Thomas Honey NOT Johnny Honey

I recently made a very exciting discovery. One I would have blogged about then if our internet had not been messed about by the last lot of torrential rain to visit us on the Northern Rivers.

I had visited our local Family History Centre in Goonellabah, NSW a couple of years ago with my friend Tracy to see what they had there and how we could use their services. It was an interesting for both of us to discover what we could potentially use. It took me another couple of years to organise some films to view.

I had ordered 2 films from Family Search. Both, I hoped, would help me find out more about my husband’s ancestors in India. I arrived at the Family History Centre quite excited, nervousy anticipating what I might discover. (I wondered more than once if this was really weird…and decided no, genies are like that!)

The team at the Family History Centre at Goonellabah are extremely helpful and had me organised very quickly with a microfilm reader that could print to a USB. Love it! No extra work required as I can copy directly what I am seeing. A bonus is not paying for the printing charge, but I am more excited about having a digital image to keep and be able to manipulate if I want to.

I began looking at the films I had ordered and the first film, which was actually the second one I looked at, confirmed a birth I already had details of, that is, John Samuel Westcott DYSON. Good to have extra evidence, but not that exciting, tingling feeling you want to have looking at microfilm you have been waiting to arrive for weeks.

So, that was the second film. What was on the first film? Hopefully someone out there is still reading…

About two years ago we were in Adelaide visiting my husband’s family and whilst everyone was talking I did searches on Family Search to see if I could find out anything about the boys, (4 brothers), great grandfather Brian St Clair HONEY. I found a small number of records relating to him, suggesting dates and events that we already had recorded and believed we had evidence of, and then saw a marriage index record that stated that Brian’s father’s name was Johnny HONEY. This was a name that no one, at least in the immediate family, recognised – not because it didn’t necessarily make sense, moreso because that did not have any family history on this man. (Or his wife, but that will be a harder nut to crack).

So the second film I looked at that day included the marriage record of Brian St Clair HONEY to Violet Helena ROACH in Bombay India in 1910. This was the record that suggested Brian’s father’s name was Johnny HONEY. When I looked at the microfilm I wasn’t immediately convinced that the first name was in fact Johnny, and as I looked longer and closer to it, I became quite sure that the first name of the father was actually Thomas. What do you think?

Thomas HONEY

Thomas HONEY’s signature on the wedding register of Brian St Clair HONEY’s marriage.

I was very excited to make this discovery, although I knew I had research at home from other descendants of my husband’s who surmised that Brian’s father was actually called Thomas and not Johnny.

The most important discovery I made that day, however, was that you should always look at the primary source if possible, because transcriptions or interpretation errors can occur.

It is also much more interesting to look at the originals to see your ancestor’s handwriting and any other historical context that may be there.

A week later, I discovered an image of this register entry on FindMyPast. :) It had probably been there for quite a few months, but I think I got more of a thrill out of finding the record on microfilm than in a database.


5 thoughts on “Thomas Honey NOT Johnny Honey

  1. Sharing your excitement Tanya as only one with the geniebug can.

    When we can get access to images of original records we are often able to make new discoveries. great work.

  2. I so love a good off-line discovery, and you’re right Tanya that it’s way more exciting to find it for yourself. It could very well be Thomas though it would be good to see other letter formations on the page. The other thing with seeing the original record is that you tend to look at what’s around it, giving context and sometimes other discoveries, which rarely happens with digital searching.

  3. You’re right about looking at other letters on the same page and others in the same handwriting. I did compare other words and letters, and asked the three other lovely people at the Family History Centre their opinions as well. Luckily for me they were quite amused at how excited I was and were very happy to tell me what they thought – I imagine this is very common when you research ‘in the flesh’ though, is it? Another huge positive compared to sitting in isolation by yourself in front of a computer screen. :) I have also been listening recently to a couple of podcasts that stress it is a very good idea to take the time to look at the first few pages of a set of records as well as the pages surrounding the one containing the info you are looking for. Again giving you more context and helping you to understand more about the records you are using.

    Fun! I need to work out another set of records to order so I can try it all again!

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