Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting the most out of FamilySearch–The Search menu (Records)

All screenshots taken from the FamilySearch website.

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 The Search menu has five options but we have already talked about the Wiki so we will skip that one.  The other four options I will do over four days.

Records is the bread and butter of FamilySearch.  When you click on the Search button you will be brought to the search page BUT I don’t do any searches from this page.  Why?  Because this search is too broad.  It searches everything that FamilySearch has online.  I prefer to narrow it down to a specific records set.  Sure, this will mean more work in that I will have to do more individual searches but for me it is a lot less frustrating because I don’t have to weed through nearly as many false leads.  To get to the individual record sets click the Browse All Published Collections link or click on the interactive map just above the link.

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You will see the the record sets divided up my location, date,  and type of records.  I like to go to United States and then to the state I am working with to see what all FamilySearch has.  There are three different types of record sets and Georgia happens to have all three so I will use them as an example. 

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The first entry (labeled 1) has a camera to the left and the words, “Browse Images.”  This record set is not indexed.  You will have to go through the pages one at a time.   These images are usually broken down into smaller sets once you click on the link.  Sometimes they are divided up by county or by year.  They can be even further subdivided so it isn’t quite as daunting as you might thing.  Another hint, if you are looking at records that are normally in bound books such as deeds, look at the first images because most of these books have handwritten indexes in them which will save you a ton of time.

The second entry (labeled 2) does not have a camera to the left and there is number in the column to the right.  This is an index only.  There are no images in this database.  You would use this as a finding aid so that you can track down the image in another way.

The third entry (labeled 3) is the best of both worlds.  There is a camera to the left indicating that there are images and there is a number to the right indicating that these images are indexed.  If you find your person of interest in the index there will be a link to click to get to the image.

One really nice thing about all of these databases is that FamilySearch will give you a nice source citation to go along with your index entry and/or your image. 

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On this screenshot you can see the link to view the actual document on the right and the nicely formatted source citation at the bottom of the screen.  One other thing I would like to point out.  Right below William Ashley’s name you will see the Attach To Family Tree.  If you have your family on Family Tree this is an easy way to add documents right to the individual.  If you don’t want to add this document to William right now but you want to hang on to it for later, you can send it to the Source Box.  All of this will come into play once we get to the Family Tree portion of the website.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

1 comment:

  1. Great advice. I will be referring my 'beginners' to this page when I'm teaching. Thanks!