FamilySearch is more than an online database of records. You can find information on almost anything to do with genealogy. When you arrive on the FamilySearch home page you are greeted with a search form and along the right side of the page are links that might be of interest. At the time of writing this post these included the 1940 US Federal Census and Black History Month. You will find a link to “Go to the previous site” which takes you back to the old FamilySearch website. At the top of the items on the right hand side of the website is What’s New? This takes you to the FamilySearch blog.
Across the top of the home page of FamilySearch are three tabs: Records, Trees, Catalog and Books. When you click on Records you stay on the home page. Trees take you to the page to contribute your family tree to the FamilySearch community. Catalog takes you to the Family History Library Catalog. This takes you to the new version of the catalog which is still in beta and they provide a link to the old version of the catalog.
The final tab is Books which takes you to Family History Books a digitized collection of books that relate to family histories, local histories, how-to books, magazines, periodicals, medieval books and gazetteers. The books come from the genealogical collections of seven different libraries. The site is still in beta.
You might think this was all you could find at FamilySearch but higher still on the home page are a few more tabs. If you click on Learn it will take you to a wonderful world of information. Here you will find links to the Wiki, Research Courses and Discussion Forums.
When you click on Research Courses you are taken to the Learning Centre. Here you will find videos of varying lengths that provide a look at the records and what you will find in them. The levels go from beginner to advanced and you can find something for 21 different countries or areas such as Latin America. The formats are audio, interactive slides, video and slides, and video. Some of the lessons are offered in thirteen different languages. If you have 6 or 60 minutes you will find something here to help you with your research. I have looked at the courses in a previous post.
The last item under Learn is Discussion Forums. Here you can ask questions about your research, records, locations or anything else related to your genealogy. If you need help with the FamilySearch websites this is the place to go to ask your questions. You need to sign up for an account but that is an easy process.
Not sure where the local Family History Centre is in your area? Then you can search their database to find the one nearest you.
Want to help by indexing some of the records? You can find out more at Worldwide Indexing. They have a two minute test drive to show you how easy it is to index the records.
If you go to the very bottom of the FamilySearch homepage and under the title General you will find a link to Labs. Here you will find a showcase of technologies that the FamilySearch team are working on but are not ready to put into “prime time” as they say. They list current projects and past projects.
Another useful find under Current Projects is TechTips. This is a wonderful resource for tips to help you with the quickly changing and evolving technology. It is worth having it on your RSS feed.
Standard Finder “provides access to standardized information for names, locations and dates.” FamilySearch is beginning the process of standardizing all these items in their databases and across their website.
They have a new current project called Fresh to help those who have never done family history research. More information is expected in the next few days.
If you thought FamilySearch was used only to search databases think again. Why not go in this weekend and have some fun? You never know what you might learn.
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