I would like to begin this post by saying I love the work that is being done by the Arquivo Regional da Madeira.  They have been extracting information from their records and compiling a database.  It makes doing research very simple.  Thanks for this vital work.

But, this post could also be titled “why primary sources are so important.”  I have been reviewing some copies of these original documents that were filmed and part of the Family History Library microfilm collection of the LDS Church.  I looked at the marriage record that I have for Paulo da Silva to his wife Júlia Coelho dos Santos.  I was double checking the dates I have in my database, and I took a look at the little note in the margin.  Here’s a scan of the margin:

Paulo da Silva and Julia Coelho Marriage Record Margin

It is a little note that says that he was born on the 18th of February 1835, married a second time 28 June or July (my Portuguese is poor) 1868 and died 26 July (I think) 1910.  That sure is nice to get all that information from one record.  Then I realize, sadly for the first time, that it says he was married a second time in 1868.  I would have never known that if I didn’t look at the primary source document!

So what did I do next?  Well I hopped over to the Arquivo Regional da Maderia website and search the marriage record with “Paulo%da Silva%” as the husband and 1868 as the year.  Sure enough the database says Paulo da Silva married Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos in the parish of Porto Santo in 1868 (according to book 6302 page 7).  See I love their work.

Now armed with this information I hit the baptism records.  I search again for “Paulo%da Silva%” and “Maria%de Vasconcelos%” (I use the % wildcard when I search these databases) and find the following children

Child Father Mother Parish Date Book Page Link
Manuel Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 07-01-1872 6272 2 VIEW
Agostinho Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 11-02-1877 6277 5 VIEW
Maria Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 26-01-1879 6279 3 v.º VIEW
Helena Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 05-06-1881 6281 18 VIEW
Evangelina Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 08-08-1885 6285 26 v.º VIEW
Leonilde Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 13-04-1891 6291 13 VIEW
Manuel Paulo da Silva Maria Antónia de Vasconcelos Porto Santo 20-02-1888 6288 10 VIEW

So I now have a second family group!  The thing that I love to do is use both sources together.  Do searches using the ARM databases (since their archivists are more skilled at reading these documents than me) and use it like an index to find records when I order a film to from the FHL.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  It also leaves me with a question on when Julia Coelho died.  This was a great find!