A Quick Start Guide to Researching Your Roots, Part 4

A Quick Start Guide to Researching Your Roots, Part 4

By Shannon Warnick

Few sites have exploded onto the Internet with such force as that of FamilySearch.org - the genealogical gold mine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Earlier this year, novice and seasoned researchers alike flooded onto the site registering over a million hits within days. What was all the fuss about?

To understand the excitement surrounding the opening of FamilySearch.org, you have to first understand the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in genealogical research. According to their literature, members of the church make special promises, or covenants, with their ancestors to unite their families through eternity. In order to make these covenants, church members must first identify their ancestors. To aid in this identification, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began to compile genealogical records from all over the world and make that information available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Family History Centers throughout the world. Around May of this year, a lot of this information was made available online at FamilySearch.org.

So what types of information can you expect to find on FamilySearch.org?

First, there are two proprietary indexes:

The Ancestral File(tm)

Heralded as the largest collection of lineage linked records, the Ancestral File has been compiled from pedigrees and records submitted to the Church of Latter Day Saints.

The International Genealogical Index(tm)

Although only about 60% of the entire IGI is currently available online, it is believed to be the largest collection of individual records. Compiled from a variety of sources, including public and church records, the IGI houses millions of birth, marriage and death records.

But the gold mine of information doesn't stop there. There is a searchable index of genealogical web sites, reviewed and categorized by professional genealogists.

You can search the Family History Library Catalog. This is a know before you go resource. Literally tons of information, including microfilmed government and church records, family histories and books, is available through your local Family History Center. Searching the Library Catalog over the Internet will let you know ahead of time what specific information is available. (You can even search for the FHC closest to you from FamilySearch.org)

And finally, the Family History Source Guide - descriptions of more than 150 publications available from the Family History Library to help guide and shape your research.

But wait! There's still more. As you explore the site, keep an eye out for the Personal Ancestral File - FREE software available for download to help you organize, store and share your research.

There is also the opportunity to submit your research to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. By registering, you can submit your web site and/or family tree. And there you have it - the Mecca of genealogists - available at your fingertips. Go... Explore... Search... Bookmark... as I'm sure that this is a valuable resource that you will visit time and again as you continue on your journey to the past.

Have a great day!


About the author

Shannon Warnick is Mom to Lisa, Collin, Daniel and Sarah. She loves to research on the internet and help those around her find what they need. Shannon loves the freedom the Internet has given her. She is also a Independent Technology Consultant.


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