Old Missoula

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Hints - Using Family Search - by Sue Hintz - Western Montana Genealogical Socierty

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USING FAMILY SEARCH https://familysearch.org/

From main screen, click at the top on SEARCH

To see a list of all databases, scroll down, and click on Browse All Published Collections. To see a certain location, click on that location from the list. Using UNITED STATES as an example, click on that option. On the Historical Records Collections, you will see the alphabetical listings – states and US records. Camera icon means actual images exist. If not, it is just a list or index. In RECORDS column, a number means the database is indexed – searchable by name. If it says BROWSE IMAGES, you will have to go through page by page to look for your record, but most are alphabetical or chronological.

Last Updated means when the record was added, or the record group was expanded. You can click on Last Updated, and get the newest records to the top. Click on Title to re-alphabetize the search.

Click on SEARCH to bring up the search fields. FS will search on sound-alike names (Brown, Browne, Braun, Brun). Clicking the little box next to the name will make it search on that exact spelling. I rarely use this because so often the spellings are not correct. You don’t need to capitalize. Allow for spelling variations and total errors. Search by nicknames, middle names, initials, and last name first. A second marriage may be listed under either the woman’s maiden name, or previous married name. A record showing her father with a different last name is a clue to a possible prior marriage. If her last name is the same as the mother but not the father, her parents might not have been married, or the bride may have been married to a cousin with the same last name as her mother. Some (particularly older) marriage records won’t list the mother’s maiden name, and may not list the couple’s parents at all. In some records, particularly birth, if the main person’s first and last names are listed, but the father and mother have a different last name, it is possible that they are assuming that you will know that the father’s name is the same and the mother’s maiden name is listed. Example Andrew Felton – parents Samuel and Eliza Pastor – Samuel Felton is the father.

If you get too many results, add filters. If you get too few, remove filters. Filter your search by limiting the record to a certain country or state, by spouse, or by parents, whose name might appear in the same record. You might find a group of birth records if you search on only the last name, and then put the parents’ names in as filters. The filters are on the left, under “Refine Your Search”. For example, under Search with Relationship, you can add the spouse’s name – a good one to use if you know the name, but are just looking for the marriage record. The filter will stay there until you remove it. Hover your mouse pointer over that filter (spouse’s name) an X will come up. Click the X to remove the filter. When you use that filter again, the same name will be there, just replace it with the new filter. Remember to remove the filter when done, or it will serve as a filter for the next name search. I usually span 5 years on either side of a date.

Type in the names, hit enter (or Search button) to bring up the list. The first column is the name of the person as indexed, and the name of the database – with or without camera icon. Second column are dates and locations. Third column has other names in same record. You can click on the down arrow to see more index information from the record, or click on the name in the left column to see the full record. If this is the right person, the text can be copied and pasted into your person’s notes. Use the COPY button in the upper right corner, and it will automatically capture the text and the source for the record.

To see the image, click on View Image. Most images are direction on this website, but a few are linked to other sites. Use the controls to zoom, save, print, etc. Save the image to your computer. Put it somewhere you can find it! I save to my computer so that I can edit (crop, lighten, straighten, etc) before printing.

Occasionally, you will be asked to sign in to see a particular record image. It is very simple to create a free account at FS – they will not ask for a credit card.