18 October 2010

United States Record Selection Table - FamilySearch Wiki

Website Review

I often get asked a question that may seem elementary to many genealogists, but there are thousands of people who really don't know how to get started with their family history.  And that's okay! We all started in that very same place and learned the process one step at a time.

You finally decide you want to start researching and proving the family information that you have been gathering and just need a map to give you the directions. Well, the FamilySearch Wiki has a page that will provide you with that map! Let's take a look at this useful tool that maps the process for U.S. records.

The United States Record Selection Table works just like a map. It contains a table of web links. Each link will direct you to another web page with more detail and possibly more links.
As you can see, you just go down the first column and decide what fact or info you need. Then you will find two additional columns. You should first look for the type of records suggested in the middle column. In this example click on the link "census".  If you don't have any success or need further info, try the sources in the right column.

As you select a link you will be taken to a page that gives you more info and links. So if you have a person's name but do not know the age of the person nor when he/she was born then  first look for one or more entries in that center column. Let's try "census" records. When selecting that link the following page appears.

Notice that this Wiki page has links to the various web sites that have indexes, transcriptions, or images of census records. Continuing down the page is a selection list by State. Select a state and you will find a spreadsheet with more links that can take you directly to the online data.

So if you are not sure where to go with your research, start with a map!