FamilySearch Tips: Getting It All

FamilySearch is the largest and best free genealogy website around, so you want to get everything you can from it. Let’s review:

The best way to search FamilySearch website is go to the first search box you see, type in your ancestor’s name and place of birth, and press “Search.” You’ll get thousands if not millions of results and find everything there is to find, right?

Not so fast! First, remember what you learned from the last post and sign in. This will potentially give you access to more records than an “anonymous” search.

Next, search geographically when at all possible, using “Research by Location.” Now you’re getting somewhere. Click on your area of research on the world map, starting with the continent and drilling down to country or state. You will see a box that shows how many collections, indexed records, and record images they have, as well as the years covered in all the collections.

When you click on “Start researching…” you will have two options: to search the indexed records or browse the image only records. You will want to do both. There is no crossover between these two types of records.

When you search the indexed records you may find images or just an abstract of the information. Make sure you track down the original image of the abstracted record to obtain every scrap of information you can get.

When you browse the images only, don’t be put off by the number of records to browse. The records are often divided into a manageable number of images to look through. Take your time and be grateful you can do this on your computer rather than a microfilm reader. (We’ll tackle that step next time!)

Happy researching!

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