Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Treasures at FamilySearch Record Search

Treasures at FamilySearch Record Search
From Kimberly Powell, Kimberly's Genealogy Blog

It's been nine months since FamilySearch Labs launched the Record Search pilot, and the site continues to grow at an amazing rate. It's a treasure for all genealogists, with plenty of free family history records for those concerned about the budget, and excellent image quality and indexes for researchers looking for alternative access options.

Indexed records at FamilySearch Labs include the 1850, 1880 and 1900 U.S. Census, plus the mortality schedule and slave schedule for 1850. Other indexed census records include the 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts State Census, and the 1895 Argentina Census. You can also search Freedman Bank Records, New York Passenger Arrival Lists, and deaths from Ontario, Ohio, Georgia, Utah, Texas and West Virginia. There are also a number of local records, such as Cecil County, Maryland Probate Estate Files and christening records from Cheshire, England. Most of these transcriptions are also accompanied by digital copies of the original microfilmed record. Some, such as the 1850 U.S. Census, are only partially indexed.

Additional records that are available in image form, but have not yet been indexed, include:

1930 Mexico Census
1905 Wisconsin Census
Vermont Land Records
Parish Registers from Brandenburg and Posen, Germany
Church Books from the Czech Republic
Bishops' Transcripts from Durham, England
Colbert Funeral Home Records, Fluvanna County, Virginia
Coutances Catholic Diocese Records from France
Catholic Parish Records, Diocese of Belleville, Illinois

That's a nice selection of records, don't you agree? And you sure can't beat the fact that FamilySearch also offers them for free.

Aside from the free access, FamilySearch Labs is often one of my first research stops because I'm in love with their indexes. Although index search doesn't offer as many options as at Ancestry.com, I can often find people more easily because the names are more often indexed correctly. FamilySearch Record Search indexes are especially accurate (although not perfect, of course), because information from every record is extracted by two different people. The two extractions are then compared for accuracy. If they do not agree 100% then an arbitrator compares both extractions against the original record and makes any necessary changes.

If you haven't yet checked out FamilySearch Labs , you can register online. Most registrations are processed almost immediately so you can start searching quickly. Click on Record Search from the main page at FamilySearch Labs. If you like what you see (or even if you don't), be sure to use Feedback to let them know!

Monday March 24, 2008 |

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