01 February 2011

Browsing Historical Microfilmed Records

By now most of you know that you can search MILLIONS of historical microfilmed records online for FREE at FamilySearch.org. These records have been indexed and you can search by name, dates, and places.  But did you know that you can SEE many more historical records online that have not yet been completely indexed? They have been WAYPOINTED!

So what is waypointing? Waypointing is a new tool being used by FamilySearch that allows approved users to "markup" or "waypoint" a microfilm digitally. The name of the database, the type of data, and the date ranges are all marked or indexed for that particular film. Then the database is uploaded to FamilySearch. You can't SEARCH on these images but you can BROWSE through them, find your ancestor and copy the images. You might have to scroll through hundreds of images, but all the images are for a certain record type, location and time frame. Just think, you don't have to order the film, wait for it, and then go to a Family History Center to view it. You can search these films right from your computer at home, any time of the day. Eventually, these records will be completely indexed and searchable by name.

To find these records go to https://www.familysearch.org/ and locate the "Browse by Location" link. This will allow you to filter your search by Place, Date or Category. Or you can simply Search for the record type.

Filtering down to specific location collections you will see a list of the record sets that are available in FamilySearch for that area.

Further scrolling will reveal  collections that say "Browse Images". Selecting one of these will display the actual images from the record set. These records are not searchable by name, but can be browsed to find your ancestors.

So don't rely just on the indexed records, try the "Browse" images, too! Remember that the more we all index and waypoint the faster we will have MILLIONS more records available to us for free! Happy hunting for your ancestors!

If you want to get involved with FamilySearch indexing, click here.