How To Use Genealogy Website

Vicki’s note – suggestions from Family Tree Family article on – helpful free site:


How To Use Genealogy Website

Learn how to use FamilySearch with this easy-to-follow guide

A free website from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church), FamilySearch has a large, growing collection of records, books, photos and family trees. Since going online in 1999, the site has expanded to encompass more than 2,000 historical record collections from around the world, more than 5.5 billion searchable names in old records, and more than 300,000 digitized books. You can search many of these records by name and other details, thanks to FamilySearch’s volunteer indexing program; but some collections are still awaiting indexing and must be browsed. All the genealogical bounty is accessible from tabs at the top of

Use these strategies for success in finding your ancestors on

Search for records.

Under the Search tab, click Records to bring up a search form for a person in indexed records. You can enter the first and last names and the date range and place for one or more life events, such as birth, marriage, death, residence (useful when looking for census records), death or “any,” which could be, for example, an immigration or military enlistment year. Narrow your search with names of the person’s parents, spouse or another person who might appear with him in records. You also can restrict your results to those from a certain country or of a certain type (such as census or military records).

On the search results page, look to the left for fields where you can adjust your search terms. Below that, you can use filters to narrow your search by collection (which lets you limit results to one or more databases), a birthplace in the record, a birth year in the record, and more.

A camera icon in the far right column for a match indicates a digital image you can download to your computer and/or add to your tree; no camera icon means it’s an index-only record. In a few collections, due to the wishes of record custodians, you must register with FamilySearch to access record images or use the website at a FamilySearch Center (also called a Family History Center; find one near by searching here online). Some collections, such as the 1901 census of England and Wales, link to a record image on a subscription site. You can view these with a subscription or by visiting a FamilySearch Center.

Browse record collections.

Searching a specific record collection that covers a place and time your family lived can help you focus on the most relevant matches. On FamilySearch, this technique also lets you access images of records that aren’t yet part of the site’s searchable indexes. Under the Search tab, click Records, then Browse All Published Collections to see a list of all records, both indexed and unindexed, arranged by place. If “Browse Images” appears in the Records column, none of the collection is indexed by name. If that column gives a record count, the collection is at least partially indexed. On the left, you can filter the list by name (enter any word in the collection title), place, date, record type and image availability. Click a title to search or browse that collection.

Find relatives in the Family Tree. 

The FamilySearch Family Tree has a lofty goal to create a family tree that includes all people. Other websites have large collections of trees that often duplicate each other, errors and all. In an effort to increase accuracy and decrease duplication, Family-Search has designed its tree with one profile per ancestral person, that anyone can edit. Unlike most of FamilySearch, you must register to use the Family Tree, but it’s still free.

To search the tree, look under the Family Tree tab and click Find. You can enter a name; gender; dates of birth, christening,  marriage, death and/or burial; and family members’ names.

Adding your relatives to the tree can help you find their records, as FamilySearch automatically searches its records for matches to people in the tree. Click the Family Tree tab to start your tree and either manually enter the information, or use “FamilySearch-approved” genealogy software that can reconcile data between the family file on your computer and Family Tree. Those programs include Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and MacFamilyTree. To avoid duplicating people already in the tree, FamilySearch looks for a profile for each person you’re adding.

Click on an icon beside a name in landscape or portrait tree view for research help. Record hints are blue, research suggestions are purple, and data problems are red. Record hints and research suggestions also appear under the Details tab in Person view. You can review and verify possible matches, and attach the records to personal profiles.

Now you can search four large genealogy collections—FamilySearch,, Findmypast and MyHeritage—from Person view. You still should try searching on other combinations of terms, such as a woman’s married name, and searching individual record collections.

Find Family Photos.

Click the Memories tab to see at a glance all the photos, stories, documents, audio and albums you or someone else has submitted and linked to your relatives. To search the Family Tree’s photos, stories and documents for any term (such as a name, place or other topic), look under the Memories tab and select Find.

Search user-submitted genealogies.

Under Search>Genealogies, you can search the old Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File, two collections of family trees that researchers submitted over many years. Pedigree Resource File includes notes and sources, but Ancestral File doesn’t. Neither collection shows the submitters’ names. It’s worth mining these family trees for clues, but always try to verify the information with original sources.

A Genealogies search now covers several other collections, too: Community Trees were an effort to cover the genealogy of entire towns or communities. Oral Genealogies were obtained with personal interviews. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) has information on 430 million ancestors contributed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Find microfilmed records.

It’ll take years to digitize and index the massive holdings of microfilmed records at FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City. If you can’t visit the library, you can access most of its microfilm and microfiche for a small fee through FamilySearch Centers around the world.

Under Search>Catalog, run a Places search to find books and microfilmed records about a place. Search on all the towns, cities, counties, states and countries where your ancestors lived. Run a Surnames search to find family histories. Note that this search covers only surnames mentioned most often in a book, not every name. You can search on multiple terms, such as a surname and a place, but you’ll probably have better luck by entering these terms in the Keywords box.

Three icons are used in the Format column for microfilms in the catalog:

  • A magnifying glass icon appears if the film is indexed and searchable by name. Click it to search for a name.
  • A camera icon indicates that the film has been digitized. Click it to browse the images online.
  • A clickable film roll icon lets you order a film for viewing at a branch FamilySearch Center. Printed books don’t circulate to Family-Search Centers; click the link to “View this catalog record in WorldCat” to find the book in a library near you.

 Search digitized books.

Under the Search tab, click Books to search more than 300,000 digitized publications, including family and county histories, transcribed records and more. Using the Advanced Search, try searching on a name using the “Any is (exact)” option. To view a match, you must download the entire book (a PDF file), then use your PDF reader to search for the term in the book. Some digitized books can be viewed only in the Family History Library or a FamilySearch Center.

These tips will help you maximize FamilySearch’s power to help you find family:

Explore all the search options. The site’s record search doesn’t cover all its genealogical information. Under the Family Tree menu, choose Find to search the Family Tree. To search user-contributed genealogies, use Search>Genealogies. With Memories>Find, you might find photos and stories not attached to the Family Tree.

Search with wildcards. The FamilySearch records search lets you use the ? wildcard in a surname to represent one letter, and the * wildcard to represent multiple letters.

Look for indexes in imaged volumes. Browsing an unindexed collection? Digitized volumes may contain handwritten or typed name indexes. Look for a volume with “index” in the title, and check the beginning and end of individual volumes.

Start searching with a place. To focus your search on record collections related to a place, look under the Search tab, click Records and select a region on the world map. If you click on the United States and click New York in the popup menu, a New York research page comes up, where you can search indexed New York records. Scroll down to see collections that haven’t been indexed yet; click a title to browse.

Search from a Family Tree profile. FamilySearch can help you find records faster by filling in the search form with details on someone in the Family Tree. In the person’s Details view, look under the Search Records section of the right column and select FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findmypast or MyHeritage. You can attach a matching record from FamilySearch to everyone it pertains to in the tree. Now
MyHeritage can do that, too. Look for the link at the bottom of the record to “Attach source to FamilySearch.”

Get research advice. The FamilySearch Wiki, which you can access under the Search tab, offers research advice, such as how to access records for a particular state or country or how to find military records.

See recently updated collections. FamilySearch’s fast digitizing pace means you should check regularly for new records from the places your family lived. Under the Search tab, click Records, then click Browse All Published Collections to see a list of all records. Click the Last Updated column heading to move recently updated collections to the top.

Get more help. To find articles and videos about using FamilySearch, Click on Get Help, then Help Center and search on a topic. For example, search for Civil War, and the matches include an article on South Carolina Civil War service records of Confederate soldiers, videos on researching Civil War records and more.

Volunteer to index records. If you have a few minutes, you can index digitized records on your home computer and make them searchable. Click on Indexing>Overview to get started with FamilySearch Indexing.

Reading (Grave Marker Head) Stones

Vicki’s Note – email from Ron Zarnick – He thought we would find these suggestions helpful for our March 10, 2017 Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 10 a.m. – noon program:

” Genealogical Databases, Burial Records, Maps, & Local Hisotry of Eastlawn & Oakwood Cemeteries in Beloit”, by Robert L. Pokorney II, Cemetery Operations Coordinator”

Click on the link below for hints on safely reading headstones.

The group is (CCUS) Cemetery Conservators For The United States:


Reading (Grave Marker Head) Stones












Stateline Genealogy Club Program change


By Vicki Ruthe Hahn

On Feb. 10, 2017, I was not able to be at the Library for the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library until the end  of the meeting – (family minor emergency – all better now.)

The Club members just researched in computer Classroom and helped each other until I could get there.  I was impressed with how you all made use of the time and computers, and welcomed newcomers.

That would have been our Nov. meeting topic, so I will show the webinar “Evidence Explained” at the Nov. 10, 2017  meeting instead.

This webinar is paid for by a Library subscription, so not available free to watch on your own.

Deciphering German Script – free Webinar through February 17, 2017

Vicki’s note – Saturday email from Club member Ron Zarnick –
Deciphering German Script,   As I recall, there are several club members doing German research. This webinar was shown yesterday. It is free for 7 days at the site below. After that, one must buy it or subscribe to the site.”


Deciphering German Script – Family Tree Webinar

German parish registers are an indispensable resource in German genealogy. Yet, many of us hesitate because of the difficulties in reading these rich mines of information. Despite these challenges, you can train yourself to read and interpret enough of the records to make substantial progress on your genealogy. They are most powerful when used in combination. As with any new skill, you will improve with practice.

Family Tree Maker is Not Dead Yet!

Vicki’s Note – article from CAGGNI Newsletter February 2017:


Family Tree Maker is Not Dead Yet!

by Nancy R. Thomas
Last year, announced that they
would no longer support their popular Family
Tree Maker software after December 31, 2016.
The Software MacKiev Company bought the
rights to sell FTM, but the lag between
Ancestry’s announcement and MacKiev’s
purchase had many users looking for another
software product for their genealogy.
MacKievpromised to have a free update by the
beginning of 2017 for customers with an FTM
2014 version, and that this new version would
continue to sync to their trees on
MacKiev kept its promise. The new version 2014.1 is out
and syncs trees.
In the meantime, here is a link that may be of
help in answering some of your questions:
Also, a caution: backup several copies of your
current FTM tree before converting to the
MacKiev 2014.1 version. When you go to link
your tree be sure to uncheck the box at the
bottom of the dialog screen or your tree will
NOT sync. The default setting has a check mark in the box.

Selected from CAGGNI’s Facebook group postings in February 2017

Vicki’s note – helpful links in the February 2017 newsletter from (CAGGNI)  Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois:


From the Blogosphere

– Selected from CAGGNI’s Facebook group postings in January 2017

Looking for Chicago ancestors?

Incredible New Photos Show Evolution of Far North Side from Earliest Days

A new historic photo-based art project in Rogers Park has
brought to light 100 archival photos
of how life in the Far North Side neighborhoods has
evolved over the last century.

Just listened to an excellent FamilyTree webinar called

“Strategies to find the most challenging ancestors with DNA data.”

Speaker was James M Baker (his voice sounds like Jimmy Stewart)

This first of a series on using Google to

assist in your genealogy search has some good

blog. Family HistoryBinder–Part 1–Intro

Great blog for social history for genealogy…
101 free writing prompts for writing the stories
of your ancestors at The Social Historian blog

articlescovering the social history behind world events.

CAGGNI Event Announcement: New Sources for British Isles Research, 18 Feb 2017


CAGGNI Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois – Event Announcement:

New Sources for British Isles Research, 18 Feb 2017

New Sources for British Isles Research

Schaumburg Township District Library,

130 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL
Date: 18 Feb 2017 10:30 AM

New Sources for British Isles Research

by Paul Milner

Learn what new primary and secondary sources have become available and how to access them. Keep up to date on the constantly changing face of British Isles research by learning about recently released original records, new indexes, books and web sites.

Paul Milner, a native of northern England is an author of six publications, a professional genealogist and international lecturer. Paul has specialized in British Isles genealogical research for over 35 years. He is the course coordinator and instructor for the English and Scottish tracks at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) plus has taught at the British Institute in Salt Lake City. He has lectured extensively in the US, Australia, Canada and England, plus on genealogy cruises.

Vicki’s note – article posted on Facebook, from Family Tree Magazine article:


Best Genealogy Websites for Teens and Kids

These history and genealogy Web sites are for and about the younger generation.
Genealogy for teens and kids
So you’re a young person interested in genealogy, but all the websites and books you find seem geared to adults. Or you’re a grown-up who’s trying to foster a healthy appreciation for family history in your child, grandchild or students.
Start with the family-friendly genealogy websites listed here, then explore where they take you!

Just for kids and teens

Canada GenWeb for Kids

Cyndi’s List—Kids & Teens

Family Tree Magazine free family group sheet
Use these forms to record your ancestors’ and relatives’ names for your school genealogy projects.

Genealogy for Kids

For teachers, parents and grandparents

“Ancestors” Teacher’s Guide
Tips for teaching kids about the lessons in each of the PBS series’ 13 episodes.

Fun & Easy Family Projects 

Helping Your Child Learn History Classroom

Rock County Postcards

Rock County Postcards

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn


Here is a on-line site for you to see the history of Rock County by looking at historical postcard photographs.



We also have a book at Beloit Public Library on Rock County postcards:

A postcard history of Rock County

Belvidere, Ill. : Boone County Journal, c2000. c2000

Beloit Genealogy & Local History GEN 977.587 P845 Reference

and Beloit Adult Non-Fiction 977.587 P845 to check out.


Abbreviations & Acronyms for Genealogy – The Accepted

Vicki’s note – click on the links below to see a complete list of accepted genealogy abbreviations (from to use in your research documentation. Remember that I also save most links from Postings (by topic) on the BLOG Pages/tab “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps”.  Article (2012?, by ?) posted on Facebook. 2-8-2017
Welcome to Geni, home of the world’s largest family tree.

Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World’s Largest Family Tree.

Abbreviations & Acronyms for Genealogy – The Accepted


Project Photo Credit: alleyrose18

This will be a listing of the ACCEPTED – genealogical abbreviations and Acronyms – found from various sites – Rootsweb/, (which I think is now owned by – if you find another list – send me the link and i will check, verify, combine and add any additional items to the list.

Also abbreviations used on census records – since they are generally and most generally used or copied over itnto a genealogy database. As they seem to become accepted usage in genealogy.

The programs of PAF (by the LDS), ancestors (Evertons), Family tree, Legacy 7.5 are the standard’s of Genealogical data entry – their abbreviations are the “accepted standard” so to speak.

I was taught IF IN DOUBT – DO NOT abbreviate – or if you feel that the abbreviation may be taken out of context or misconstrued – – in using/coping sourcing – do not change abbreviations to suite yourself. copy it VERBATIM and changing no spellings and it you fell you just must change the information any changes you make should be placed within […] it indicate the changes made to the original entry.

Abbreviations for countries – RootsWeb, up-to-date country code standard. ISO 3166 is the commonly accepted International Standard this shows both the OLD two letter code ad the new ISO 3166 which is 3 letters.

Abbreviations: Country and Regional Locations – RootsWeb

At the end I will list the books also that were referenced …

Sources for further reading and reference.

Concise Genealogical Dictionary, by Maurine & Glen Harris

1900 Federal Population Census, by the National Archives Trust Fund Board.

Abbreviations and Acronyms: A Guide for Family Historians A book by by Kip Sperry.

Colonial American English: A Glossary by Richard M. Lederer.

The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick H. Fitzhugh. An outstanding reference explaining terms and concepts used in UK genealogy.

Bouvier Law Dictionary A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and of the Several States of the American Union, by John Bouvier, Revised Sixth Edition, 1856.


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