FamilySearch Historical Record Collections
FamilySearch Historical Records provides online access to indexes and digital images of records held by FamilySearch. The collections can be accessed at Historical Record Collections.
Searching the Collections
The FamilySearch Search page is divided into three sections:
- Search Historical Records
- Research By Location
- Find a Collection
Search Historical Records
This section will allow you to search all of the collections indexed on FamilySearch at once. You can specify life events, places, and relationships or film number to refine your search.
Research By Location
Selecting a country in this section will show online lessons you can take, links to indexed and image-only collections, indexing projects, and titles from the FamilySearch Catalog.
Find a Collection
This is where you will find a list of all collections available on FamilySearch. You can limit the collections displayed to a specific country, date range, or record type.
Some search fields have a checkbox next to them. Checking this box will limit search results to records that match this term exactly. You can also check the Match all terms exactly box next to the Search button if you want to apply an exact search on all terms. You will want to experiment with these different options to see how the results change. No Soundex search is available on any collection.
For more tips on searching on FamilySearch see the post on the Brit-Ish Heritage Forum blog, Eleven Powerful "Search" Features of the FamilySearch.org Search Engine.
Some of the older Historical Records collections were assembled for publication in April 2010. These were compiled from indexing projects completed by volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other organizations. These projects were not designed to index all available records for a given location. Therefore, they are incomplete. Since publication in 2010 only a few records may have been added. As no additional records will be added, or any corrections made to the data, these are considered to be "Legacy" collections.
Please be aware of the following:
- Data in the collection may have been subject to multiple post-indexing treatments which changed the originally indexed values or added data which was not indexed
- The indexing project may have had indexing instructions significantly different from those currently used in projects for the same locality
- As with all computer data files, some data may have become corrupted over time
- Multiple treatments may have been applied to the data with the result that some information may be incorrect.
Some of the records in these collections may have been included in the former International Genealogical Index (IGI). As these collections are an index compiled from various sources, it is strongly recommended that you verify any information you find with original records. Due to privacy laws not all records may be displayed.
The Collection Details page for each collection has a brief description about the records. The How to use this collection link takes the user to an article in the Research Wiki where you can find detailed information on the collection, suggestions on how to search the collection, and what to do with the information you discover.
Some collections also include a View Images in this Collection link. This will take you to a list of waypoints allowing you to browse to identify a specific set of images to view.
Some collections have been published without specifc waypoints and have been published with only a list of DGS numbers. These are sequential numbers which identify the order in which they were scanned or acquired. They have no other meaning. The wiki article for many of these collections with a DGS browse includes a list of each DGS number and a description of its contents. These lists are named Digital Folder Number Lists.
If you are using a collection with a DGS browse, check the FamilySearch Historical Records article for a Digital Folder Number List, or do a Film/Fiche Number search in the FamilySearch Catalog to find the catalog record where the film is described.
Locating the Latest Updates
Updated records are posted directly to the Historical Record Collections list as they are completed. To see the latest collection updates and publications, click on the Last Updated column heading. Content is updated weekly, so check back often to see if the newly added records can help you!
FamilySearch does not own copyright on any materials acquired from archives, libraries, or other institutions or repositories. Any further use of those materials is limited by contract.
FamilySearch invites everyone to volunteer in indexing records to improve record accessibility. Learn what projects are available at the Indexing Overview page.
For more information about FamilySearch and to learn about new Historical Records publications read the FamilySearch Blog.