The Hugh Wallis web site has been a popular and effective online utility tool for researchers to find relevant data on all ancestral connections found in FamilySearch extraction batches of vital and parish records of birth/christenings and marriages. Due to changes in the FamilySearch.org system, the web site became disabled and out of service until recently. Now, some batches do not appear in Batch Number searches.
In the meantime, while this is being addressed by FamilySearch, here’s a great alternative solution which may prove to be as or even more helpful when searching historical records for a single place or parish.
Using FamilySearch.org ‘Filter’ Features to Find Specific Data
FamilySearch has been using constructive feedback from users worldwide. Earlier this year, the system was revised to allow users to customize their own searches. Customizing searches is simple and dramatically changes the data results to relevant and specific.
To see how it works, follow these steps to search for English records. Then, apply them when you search your geographic areas of interest:
- Click “All Records Collections”
- Scroll down and select “England Births and Christenings 1538-1975”
- Click “Advanced Search”
- Leave the Given Name and Surname fields blank (unless you are absolutely certain of the spellings!)
- Under “Event”, select “Birth” or “Marriage”
- Type the place name in the Place field. For this example, type “Brierley Hill, Staffordshire”
- Click the little “Exact” match only box (on the right hand side of the “Place” field)
- Select the years you wish the system to display data for you (keep the range of years small–if a large parish or township!)
- Click “Search”
Searching with Surnames
Typing in the surname and/or given name(s) will help you drill right down to the precise family or individual(s) in almost every case. Note: 1) Do not use the “Exact” matches box in the “Surname” field due to the various spellings of surnames! 2) Remember: ‘Less is more’—or in other words, don’t type too much data in the search engine fields, such as maiden surnames, or else you’ll return negative results.
All data that will be displayed on pages in the above search scenario will relate to all town vital records or church registers existing in a given place, in this sample case, Brierley Hill. Note: scroll down until you see the entry for “Susan Horton” down towards the bottom. What do you see that’s pertinent to her and the Brierley Hill Township—yet that’s quite different from all the other names appearing on that page?
While you cannot drill down to the single batch, you can now, however, narrow down your search in FamilySearch to a given township/parish. This is a way to get the system to display your names—or all data from all vital records/churches covering a single township.
A great work-around solution!