User:Kennebec1/FamilySearch Record Search

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Introduction to FamilySearch Record Search Collections

The FamilySearch Record Search collections are a tremendous contribution to to online research. Some collections contain images of original documents, which can be saved or printed from a home computer. Others are compilations or indexes to previously microfilmed materials. The microfilmed originals for these collections can be obtained through the Family History Library and Family History Center system.

It is important to note, however, that because FamilySearch Record Search collections have a variety of origins, the quality of the data you may obtain from a collection can vary, depending on how "primary" the source material in the collection is. (See Help:XXX for a discussion on primary and secondary sources).

Each FamilySearch Record Search collection also has a link to a FamilySearch Wiki page for the collection, which reviews the material in the collection, its sources, and provides a suggested format for citations. These pages are generally useful, although because the FamilySearch Wiki is also fairly new, some collections do not yet have a thorough description on the Wiki.

This page introduces the various types of FamilySearch Record Search collections, and suggests how each type might be used as a source at WeRelate.

FamilySearch Record Search Image Collections

These are collections of documents/images created from the originals by FamilySearch. Some collections have been partially indexed, others have been fully indexed, and others are provided as images for browsing, but have no search capability. [Check the following] The images may have been digitized from the microfilm or may be digital scans of the historical records. Some image collections are of primary records (vital records certificates) {Add example}. Other image collection are images of indexes to documents, such as Prince Edward Island Baptism Card Index, 1721-1885.

It is also important to note that some image



  1. A collection that is an extraction from someone else's index or image collection. These collections may include links to images off-site, along with the index to the records. See England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8) (National Archives, England) or Civil War Pension Index Cards (Footnote provided the index and links to images, which are from the National Archive, US).
  2. A collection (actually index) created [by volunteers] from a microfilm or digital scans in the FamilySearch Library. The easiest type of collection is one where the index has been created from one microfilm source. This microfilm source could be original documents (like "Alabama Deaths)," or it could be an an index/compilation of records source. I haven't found any of the latter yet, but I haven't looked through all the collections!
    1. A collection (read index) created from multiple microfilmed sources in the FamilySearch Library. This is typically the case with many of the State-wide vital records collections, such as Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910. These indexes combine information from primary records (such as town records) with secondary records (such as the compilation of vital records for a locality published in book form, which may include family records, bible records, and other sources).

How to Cite FamilySearch Record Search Collections

How to Cite per FamilySearch Record Search. “A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections”.

The "Learn More" Link in each collection that links to the Wiki article about that collection.

A bit more useful is [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/How_to_Create_Source_Citations_For_FamilySearch_Historical_Records_Collections

How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections]


These are the various types of collections found in FamilySearch Record Search:

1. Digital collections from original sources, created by FamilySearch Record Search (i.e. images of the original source documents, such as vital records certificates and court records). These are the best possible evidence sources, because it is possible to save a copy of these images to your own computer, and when appropriate, add these images to WeRelate person and family pages. Some of the digital image collections at FamilySearch Record Search are indexed; others may be browsed but are not yet indexed. It is important to realize that the indexing that does exist may not be perfect; my name search for a family member who died in San Francisco in 1850, part of the California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 collection, did not show results. However, I found his burial records by browsing the images during the appropriate time frame. In the fall of 2010, there are about 170 collections of this type.

Add info on how to license and resize images from FamilySearch Record Search., or link to image help page.

2. Digital collections created by FamilySearch Record Search by indexing Family History Library microfilms of the original source.

3. Digital collections created by FamilySearch Record Search from multiple Family History Library microfilm sources. Most of the vital records collections without images are of this type.

Dallan created a template for the link to search FamilySearch: Template:Fscollection. What you may want to do is use the Template:fscollection that I just created -- feel free to modify it or create a different template. To use it, insert {{fscollection|collection-id}} into any page, and you'll get a link to search the collection. Then when the URL changes, you just have to change the template and not every page. The collection-id is the 7-digit number following the letter "c" and before "&hash=" in the "Search this Collection" URL.

New version of types of collections:


  1. A collection of documents/images created from the originals by FamilySearch (like the Chicago collections). This may or may not have been indexed, and I presume the images may be digitized from the microfilm or may be actual scans of the historical records. Some of the image collections are of primary records (vital records certificates); others are images of indexes to documents, such as Prince Edward Island Baptism Card Index, 1721-1885
  2. A collection that is an extraction from someone else's index or image collection. These collections may include links to images off-site, along with the index to the records. See England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8) (National Archives, England) or Civil War Pension Index Cards (Footnote provided the index and links to images, which are from the National Archive, US).
  3. A collection (actually index) created [by volunteers] from a microfilm or digital scans in the FamilySearch Library. The easiest type of collection is one where the index has been created from one microfilm source. This microfilm source could be original documents (like "Alabama Deaths)," or it could be an an index/compilation of records source. I haven't found any of the latter yet, but I haven't looked through all the collections!
    1. A collection (read index) created from multiple microfilmed sources in the FamilySearch Library. This is typically the case with many of the State-wide vital records collections, such as Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910. These indexes combine information from primary records (such as town records) with secondary records (such as the compilation of vital records for a locality published in book form, which may include family records, bible records, and other sources).
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