familysearch.org

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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.

I have looked at the FamilySearch Wiki in a previous post so will not cover it again here but what I will say is if you have a question about research and records available I would search the Wiki.

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.

One of their current projects is a very useful item if you are doing English research. It is the England Jurisdictions 1851 map. I have looked at this resource in a previous post.

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.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The wiki is a useful tool for genealogists to have in their bookmarks tool box. What is a wiki? According to google.com a wiki is “a web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.”

The most well known wiki is Wikipedia. On this wiki you can find information about countries, provinces, states, counties, towns and villages. You can also find information about churches and other organizations to be found in the area you are researching. Many people have started a wiki page about their ancestors.

FamilySearch has a wiki which is a wealth of information. There were 66,570 articles at the time this post was written. If you are trying to learn more about things such as Methodist church records in Ireland there is a page that can help you. They provide links to websites that can provide more information. They also provide the steps to search the Family History Library catalogue to see what records are available.

There is a tutorial at FamilySearch to help you use the wiki and start your own wiki page. It is called Help: Tour. You can learn to contribute to the wiki, store information on the wiki and research your family history on the wiki.

Ancestry.com has a wiki that has four kinds of content: “The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy,” “Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources,” “Other great Ancestry.com content” and “Content added by you.” They have a list of pages that they would like to have added to the wiki and are asking for contributors to start these pages.

My Heritage has a wiki called My Ancestry Wiki which is based on the family tree. You either upload your own or join one that is already started. You can invite family members to go in and update and add new information.

The wiki’s that would be most useful to the researcher at the moment are the FamilySearch Wiki and Wikipedia. The other wiki’s are a work in progress and tend to be very specific in the areas of coverage.

Wiki’s are a great tool but you must use them carefully and double check all the information you find. Check the sources for the pages to see where the information originated.

If there is a subject you are very well versed in then consider creating your own page on a wiki.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Did you know that you can view online video courses for free at Family Search? You can find courses on researching records in Ireland, England, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Mexico, Russia and the United States.

There are a series of courses on Research Principles and Tools plus Reading Handwritten Records.

The Association of Professional Genealogists, Board for Certification of Genealogists and ICAPGen – The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists have lectures available on the site.

You click on download course and get a video. There is a course outline and/or handouts available in PDF form. You can offer feedback on the courses.

Some courses you click on the course title and go right into a video with a PowerPoint presentation running beside it. In these courses look below the video to see if there are any handouts or other information. You are also given information on the length of the presentation and references to sponsors.

These courses provide good information to help you with your research and assist you with methodology. The accreditation, certification, and professional presentations provide aids for professionals and those thinking of becoming professionals.

If you have half an hour, why not go in and take a quick course on Irish Immigration.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

The England Jurisdictions 1851 Map at Family Search is an invaluable tool for those doing research in England.

First you see a map with all the counties of England highlighted in colours. Click on your county of choice. I chose Cheshire. You then get a list of options such as: List all parishes in Cheshire, list all counties contiguous to Cheshire, search the Family History Library Catalog, search the FamilySearch Research Wiki and the option to remove selection.

If you click on list all parishes you get an alphabetical listing of the parishes in Cheshire. I decided to click Stalybridge, St. Paul, Cheshire. The map then hones in on Stalybridge and highlights the parish. There are three tabs: Info, Jurisdictions and Options.

Info tells me that it is an “Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cheshire, created in 1840 from Mottram in Longendale Ancient Parish” I also get the years when records began. The parish register [PR] began in 1839 and the bishops transcripts [BT] began in 1782. If you scroll down further you find a listing of the Non-Church of England denominations in Stalybridge.

Jurisdictions tells me the place, county, civil registration district, probate court along with dates and names of the courts, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred and province. This information will help with further research.

The Options tab provides five choices: list contiguous parishes, radius search, search the Family History Library Catalog, Search the FamilySearch Research Wiki and remove selection.

The radius search is another great tool. You can do a radius search of Stalybridge for ¼, ½, 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 miles. I chose a five mile radius. The map now provides a red circle with the highlighted parish of Stalybridge in the centre with a cross marking the centre of the circle. On the left hand side of the page is a list of parishes within a five mile radius of Stalybridge. It gives you the distance of these parishes from Stalybridge. If you click on the name of another parish the map will move to that parish and provide information relating to it.

If you click on the centre of the red circle you get more options: move radius, search here, add another radius search of – miles, remove radius search.

On the left hand side is a tab called layers and you can add extra layers to the map. You already have parish (Chapelry and Extra Parochial) and county but you can add civil registration district, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, province, division and ordnance survey. You can also decide to change the map to a Google Street Map or a Google Satellite map.

In the top right corner you have three options: zoom to selection, reset view and reset map. You can zoom into the map to get closer to the parish. This is really useful when you have Ordnance Survey map as the choice. It will only let you zoom in so far which means you can not get down to street level. To get to street level use the map navigation bars and zoom options on the left hand side of the map. The red background of the Ordnance Survey map does make it a little difficult to read the black lettering on the map. The purple highlight over the parish makes it even more difficult again to read the names and markings on the map.

You have the choice to link or print and save the map. There is a feedback option to help Family Search gather our comments on their products. The last option is a question mark for help.

When you click on search Family History Library Catalog it will show you if there are any records available in the library for that parish.

This is a great tool for any family historian researching in England. It provides information on available church records in England. I have family in Stalybridge but they are not always found in the records. This provides me with information on surrounding parishes and those parishes that are not Church of England but another denomination.

Why not go in and play with this map and see what new information you may be able to find about the area in England where your family originated.

You can now order your Family History Library films online and have them delivered to your Family History Centre of choice. This will make it much easier for a lot of people. You can also renew your films through this service.

The fee is more expensive than ordering it through my local Family History Centre. I would pay about $6.75 and they are charging $11.57. A consideration is the time and cost of gas for get me to the Centre to order a film. The drive one way is 40 minutes depending on traffic.

You can change the currency value before continuing with your order. It was $12.00 US and $11.57 CAD to order one film. You pay for your films with Mastercard or Visa.

Sign up today for free at:

https://film.familysearch.org/

©2010 – Blair Archival Research