We’ve received many comments from FamilySearch users telling us that they find the name of an ancestor in an index but cannot find a record for them. Or, if record images are available, they have to go through hundreds of records in order to find the one they want. Let me explain a couple of tips that will help make your search a more pleasant experience.
When you are in FamilySearch, looking through the Historical Record Collections and are looking at a collection list, you will see some collections with a camera icon next to the collection and some without the camera icon. The camera icon tells you that this record collection has digitized images of each record within that collection. If no icon is shown, there will not be images available.
To the right of the collection title, you will see either the words Browse Images or you will see a number. If you see a number, that means the collection has been indexed and that the number indicates how many records are in the collection.
If you see the words Browse Images, this means that the collection has not been indexed. However, many FamilySearch users have said that even if a collection is not indexed they would still like to see the collection posted so they can search for their name manually, page by page. In Browse Images collections the records are waypointed, which means that the images are grouped together according to locality, record type, and year range. This makes it so you don’t have to look through the entire collection, but can narrow your search the time and place you are interested in searching. So, for those who have voiced their frustration about having to look through hundreds of records to find a name, this is why. The reasoning was that it is better to have a large unindexed collection where users can search than not having the collection available to them at all.