I was tracing an Irish family who settled in Quebec having children in the 1830s and 1840s. I automatically utilized “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967” provided by Ancestry.com Using the Parent Search, only one Roman Catholic christening was found.
I pulled the microfilm here at the Family History Library for that parish and found a clear, hand-written index, organized by year. There I found three additional children. What was wrong with the indexing in the “Drouin Collection?”
Turns out the handwriting in the parish registers was so bad, no modern index could be accurate. I worked the two indexes from two directions. The first was I ignored the index on Ancestry. That worked well until I got to my last baptism dated 1843. I couldn’t find it on the microfilm. The manuscript index showed a page number, but there were no page numbers.
I went back to the “Drouin Collection” index on Ancestry.com and plugged in the name and year. The index caught it and I was able to look at the entry online. How did I miss it? I got the baptismal entry number from the online scan and then went back to the microfilm. It took some hunting but I found it. My conclusion was the registers were so bad I couldn’t catch the name in the margins off to the left side of the page.
The first lesson learned was to never assume any index is correct. The second was the online index helped me identify a parish. The third lesson was I still had to correlate information from the manuscript index on microfilm with the Ancestry index for the “Drouin Collection.”
I was satisfied that I had all the children. My advice is to always go that extra step to assure accuracy.