FamilySearch Historical Record Collections
FamilySearch Historical Record Collections provide online access to indexes and digital images of records held by the Family History Library. The collections can be accessed from the FamilySearch homepage or directly at Historical Record Collections. New collections are being uploaded as quickly as the records are digitized and indexed. Originally, the term 'Pilot' was used to indicate that the site is still under development but with the introduction of the updated FamilySearch site in December of 2010, the name "Pilot" was dropped from the designation.
Searching The Indexed Records
From the main screen you can search all collections available. There are three types of searches 'Exact close match' is the default. Use the drop down arrow next to the green Search button if you wish to chose 'Exact match' or 'Exact, close and partial'. You will want to experiment with these different search types to see the different results from each type of search. There is no Soundex search available.
The Advanced Search link adds search fields for parents names and acts as a toggle between Advanced Search and Basic Search. The three types of searches ('Exact close match' or 'Exact match' or 'Exact, close and partial') are still available.
The magnifying glass and link Browse our record collections provides a map so that you can limit the collections to a general locality or find specific collections within a locality.
For a more complete list of "search" features/parameters for searching the databases in FamilySearch.org, review the article, Ten Powerful "Search" Features of the FamilySearch.org Search Engine.
For each collection, there is a brief collection Description, as well as a link titled "Learn More" which links to further information about the collection on the Research Wiki. Collections descriptions on the Research Wiki are signified by (FamilySearch Historical Records) at the end of the title. Additional information about the collections may also be found in the Wiki articles listed under the "Related Wiki Articles" heading.
Locating the Latest Updates
The updated records are posted directly to the Historical Record Collections as they are released online. To see the latest records released, click on the column heading the last updated date. The column will then sort according to the update date with the newest records on top of the list.
Check back often to see if the newly added records can help you find the ancestral information you may be needing at the time!
Volunteer to Index
FamilySearch invites everyone to volunteer in indexing the digitized records so that the sources can be made available free online more quickly. Learn more about the FamilySearch Indexing project at Indexing.familysearch.org and to see a quick reference to the collections being added to FamilySearch.org in the future.
For more information on the Historical Records Collection check the Blog link on the startup page of FamilySearch.org