Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket"

For years I have traveled to the Maryland State Archives to conduct family research. There have been many hours spent searching for death, birth, marriage, and baptism records.

Across the street sits the Maryland State Law Library. On occasion I would wonder about the building, but never ventured over to visit.

In several posts I have written about the genealogy discussion group formed in our public library. During one of our meetings a librarian from the law library was a special guest. She demonstrated how their collection could benefit the family researcher.

Several weeks ago our group organized a trip to both repositories. Most of the day we spent researching at the archives. After dinner we planned a brief visit to the law library. The original idea was to browse the shelves and then head back home. That was until we rounded a corner and discovered shelves of land records for every county in the state.

Sitting down on the floor I pulled out each book and discovered records for my husband's family. Passages describing purchases of property, inheritance records, and plot locations filled with names I had researched for years.

Feeling flushed with excitement I was busy writing down facts and copying pages. This caused several of my fellow researchers to chuckle over my obvious enthusiasm.

While preparing to leave for the evening I searched one last shelf. On sheer impulse selected a book entitled "Obituaries from Maryland Newspapers, Queen Anne's County, May 1851 to October 1853, (includes Marriages)" by Trish Surles.

To this day I don't know why I chose this volume since my husband's ancestors resided in a different county. Listed in the idex was the name Montecue, a variation on my husband's great-grandmother Rachel Montague's surname.

On the page was the following record:

Listed was the marriage announcement for my husband's great-great grandparents!

Saturday Morning, October 9, 1852
Married On the 5th inst. by the Rev. Mr. Cooper, Mr. David Montecue to Miss Mary Ann Connelly - both of this county.

For years I have searched for proof that Mary Ann Connelly married David Montecue. Now we have dates, who married the couple and the fact they resided in another county at the time. With this accidental discovery we can piece together several family lines.

How easily we fall into the rut of researching where most comfortable. Sometimes you have to cross the road to see what treasure lies on the other side!

Special thanks to the "2 Carols" for organizing this group field trip.


  1. What a wonderful bit of serendipity that you chose that particular album. Your hand was surely invisibly guided! A VERY exciting find, congratulations!!

  2. Wow, I just drove by the NH law library recently on the way to the NH State library, where I usually do research. The next time I'm in Concord I'll have to drop by the law library, too!

  3. What a great find! A good reminder for everyone to check everything, everywhere!

  4. Time for that marriage data to be found, that is why you chose that particular book in those fleeting moments of a research day. Congrats and ENJOY the thrill of the find.

  5. I'm so happy something led you to that book! What a wonderful find!

  6. I think all of us know that feeling when we strike "genealogy gold", especially when we didn't expect to. Congratulations!

  7. I enjoyed reading this blog post so much. Perhaps soon I will be ready to ask for help on my Hollingsworth ancestors in Maryland. I have to admit that some of their records on are confusing with similar names of towns and counties. I am just not sure where I am with everything. Good work and reporting, Deb!

  8. Thanks everyone for your kind words! I still can't believe this even happened. We were moments from walking out the door and I just reached out for this volume.

    Nothing like genealogy serendipity!