Using the FamilySearch Record Collections

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.

Comments (11)

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  1. Thank you for providing documents before they are indexed While it takes longer to find what Im looking for, it sure beats waiting months or years to finally see them.

    James 03 February 2012
    1:44 pm
  2. Please bring back the link to the original site, it was quicker and easier to use. There is no direct access to the 1881 census now or IGI Batch number facility.Very disappointed ex fan .

    Brenda Bell 03 February 2012
    12:49 pm
  3. I dont know if it is just me or what but I am not connecting through to other areas of the site, dont know if it is a computer issue or site issue.

    Dee 03 February 2012
    9:16 am
  4. Why have you removed the link to the original site which was much quicker to use and allowed you direct access to the IGI and the batch numbers. I have not been able to find batch numbers for names on the new site.

    Nora 03 February 2012
    4:59 am
  5. the thing on the photo was not working, i do not know if this is the computers problem or if it is yours

    justin 01 February 2012
    6:47 pm
  6. No files for Ireland or Scotland available for past 2 days anyone know what has happened to them.

    val 01 February 2012
    9:57 am
  7. Why have you removed the direcft link to the 1881 census, This was a very useful facility, also the link to the original site, which was much quicker to use.

    Judith 01 February 2012
    7:54 am
  8. Im looking for info on the family Corsini in Palata Pepoli, Bologna, Italy

    Jennifer Corsini 30 January 2012
    5:53 pm
  9. Could someone take a look at the Texas Birth Certificates, 1903-1935? These are browse-only files, but they are labeled by the digital file number which means nothing. Its almost impossible to find a record. You have to open each file and go to the 3rd or 4th image to even find the dates that are covered in that folder number. It would be very helpful if each file was listed by the month(s) and year(s) that are in that file.

    Debbie McCoy 28 January 2012
    8:04 pm
  10. Many problems patrons have in the Family History Library in this vein regard records that are indexed, but have no images. Often, the indexed records only tell the microfilm of the off-line image. A page/certificate number would also be required to locate the record indexed on FamilySearch on our microfilms, but that information is often absent from the website. I have seen this happen with Minnesota Death Certificates and other similar collections.

    Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG 28 January 2012
    1:02 pm
  11. I love how they are grouped so that the searching is minimized almost as much as when it is indexed. Thanks for all the wonderful information that is going online EVERY day

    Pam 27 January 2012
    2:11 pm

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