Familysearch is one of my favourite websites – there are so much there to help us with our Family History. I could talk about the great tools for hours! So don’t ask!
Like all good family history web sites the only constant is change as new data sets and features are added. How do you keep up with the ever changing FamilySearch.org?
- Historical Records is almost constantly being updated – there are (as of 24 Sep) 2142 collections – many of these collections include images. How do you find our what is new? Go to familysearch.org – click on the menu Search and select Records. Then in the lower right quarter of the screen click on Browse All Published Collections under the heading Find a Collection. This will give you a list of all collections in alphabetical order. Now click on the column heading Last Updated which sorts the list by date with the newest collections at the beginning of the list. Eleven collections were added or updated between Sept 16 and Sept 23. A camera at the left indicates that there are images with the collection. I always find some interesting new collections when I do this. New York State Census 1905 with over 7.5 million records. US World War 1 Draft Registrations cards, a collection of 24.8 million with images looks interesting. Wow I didn’t know about the 1911 Denmark Census- 2.7 million records again with images. Because of my research interests I also like to browse the collection by place so I click on the link to the United Kingdom and Ireland – 126 collections – and then click on Last Updated to see which are the newest collections for the United Kingdom. 1.1 million records from Warwickshire Parish Records have recently been added.
- The collection of Genealogies has been updated. At familysearch.org click on the menu Search and select genealogies. This is where you find the very well researched and sourced collection of Community Trees. Although the project has ended it has left a legacy of information – go to this article at the familysearch wiki to see the scope of the projects https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Community_Trees_Project . The Knowles Collection of Jewish Families is very impressive. Here are two interesting relatively new collections:
- Guild of One-Name Studies – what is it? “The Guild of One-Name Studies is a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting the public understanding of one-name (surname) studies and the preservation and accessibility of the resultant information.” For more information see the wiki article at https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Guild_of_One-Name_Studies .
- Oral Genealogies – for Africa and the Pacific regions – it is great to see this work being gathered and made available.
Don’t just go the Genealogies area and do a broad search. Select the collection you want to search. How do you do that? On the Search Genealogies screen, immediately under all the boxes where you put in information there is a blue Search button and immediately to the right is the word All which when you click on it turns into a drop down menu so you can select the collection you want to search. Give it a try! Search the Guild of One Name Studies. Try the Community Trees.
Remember: give a computer as little information as possible to conduct a search – just enough to get good results – you can always add information (Refine Your Search and then Update on the left side of the results screen).
Also remember that Pedigree Resource File is a collection of genealogies contributed by users – has some helpful information but often lacks sources – but many people also re-submitted names that were already submitted to the Ancestral File which has no sources so I select if I want to search the Pedigree Resource File or the Ancestral File and don’t do both.