Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Use the Collections Search on FamilySearch

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to: Use the Search field on the Historical Collections page on FamilySearch to narrow your search to a specific state, country or record type.

The FamilySearch historical collections page (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/list) lists all of the digitized collections in alphabetical order.  It is a list of over 1,000 now.  It is a pain to scroll down to my state or country of interest, and I have no idea what I miss in the process.  Here is the top of the collections page:


There is a Search field in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.  A user can input a keyword (a state, a country, a subject) in this field and the list changes to reflect the field entry.  for instance, I typed "calif" into the Search field and the list of 15 databases for California appeared:


The search works with any number of letters.  Note that I entered a partial state name above.

When I entered "mex" into the Search field, the list of 54 databases with "Mexico" in the title appeared.

When I entered "probate" into the Search field, the 32 databases with "Probate" in the title appeared.

When I entered "1881" in the Search field, the 7 databases with "1881" in the title appeared.

Be careful, however, with your search terms, especially when you use more than one term in the search.  The search returns only exact matches for what is typed.  For example, entering "alabama death" returns two matches.  Entering "alabama, civil" returns 2 matches, but "alabama civil" returns no matches (because the comma was left out).  A search for "alabama " (with a space) returns only 6 matches, but "alabama" returns 12 matches.

Another example: while there are quite a few English parish register collections, entering the terms "england parish" returns only one database - for Jamaica!

There is a wealth of free historical record collections on the FamilySearch site - and it has become the biggest and best FREE genealogical record collection site on the Internet.  Use the Search field wisely to find records of interest to you.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/tuesdays-tip-use-collections-search-on.html

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012

1 comment:

Celia said...

I have found one has to be quite creative and persistent to use FamilySearch effectively and efficiently. Otherwise one wanders around for ages... knowing "it" is there, but where-oh-where? Thanks for your info on searching collections, Randy.