Do you get stuck because you always do global searches on FamilySearch? A better way is to search in specific collections. Below we show you how to see what collections are available for a specific geographic area, such as a state.
As a bonus do you ever browse the images that FamilySearch provides for you online, or do you always just search indexes? I have found tons of relevant documents by browsing the collections that just have images and no index.
Never fear - there is a way to find out how to do all of this - and it is easy peasy.
Check out this one minute video to find out how - yes one minute! You have a minute to spare don't you? You don't? Then take more than a minute and read through the descriptive tutorial below. Your choice!
Here are the steps to find state-based collections as well as "browse-only" collections":
Step 1 - Log in to FamilySearch and bring up the search page. Scroll to the bottom and you should see this:
Step 2 - As an example - click on "United States" and you will be provided with all of the United States collections, presented in "state alphabetical order"
Step 3 - Select a state. As an example - click on "California" and you will be presented with all of the California collections.
If the collection has been indexed (indicated by a number in the "Records" column) then click on the title and you can search it. If the item states "Browse Images", then no search can be performed but you can indeed browse through the images. Many of the collections' images have also been subdivided somewhat.
That's all there is to it. You can see what collections by state are available for searching or browsing. You can also keep track of when the collections have received updates.
Good luck and happy hunting!
So you've been searching newspapers for your ancestors? And you can't seem to find them? Have you ever considered that because of the poor quality of the original newsprint and the newspapers age that the results from the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process likely suffers?
There is hope, though. Certain letters often can be confused with other letters!
Here are some easy solutions and things for you to try:
If there is an "h" in your search term, try exchanging a "b", since b's and h's are quite similar and can "confuse" the OCR process. As an example, searching the California Digital Newspaper Collection for one of my surnames - "Braunhart" yields 1,507 results. Replacing the "h" with a "b", hence searching for "Braunbart" yields 96 results - for the SAME person. That is another 6%!
For a similar reason as "h" and "b" are confused - the same holds true of "c" and "e". Likewise, lower case m's and n's are often confused. The m's are often converted to several combinations of letters. Also r's and n's can be confused.
Try these out - I guarantee you will have an increased chance of success.
Last week I published the 1st Annual Genealogy Poll (Tongue in Cheek Version).
Below are the results from the non-silly questions. I found these answers to be quite revealing.
So let's see what this incredibly scientific poll revealed to us, shall we?
I had heard "genealogy" pronounced different ways and was curious how others pronounced it. It is obvious that the "long e" wins this time.
I was also curious as to how many folks had participated in a genealogy related Twitter chat, which I have on a number of occasions. I was surprised that there were plenty who had not participated.
This question about citing sources could have been worded more seriously if I wanted to ascertain what folks really do - but it is quite revealing. Perhaps there should have been a choice "I never heard of Evidence Explained." That would have been interesting to ask. And I like the fact that respondents were honest about trying to follow Evidence Explained and fessed up that they didn't quite follow everything there.
And lastly - it appears that most readers "got it" that this was supposed to be a funny poll, although there were still some who felt that it was a waste of time. Let's hope that they were being sarcastic.
Do you wonder how to find newspaper articles for your ancestors? There are a few online sources, but what if the newspapers of interest are not online? What do you do?
Say your ancestor lived in Kansas. What newspapers were published in Kansas? And where might you find them if they are not online?
Never fear - there is a way to find out where newspapers are held, either in archives, libraries or historical societies.
Check out this one minute video to find out how - yes one minute! You have a minute to spare don't you?
Good luck and happy hunting!