Kimberly Powell's blog at About.com is part of my daily reading. Recently she spotlighted FamilySearch's Record Search. I had registered for and used Record Search some months ago. I liked it then, but for some reason, I hadn't signed on in a while. So I was interested in Kimberly's perspective. Her post included a list of new collections at Record Search. One of these--records from the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois--particularly caught my eye.
Last summer, we took a research trip to Missouri, which included a side trip to southern Illinois. There, we explored the town of Prairie du Rocher and St Joseph's church there, looking for information on our Micheau family. We met the priest, who gave us a lot of history on the town. He also said that awhile ago, he had begun transcribing old church records, but lost them in a computer meltdown. He thereafter abandoned the project.
Well, it turns out that Prairie du Rocher is within the Diocese of Belleville and many of the St Joseph parish records are in the Record Search collection! The records are not indexed and seem to be in French (a few) and Latin (most of them). But within a very brief period last evening, I was able to locate, transcribe, and translate (the Latin mainly; the French, not so much!), a number of Micheau family records. This is a major research breakthrough!
Thanks, Kimberly, for pointing the way to a great find!