual, by court, by county, by party type, and date range.
What have I found on the website? The records I’ve found vary from marriages, imported marriages, divorces, estates, and lawsuits etc., so in other words, the stuff genealogist love to find!
For example, I found a reference to an imported marriage license for Edgar Howell and Ollie Ganus for 1896. Now granted, I was not successful as long as I searched only for Ollie or Olivia Ganus, but when I searched for Edgar Howell, I was able to find the couple. Unfortunately she is listed as Allie Gomes instead of Ollie Ganus and with that experience, I was reminded to be very creative with spellings and to search for all who may have been involved.
One downside is, it is really more of an index, but it is still useful in narrowing down dates and places and in providing clues leading to other existing records.
Some counties have records going further back than others and it’s also worth noting that I’ve found instances where there are records on the site that actually go further back than indicated for that particular county. For instance on the marriage record below, the marriage license was filed in Lincoln, Oklahoma in 1899 and yet looking at the website’s court upload status, it indicates that records for Lincoln County go back to March 22nd, 1904.
Another downside (for your cousins) is that having recent court information online means you get to see references to recent driving violations, arrests or scuffles that friends and family may have been implicated in, which can make for some interesting discoveries and possibly even provide material for some entertaining conversations for the next family reunion.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved