Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dear Randy: How Do You Search on Fold3.com? - Part 1

I received an email from a Genea-Musings reader recently who asked this question.  She indicated that doing a name search was really confusing and wondered if there was another way to search.

I wrote back saying that there are two ways to search on www.Fold3.com - 1)  using the search fields to enter a name, and (2) to browse for a collection and search within the collection or a specific database.  I will write two separate posts to answer the question.

1)  The Fold3.com home page (after signing into my subscription) looks like this:

The name search fields are at the top of the home page - there is a field for first name and a field for last name.  There is also a dropdown menu in order to narrow the search down to a specific war or to "Non-Military Records."  I put "isaac" and "seaver" into the name search fields and selected "All records."

2)  Here are the search results for Isaac Seaver:

There were 67 results for this search.  There are three columns for this search results page.

*  In the left column are the databases with search results - note that they are broken down into three categories - Civil War, Non-military Records, and "Pages and Member Uploads.  Any or all of them can be clicked to narrow the search results.

*  In the middle are some statistics about the search results - a Timeline showing how many records in each decade between 1776 and 1963; States in which the records were found; Military Service; Military Units; and Result Type.  Any of them can be clicked on to narrow the search results.

*  In the right column are individual search results.  Each match has a thumbnail image, the title of the database accessed, the names in the record, and information about the record.

3)  I clicked on the "Civil War" check box in the left-hand column and only the records for the Civil War collection were shown in the right-hand column.

4)  I wanted to see the first search result in the right-hand column, so I clicked on the link for "Civil War Service Records - Union - Massachusetts," and saw the "small" view of the record on the right-hand side of the page with the list of search results on the left-hand side of the page:

5)  I wanted to see the image, and download it, and see the source citation information, so I clicked on the red-orange "View Larger" button:

On the right-hand side of the screen above, I could zoom in and manipulate the image as necessary.  There is a "Breadcrumb trail below the fold3 menu line which shows how I got to this page - if I had browsed to this point, the "breadcrumb trail" tells me that I was in:

All Titles > Civil War Service Records > Union Records > Massachusetts > 4th Heavy Artillery Misc. > S > Seaver, Isaac (40) > Page 1

If I had used the "Browse all Records" method I would end up here after clicking each of those items.
Below the "Breadcrumb Trail" line is another menu with options to Annotate, Comment, Connect, Spotlight, Print, download, Share, Add to Gallery, or Add to Ancestry.

On the left-hand side of the screen above is the Image Information and Source Information for this record.  Note that the Source Information does not provide an actual source citation, but it does provide enough information about the record to craft a source citation using your favorite source citation creator.

On the left-hand side of the image field, there is a Zoom Bar, and icons to show the 2x magnifier, Fit to height, fit to width, Rotate, Adjust image, and go full screen.

There are large arrows on the left and right sides of the image field - clicking these take you to the previous or next image on the digital filmstrip.  At the bottom of the screen, the user can run their mouse over the "Open Filmstrip" link and see the digital filmstrip with the current image highlighted.  The left and right arrows on the Filmstrip can be used to navigate forward or backward more quickly than one image at a time.

6)  My source citation - you want to see my source citation for this record?  I used the "Military Records, Images" source template in RootsMagic 7 to craft:

The National Archives (NARA), "Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Massachusetts," digital image, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 11 August 2015), 4th Heavy Artillery, Misc., S Surnames, Isaac Seaver entry, 1864; citing original records in National Archives Catalog ID 300398, Record Group 94.

7)  Using the name search fields was pretty easy for this name - there were only 67 total matches, and only 28 in the Civil War category.  There may be names that provide hundreds or thousands of matches, and that's where the narrowing down by War can be very helpful.  Navigating to and manipulating the database images is very user friendly and intuitive.

I will use the same record to work through how to Browse the databases on Fold3 in a separate post.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/08/dear-randy-how-do-you-search-on.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Michigan Girl said...

Ok. So far this confirms that I've been conducting my name searches correctly. Good to know. Thanks!