A Long Awaited Record Arrives

Image of 1881 Marriage Certificate for Jacob "Jake" Lemaster and Tabitha "Bitha" Caudil.

1881 Marriage Certificate for Jacob “Jake” Lemaster and Tabitha “Bitha” Caudil.

That moment when you finally, finally find a record you’ve been searching for after months of endless research and dead ends…. JUST HAD IT!

I opened my mailbox today and found an envelope from the KY Historical Society and held my breath.  A few months ago, I’d sent away for two death certificates from Kentucky that came back returned with no records found.  So opening this one, I was prepared to be disappointed but there it was, check marked as “Information Enclosed.”  I anxiously flipped through the pages and there it was – the marriage certificate for my second great grandparents, Jacob Lemaster & Tabitha Cordle of Johnson County, KY on Valentine’s Day in 1881.¹  I think I must have stared at it for over fifteen minutes straight with this silly grin on my face.  It validated so many things about them while simultaneously opening a few new puzzles to ponder as well.

This perfectly illustrates the point I made on my FAQ page that while there are so many free records online, there are still mountains of documents that haven’t been uploaded or transcribed yet. You can’t give up when you can’t find it online. You have to do the leg work, look up addresses to different organizations/libraries/repositories, fill out research request forms, make calls, send emails and in some cases, really think outside of the box of where you might possibly find some hidden family gems.  This is where a genealogist’s experience can benefit those struggling to build or expand upon their family tree or even break through those frustrating brick walls.


¹ “Jacob Lemaster and Bitha Caudial,” 14 February 1881, Johnson County, Kentucky; Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky.

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