The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 18, 2012

FamilySearch offers guides to researching


FamilySearch Wiki is a website dedicated to helping researchers find records on ancestors. For example, a guide to researching English ancestors can be found at Key topics for getting started with English research include census records, church records, civil registrations, and probate records. Other records include archives and libraries, cemeteries, emigration and immigration, medical records, and much more. One also can click on a specific county to go to that county’s page. There is also a link to a series of videos now available online.

Similar guides are available by going to the website mentioned above, but instead of typing “England” in the URL, type another country, such as Poland, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Canada, etc. Also, to access guides for individual states within the U.S., substitute a state (e.g., Illinois) in the URL. One also can browse the list of other countries at

Indexing project

FamilySearch recently announced its current major project is indexing U.S. Immigration and Naturalization records. This project will combine information from passenger lists, border crossings, naturalization records, etc., and with the help of 85,000 volunteers, expects to index more than 30 million records by the end of this year. The project, which was begun in August, has already indexed more than 15 million records.

To view a list of currently available U.S. projects, visit Under “All Record Collections” and “Browse by Location,” click on United States and be taken to a page listing specific collections, the number of records, and date when last updated. In addition to individual states’ records, be sure to scroll down to “United States,” which includes census records, pension files, draft registration cards for World War I and World War II, and much more.

FamilySearch is the world’s largest genealogy organization that is nonprofit and volunteer-driven — and free.

RootsWeb guides

Genealogists everywhere also appreciate the free guides that are provided by RootsWeb at Under “Getting Started,” click on “RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees” and then choose (click) Index by Subjects or Numerical Index to Guides. The topics include Adoption Records, Evidence, Fraternal Organizations, GEDCOMs, Social Security Death Index, Newspapers, Orphans, Land Records (in U.S.), Military Records Worldwide, Using Technology, and many more.

These guides were written and compiled by professional genealogists Julia M. Case, Myra Vanderpool Gormley and Rhonda McClure — all experts.

One also can view RootsWeb Review Articles (found under “Getting Started”). For example a search for “SSDI” resulted in more than 100 articles pertaining to the Social Security Death Index.

More articles

GenealogyInTime Magazine also offers free helpful articles for genealogical researchers. At, one can select articles/guides from these topics: How to Get Started in Genealogy; How to Find Genealogy Records Online, Genealogy Brickwall Solutions; Important Genealogy Tools; Important Genealogy Trends (be sure to read the article, Fun Facts about FamilySearch); Genealogy Reference Shelf; and Miscellaneous Stuff.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing