Most people using FamilySearch don’t get the full benefit of their search. FamilySearch has 2.34 billion indexed names that can be searched using the search fields on the home page. If they don’t find their ancestor using the search fields, they assume they are not in FamilySearch.
However, users need to remember that in addition to the 2.34 billion indexed names in FamilySearch, there an additional 312.4 million names that have not been indexed and cannot be searched using the usual search fields. These collections are referred to as browse only image collections.
Browse Images collections are records that have been filmed but have not yet been indexed through www.indexing.familysearch.org. Rather than keeping these records out of circulation until they are indexed, FamilySearch uses a technique called Waypointing to make them available for searching. Waypointing is a process used to group images together according to locality, record type, and year range in preparation for online publication. The Waypointing process allows users to focus their search to a single place and time. Waypointing is, in essence, a digital microfilm reader, allowing patrons of FamilySearch access to many images that they would otherwise have to access at a Family History Library on microfilm.
To access Browse Images collections:
- Click the All Record Collection link under the Browse by Collection section of the Home Page.
- In the Search field, type the name of the location you want to check.
- Scroll through the collections located on the results screen. Any collection labeled “Browse Images” will be marked with waypoints.
- Work your way through the waypoints to find the exact area you want to focus your search.
After you have finished searching the indexed record, do not forget to search the Browse Images collection as well. You may just find that ancestor you are looking for.