FamilySearch Wiki:Success Stories

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Welcome to the FamilySearch Wiki Success Stories page! We hope you can find inspiration and insight as you use the Wiki to further your own research.

Have your own success story to share? Do one of the following:

Thank you for using the Research Wiki, and we wish you many successes in your research!

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Found Norwegian Great-Grandparents because of the Wiki

"I was 'messing' around tonight in the wiki and FOUND birth records and marriage records of my great-great-great grandparents in Norway and 4 of their children, including my great-great grandfather! I found the info by a simple search of Norway and following some of the page links they had! The records are all in Norwegian (which I cannot read---YET) but there is also a Norwegian to English guide...so I think that is going to lead me to the names of my great-great-great-great grandparents on two lines! The names are actually there I just need to learn the Norwegian genealogical words to know who is who! AMAZING stuff!" (This story was received from Monica in Colorado after I taught a webinar about using the Wiki, -Fran)


Native American and Canadian First Nations Research

I am a Research Support missionary.  I like doing Native American and Canadian First Nations emails.  Last September, I would sometimes spend hours looking for information to answer one of these.  The last two or three months, I have found that I can usually find Wiki pages that will supply all the information that the patron needs, especially with links to other websites.  I often answer these emails in minutes now and with better information.


Norwich Diocese Research Success

In February 2010 a collection of Parish registers from the Diocese of Norwich was published online as an image only collection. In all microfilm conversions to digital images there are difficulties in ensuring that all of the images for each parish are as they should be. 

The Norwich Diocese contains many parishes  with the same village or parish name and covers parishes in Suffolk Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire and even some parishes whose county has changed from the historic county to an administrative county.

Wiki is the means by which researchers can be made aware of any issue relating to the images and of the many existing transcriptions in the county of Norfolk. It has grown in content in order to provide those supporting the collection users with questions and users themselves. It is evident that many visitors to the collection are now using wiki pages help locate "missing" parishes. At present about 76% of parishes have images online; the remaining parishes are described and only those parishes with microfilm available can be published at present or in future. The exisiting content is designed to be functional but also forms a platform for local contributions to expand and enhance it. The wiki is open to all with an interest in these Diocesan records to contribute their knowledge to. 

Norfolk and Suffolk contain a large number of surviving Saxon and Norman round tower churches and as the images are added to each parish over time wiki begins to impart the history of small communities and their faith. It is to be hoped that the building of content is forming a foundation for future researchers to learn and be able to teach of this heritage from a popular part of England.


German Research Confidence

Sister Millie McCuen, FamilySearch Worldwide Support Research Missionary:  Yesterday I got a call from a woman who was looking to hire a professional to help her with Germany research.  She said she would rather do it herself but had no maps to follow and no documents to help her keep track of all the changes in Germany. I showed her the FamilySearch Wiki and went through the browse by countries list until we found the Germany portal. Then she found the Germany page and was really excited at all the information.  When she saw the map and I showed her how to click on it and make it bigger and how to use the historial guidelines she was thrilled. She decided with the help of the Wiki she would try and tackle her own family history research.  


Germany/Prussia Research Vocabulary Success

9/24/10 Sister Menzel, Arizona: While constructing an email for a patron who needed Germany/Prussia research help and specifically how to to read and translate old German Gothic script I suggested several things including the online classes in “German Kurrent“.

Also, in the FHL under “Research Help” I clicked on “Articles” and with a few clicks can download a 60 page booklet on Germany Research under “Resource Documents”. I also found a template for the German Gothic Script under Resource Guides.

I next suggested she go to the Wiki and enter “German Vocabulary” in the search box. This page (German Research on the Internet - an Overview -complete handout) is loaded with research helps, links, vocabulary, handwriting, and you name it. This is by far the BESTWiki page I’ve ever seen!


Finding the Utah Death Records

While teaching a class on the FamilySearch Research Wiki at the Family History Library, one class attendee mentioned that she wanted to learn how her grandfather died. I asked where her father died. He died in Utah. We searched under the search terms "Utah" and "death." The results page led us to an article containing a link to online vital records for Utah. We searched the online database for her grandfather's name, and within only a few minutes, had the answer to her question! He had died in an avalanche. She left the class now knowing where she could locate that record online, and was surprised to find the answer to her question so quickly!


Wiki to the rescue

Recently I was working at the research desk in the Family History Library. A patron came into the library in hopes of finding information about her American Indian ancestors. She wanted to find the records for the school that her ancestor attended. She asked, “I want to find the Carlisle Indian school records.”

My first reaction was a big, silent “gulp” because I have no experience in American Indian research. I had no idea where the Carlisle school was located so I asked her if she knew what state the school was in. She replied, “Pennsylvania.”

I knew that a lot of instructions for American Indian research had already been added to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, so I was hopeful that the article about Pennsylvania American Indian records would help me be successful in assisting this patron with her search.

From the home page on FamilySearch Research Wiki, I clicked on United States, then I selected Pennsylvania, and finally American Indians.

There are no words to describe how excited I was to see an explaination of the “Carlisle Indian Industrial School” right there on the first page. In addition, there was a link to the web site for the school that contained a complete history of the school. The patron and I reviewed all the information on the Wiki about the school and the availability of records for the school. Thanks to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, the patron left that day with the knowledge she needed to continue the search for her ancestors who attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. -Fran 19:12, 26 May 2009 (UTC), originally posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 4:12 pm on the FamilySearch Wiki project: FamilySearch Alpha - Blog.)


"Let's give it a test"

On Saturday I was working at the Family History Library. When I am working I try to introduce the Wiki to everyone who asks for research advise. This is especially true when the person is visiting from out-of-town.

On Saturday I helped one lady a couple of different times but the third time we talked I discovered that I hadn’t told her about FamilySearch Research Wiki. She was thrilled to learn about the Wiki and also about the Forums that are linked from the Wiki. After the introduction she said, “Ok, let’s give it a test.” Then she said that she wanted to find out how to use the ward maps with census records for Pennsylvania. I didn’t know if any information about using the ward maps with census research was in the Wiki, so we went looking.

First we looked at the pages for Pennsylvania Census records, but nothing was mentioned about using the ward maps. Next we looked at the page for Pennsylvania Maps. Right at the bottom of the page was an explanation for using the city ward maps when doing census research. The article also linked to the catalog entry for the maps that are available at the Family History Library on microfilm and microfiche!!! She was thrilled with what she learned about using the ward maps. Evidently she had been trying for a long time to find out if ward maps were available and how to use them. Within a few short minutes, the Wiki answered her question. She loved what she saw and was anxious to share the news with friends back home. -Fran 19:12, 26 May 2009 (UTC) (Originally posted on Monday, March 9th, 2009 at 9:14 am on the FamilySearch Labs project: FamilySearch Alpha - Blog.)