Tuesday, July 8, 2014



As genealogists we all know that not every record we find will match “exactly” what we have or know about a particular person.  

We gather as much evidence as we can and compile a record of someone’s life. 
I’ve been searching for about 8-9 years now for the birth record of my paternal grandmother, Marie Lindsay, born 1888 and her sister, Ellen Lindsay, born 1887, both in Detroit, Michigan.  

I’ve found their two siblings, Bessie Lindsay, born 1892 and William Lindsay, born 1894 in Detroit, Michigan.

Since family search has the Michigan Births, 1867-1902, you would think the births would be there.  That’s where I located the birth records for their siblings, Bessie & William.

How many ways can you conduct a search?
  • All information filled in
  • Last name only
  • Last name with first initial
  • Last name with full first name
  • Last name with parents first names
  • Last name with only one parent’s first name
  • Last name with year of birth or range of years and state or country of birth
  • First name only with parent’s first names
  • First name only with year of birth and parent’s names
Well, you get the idea.  There are so many ways for us to search.  I had tried all of those listed and several more.

So, what was it today that allowed me to find, what I believe, are the records for my grandmother, Marie and her sister Ellen?

NOTE:  My grandmother, Marie, lived with us when I was in my late teens.  We had always lived close to her, so I spent a lot of time talking to her.  I know that she always told me she was given the name Mary at birth and later changed it to Marie because that wasn’t as common as the name Mary.

Today I decided to conduct a search on familysearch.org and really try to find this birth record.

I used just the first name “Mary” and the year 1888, plus Michigan as the place of birth.

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

FS Mary

I certainly thought I was going to get so many hits that I’d never find anything.  But here is what came up in the search, right on the first page:

FS Mary-2

This was exciting as that is her EXACT date of birth and her parent’s names are William & Bessie.  

But wait!!!  That last name is OLENDOSEY, not LINDSAY.  Yes, I know.

I looked at all 316 hits on this search.  The ONLY other Mary born on 8 October 1888 had parents named William & Alice who were born in Canada & Michigan.  So we know that’s not my grandmother, Marie.  

Let’s click on the image of the birth record and look at the actual entry in the birth record.

Page 1                                                                        Page 2
FS Mary_page 1        FS Mary_page 2

Page 1 – Birthdate of Oct. 8, 1888, female.  I see the name Mary and then I see Olendosey, which is exactly how the indexer transcribed it.  I compare another capital “L” on this page in an entry for Lillie Ficher and then for Hazel Lamb.  Certainly not the same.  Now let’s look at the next page of the record.

Page 2 –  Parent’s names are William Olendosey and Bessie Olendosey, both living in Detroit and both born in Scotland.  He is a Laborer.  The first names of the parents are correct and the birthplace and residence are a match.  My great grandfather did work as a Laborer and later as a Machinist.

CONCLUSION:  I have a social security application (SS-5) that gives my grandmother’s birthdate as Oct. 8, 1888 (signed by her), as well as her death certificate, California Death Index and the Social Security Death Index.  Plus, I know that’s the day we celebrated her birthday.  My great grandparents immigrated from Scotland to the United States between 1882 and 1886.  They married in Detroit, Michigan on 21 May 1886.  Having recently (just this past May) traveled to Scotland, I do know that the Scottish brogue of some people we spoke to was so thick that, even though they were speaking English, we were unable to understand what they were saying.  Is this what happened with this record?  Did they give their names when they filed the report and the person taking down the names, just misinterpreted them?  I honestly don’t know.  

However, other than the last name this record is a perfect match.  And coincidentally the last name on the record ends with “sey” which is another common ending to Lindsay.  I believe this is my grandmother’s birth record.  

Tell me what you would think?

A quick look at her sister, Ellen Lindsay’s birth record.

Page 1                                                                           Page 2
FS_Ellen_page 1     FS Mary_page 2

For this record I don’t have as many pieces of evidence as for my grandmother.  Her sister, Ellen Lindsay Pickard, died in 1927.  I don’t have the death certificate.  There is no Social Security Death Index record for her and no SS-5.  I do have a record from Michigan, but not image.  On this birth record, her father & mother’s names are correct as is their place of birth.  And, it lists his occupation as Laborer, which matches the birth record for her sister, Mary/Marie the following year.  I also know that Nellie and Ellen are names commonly used for each other, like Bessie and Elizabeth.

Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952Name: Ellen PickardEvent Type:Death
Event Date: 31 Mar 1927
Event Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Gender: Female
Age: 39
Marital Status: Married
Birth Date: 01 Apr 1887
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan

Birth Year (Estimated): 1888
Father's Name: Wm Lindsay

Mother's Name:    
GS Film number: 001972982
Digital Folder Number: 005362579
Image Number: 02341

I’m still going to be looking for other evidence of the birth of Mary/Marie & Ellen.  But, given the years of their birth, there probably won’t be other birth records available.  Maybe a baptismal record?  In the meantime, I will put these records with the other records I have that provide evidence of their birth.  This is just another piece of the puzzle.

What do you think?  What conclusion would you come to?  Have you found records like this?





Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. The first thing I'd do would be to research the so-called Olendosey family. A quick search at both Ancestry and FamilySearch for Olendosey in Detroit turns up NOTHING except that one birth record. In fact, I removed the place and just searched on Olendosey, and still, nothing but that one record. Find-A-Grave has no Olendosey whatsoever. I don't think it's a huge leap to conclude that there's no such surname as Olendosey. That being the case, I'd feel very confident about that birth record. Transcription error! I've found LOTS of errors in those Michigan birth returns. Remember the old game of Telephone? Those compiled Michigan records are kind of the same only with handwriting instead of whispers. The only thing worse than having them would be not having them. ;-)

    1. TK - Thank you for your input. That is pretty much the route I took as far as looking for that odd last name. In conclusion, though, the first name, date of birth, place of birth and parent's names & their places of birth all matched. I am convinced I have found her record. However, since there was no image, I would still like to see the actual record. This was indeed a game of "telephone."
      Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Actually TK, I misspoke. I do have the image to go with that record. I can see why a transcriber would mistake the last name as Olendosey, but I am still convinced this is my grandmother.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.