Two Images of a Grave Marriage– What Did You Do?

Given the clarity of the image, I’m lucky that I even located it on This marriage entry in the Saline County, Missouri, marriage register entries for 1884 (page 83) was located by searching the index at for couples with the last names of Graves and Willingham. The couple I was looking for was actually Thomas M. Graves and Sarah Ellen (Newman) Williamson Willingham.

To be frank, I don’t always look for additional digital images of records on multiple sites every time I locate a digital image. If the item is reasonably legible and I don’t have any difficulty reading it, I don’t see the need to locate additional copies of the same thing. Of course my citations to images indicate (among other things) the date of the download and the site from which the image was downloaded.

This image was different. It was difficult to read and this was a case where I was already a little confused by this couple and their records and reducing confusion was important.

Image from

The image on FamilySearch was much easier to use and read. I can read the names much better: John T. Graves of Clarence, Shelby County, Missouri, and Ellen Willingham of Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri. The initials of the minister who married them on 10 December 1884 is also more legible.



Image from FamilySearch

Now to analyze the information and confirm (as much as possible) that this is the actual couple for whom I am looking. I’m reasonably certain that it is–there can’t be that many Ellen Willinghams living in Moberly, Missouri–but there’s more work to be done and this item needs to be interpreted in light of other known information about the couple of interest.

But a sharper image helps me to sharpen my research conclusions.


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