"A question about how to search on FindmyPast.com for baptismal records without knowing the child's name. (For those who don't know findmypast is giving free access to records from Sept 7-10.) I am interested in finding all the siblings of someone born in Wakefield, Yorkshire around 1820. Because I do not know the names of all the siblings I cannot search using their own names. If I search on the names of one of the parents, however, I don't seem to find baptismal records for their children. Is there a way to search for the parents and get their kids' baptismal or birth records? Thank you!"The first challenge was to get a little more information so that I could better help out and to create a usable search. With a bit of prompting this is what was next posted:
"...the father is George Armitage. Mother is listed as Mary Rayner (both in first name field) Armitage. Her full maiden name was Mary Rayner Haigh. Two known children are John Armitage born 25 Oct 1819, baptized 4 Sep 1820 at Wakefield, All Saints. Their other known child is Henrietta Armitage, born 13 Apr 1813, also baptized 04 Sept 1820. There was also a daughter, Jane baptized the same day as the other two, according to the West Yorkshire, Church of England records on ancestry, but I am most interested in finding out whether George and Mary Rayner had other children. George and Mary Rayner were married in Leeds but known children were baptized in Wakefield."So what do we know now?
- George Armitage is the father
- Mary Rayner Haigh is the mother
- George Armitage and Mary Rayner Haigh were marred in Leeds, Yorkshire, England
- Two children were born between 1813 (Henrietta) and 1819 (John)
- Those two children plus another daughter were baptized in 1920 at All Saints Church in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England
Here is the starting page I typically get once I am logged into Findmypast.com:
|Findmypast.com starting page|
We could start at the Findmypast starting page by filling in the boxes in the 'Search our records" section but I'm going to take a different tack by clicking on the "Search" tab on the top banner and selecting "Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)". This brings me to this page:
|Findmypast,com Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers) search page|
Also, since the records are all probably in the years before civil registration took place in England and Wales, I'm going to click on the "Parish Baptisms" text within the "Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)" section on the left side of the screen.
As you can see, there are a few more really useful additional search boxes we can fill in. Each of those specific collections within the "Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)" have unique search boxes so if you know what type of record you want to look for, select that collection.
Now to fill in the blanks in the search form. As you do so, the floating "Search Parish Baptism" button at the bottom of the screen will change to show how many records match your search criteria. I will put in square brackets the number that appeared on my screen to show the effect of the filters I am using.
- For the "Last name" type in Armitage. [34,388]
- Check the "Name variants" box under the Last name since we don't know how the parish clerk or vicar might have written the name. [47,637]
- For the "Year of Birth" type in 1820 and change the "Give or take" to -+ 10yrs [7,844]
- For "Where", for the list of counties, just start typing "Yorkshire" and select that county from the drop down list that appeared. [4,203]
- For the "Locations" type in Wakefield. 
- For the "Mother's first name(s)" type in Mary and leave the "Name variants" box checked. I could add her second first name but the person recording the details in the record book will only put in the first forename .
- Leave the "Mother's last name" box empty since often the last name isn't recorded. 
- For the "Father's first name(s)" type in George and leave the "Name variants" box checked. this will catch any "Geo" or other variations including just initials. 
- Leave the "Father's last name" box empty since we have already put that in our search form above. 
|Partial search results from Findmypast for the Armitage Parish Baptism query|
Here is a snippet of the results from the search. You will notice a few duplicates. That is due to the information being duplicated in the collections from the various original searches.
Also, these are only transcriptions as can be seen by the piece of paper icon. If there were images then there would be a camera icon.
If you look at one of those records and scroll down the page you will see some text stating:
Index (c) IRI. Used by permission of FamilySearch Intl.
So we know that this is an index and it is under copyright by IRI. Just who is IRI and can we find what this index was created from? Well, IRI is the "Intellectual Reserve, Inc." and it was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints1. This means, at least for my purposes, that I should probably go to FamilySearch to see if I can find the images, or at least the microfilms, so that I can view the scanned in original documents.
Let us pop over to FamilySearch to see if we can replicate the search.
First we need to sign in to FamilySearch. If you don't have an account at FamilySearch it is easy to do so and it is free.
Once I signed in I hovered my mouse over the "Search" text at the top menu and click on "Records" to bring up the search page. Below is my reconstruction of the search I used on Findmypast.
|FamilySearch search screen for Armitage|
There are many more records return, 36,353 results to be exact, but that is because I didn't do any filtering of the collections. Like in the Findmypast search we there are duplicates, but that is to be expected since it appears that Findmypast used these records for their index.
|FamilySearch search results for Armitage query|
|FamilySearch Armitage search results details for Edward Haigh Armitage|
|FamilySearch Catalog search results for microfilm 990773|
You can see that there is a key symbol above the camera icon. This indicates that we will need to visit a Family History Center to view digitized copies of the microfilm scans of the original documents. Also, since we are interested in the christening/baptisms from 1810 to 1830 we will need to look at the digitized microfilms 990773, 990774, and 990775 to find all the family members.
Could we improve our search in Findmypast and FamilySearch? I think so. If we know the date of the marriage for George and Mary Rayner Armitage I would be tempted to set the starting year as 2 years before that time (just in case the first child was out of wedlock) and 25 years after the marriage. Sometimes the census can help us with a "cut-off" date for the last known child to survive. but even then I would add an additional 5 years to find those "lost" children.
1. See the Wikipedia article Intellectual Reserve for details of why you will find "(c) IRI" on the indexes from FamilySearch that are used on genealogy research sites.