If a basic search on FamilySearch.org is the only approach you use to find your ancestors, you might be missing out on a lot of potential discoveries. The records you can find by performing basic searches represent only a small portion of what’s available on FamilySearch.
In fact, 77 percent of the free historical records on FamilySearch.org can’t be found by searching. That’s a lot of information about your family just waiting to be discovered! In order to tap into these hard-to-find records, you’ll need to know how to use resources like unindexed image collections and the FamilySearch catalog, as well as some more advanced search features.This is not new news. Most of us who are extensively involved with FamilySearch.org know that, in many cases, page by page searching of the records is absolutely necessary. In fact, it may be necessary even if we find what we are looking for by using the FamilySearch.org Search Engine or function. This is not a particularly appealing prospect to beginning researchers and so is not talked about much by those promoting the large online genealogy database websites such as FamilySearch.
In addition, the hundreds of thousands of records on FamilySearch.org that are only listed in the Catalog are also unavailable to online searches and must be viewed and searched one record at a time.
Slogging through the records is just a fact of life for experienced genealogists and historians. However, there are a lot of other techniques that may help minimize the need to look at every single record every time. Here is a video from Robert Kehrer, Senior Product Manager for FamilySearch's search and hinting technologies that explains more.
Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch