Thursday, March 11, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 10 - Family Search Pilot

This week's 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy topic written by Amy Coffin is:

Investigate Family Search Pilot, which is part of FamilySearch.org. This is a wonderful collection of records which literally grows every day. In the middle left of the page is a link that says “Browse our record collections.” Click it and pick a region. Search collections outside your research interest. Investigate the types of records collected all over the world and see how they differ from those with which you are familiar. If you are a genealogy blogger, pick a type of record from another country and share your observations about it.

I love Family Search Pilot. I have used it many times in the past and broken down some brick walls with it. I regularly check it to see what new images have been posted.

Some of the collections that have interested me include:
  • Norfolk Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1900. I was able to find lots of my ancestors here, but it does not include all parishes and there is no index. But the images are the best part anyway.
  • Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959. Unfortunately this is only an index, but the entries include the FHL microfilm number so you can easily order the film that you need and find the original document. This project is still in progress and does not include all counties. I can't wait for Dearborn and Switzerland counties to be added.
  • Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953. I can't tell you how many death certificates I have found here. I just wish that they could add 5 more years. I need 1958 for my great grandmother.
Other collections have helped me to find relatives of my ancestors as they traveled around the United States. I love being able to find these images for free online.

But I wish that there were more search capabilities on the website. Recently I have been trying to track down German church entries through the index only databases and have had trouble with the place names. The pilot site only allows you to search for places that they have added to their site. But there are many more and being able to narrow down my search would be very helpful. I hope as the site continues to grow and eventually comes out of beta that this issue will be resolved.

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