How do I find an image in an unindexed collection in Historical Records?

On the list of all published historical records collections, some collections are identified as "Browse Images" or "Image-Only." These collections have not yet been indexed. The images, however, are available for you to view.

The images are in groups to make it easier to search. The groupings are called browse points or waypoints. You can browse through these images to see if the collection contains the record that you want.

Steps (website)

  1. While signed in to FamilySearch.org, click Search.
  2. A drop down list appears, click Records
  3. Click Browse all published collections (below the Find a Collection search box).
  4. Find a collection that says "Browse Images" in the Records column and click Browse Images.
  5. The next screen shows a first-level grouping of the records. Click a link to continue. Collections can have multiple groupings to navigate before you select an image. 
  6. After the last browse point, use the tools below to continue your search:
  • To move image by image through the collection, in the upper left portion of the image screen, use the arrows.
  • In the box between the arrows, enter a number to jump to a specific image number.
  • To change between smaller images (thumbnails) and full images, on the far left of the image, click the icon directly below the minus sign
  • To make an image larger, in the thumbnail view, double-click the image.

Steps (mobile app)

Note: When using the mobile app, the list of collections does not identify the collections that are Browse Images collections. You find out when you tap to open a collection and see no search boxes. Your only option is to "Browse through [number] images".

  1. Open the FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app. 
  2. Open the menu. 
    • Apple iOS: Tap More in the bottom right corner of the screen. 
    • Android: Tap the three bars in the top left corner of the screen. 
  3. Tap Search Historical Records
  4. Tap Browse all published collections.
  5. Tap an individual collection. If the collection is not searchable, tap the Browse option to begin browsing images. 

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

Browsing images is not available in Family Tree Lite. 

Tips for finding a specific image

  • Look at the first few images to see if the microfilm has an index. If not, try moving to the end of the film to check for an index. 
  • If the film has multiple items, use the thumbnail view to look for the leading image for each item. 
  • Some films consist of images of books (such as marriage registers). From the thumbnail view, you can usually see when a new book begins. Using the book titles can help you find the portion of the film that should have the record you need.
  • Look at a few images to see their order. For instance, they could be in alphabetical order by name. Or they could be in chronological order.
  • From what you find in an index or learn from the order of the images, make your best guess as to where to find the image you want. Here is an example:
    • The digitized film has marriage records. The 1,874 images are chronological and cover from 1840–1898. 
    • Your ancestor married in 1870. That is about half way between 1840 and 1898. 
    • Try moving to image 937. How close are you to the date you need?
    • Keep moving forward or back in chunks until you get close to the date. Then use the arrows to go image by image until you find the specific record of interest.

Related articles

Why are some catalog films unindexed?
Can I use an unindexed image as a source in Family Tree?

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