Transform Ancestor Searches with Little-Known Digital Records

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Most of us know how to enter a name in the search fields on FamilySearch.org and have experienced the excitement of seeing records appear and open for that ancestor. More than 5.39 billion searchable names in historical records on FamilySearch.org make that discovery experience a delight! Did you know that those 5.39 billion searchable names represent only 30 percent of the digitized records available to you on FamilySearch.org?

Here’s how to tap into the remaining 70 percent of the lesser-known or less-discovered records on FamilySearch.org. Use one of the two finding methods available on the main Search Historical Records page—Research by Location and Find a Collection.

Research by Location

On the Search Historical Records page:

  • Go to the map.
  • Click the area of the world that you are researching.
  • In the pop-up window, choose a location, typically a country, state, or province.
  • In the new page that opens, scroll to the Image Only Historical Records section, which is available for most countries and all states.
  • If you have the option, select an event or document type and date range.
  • Select the record collection that interests you.
  • Browse through the documents (much like viewing a microfilm roll).
  • Once you locate a record, click the blue Attach to Family Tree button.

Find a Collection

On the Search Historical Records page:

  • Below the map area, click Browse all published collections.
  • Scroll through the list to the record collection that interests you. You can use the filter tools in the left column filter the list according to place, date, or collection type.
  • If you have the option, select an event or document type and date range.
  • Select the record collection that interests you.
  • Browse through the documents (much like viewing a microfilm roll).
  • Once you locate a record, click the blue Attach to Family Tree button.

Any record in the FamilySearch Catalog that has a camera icon in the film notes also gives you the option to browse through documents and attach the record to Family Tree. Please note that because of restrictions imposed by the original owners of some collections, certain documents may be viewable only in a family history center.
Take some time this week to see if you can find anything new in these resources to help you find family names and prepare them for sacred temple ordinances. Teach someone else how to do the same. And keep checking back often because new collections are added or updated every month.

 

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