Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Features in Searching the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

The core resource on are the vast Historical Record Collections. Presently the records contain over 3.5 billion individual's records and the number is increasing by over 69 million records every month. Over 35 million of the records added each month come from digital copies made from the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm stored in the Granite Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The rest, over 34 million each month, are provided by a team of record acquisition missionaries making digital copies of original records around the world. See FamilySearch News and Press.

One of the most valuable new features added to the Historical Record Collections is the automatic record hints feature on the Family Tree program. FamilySearch reviews the individual entries on the Family Tree and suggests appropriate historic source records that may be of value in adding useful information. In some cases, the records suggested may contain the names of ancestors who are not recorded in the Family Tree. The information from the suggested sources may also be valuable in correcting the existing entries. Since their introduction, these record hints have been increasing in both their scope and accuracy.

Another valuable new feature is the ability to use an interactive map to search by a location. Here is a screenshot of the search map:

When you hover your mouse over the various areas on the map, that particular area is highlighted. When you click on the highlighted area, a popup menu appears and allows you to select a country in that area. Here is a screenshot of the popup menu.

When you choose a country, first you get a summary of the records available and then you get again to get a page of links and suggested search options for that country:

Here is the country page for France:

You can then follow the links to find records about your ancestors or learn about other records that may be available.

The search fields and options for the Historical Record Collections has also been enhanced. Here is a screenshot showing all of the options, including the new ones:

The new features include the ability to search with multiple entries and use the field to filter or restrict the results. For example, if you want marriage records only for Apache County, Arizona, you could enter that search by selecting marriage in the life events category and then entering the county in the restrict by place field that appears. You would then get a list of all the marriage records in the collections for Apache County. You could then further filter the results by the following:
There are a huge number of different combinations of searches that can be made.

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