Researching in FamilySearch

Researching in FamilySearch

Little-known strategies for finding family in FamilySearch databases.

 Looking for ancestors in FamilySearch‘s Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index or Pedigree Resource File? Follow these tips:
Ancestral File tip: Find the kids—Did you know you can search for relatives who aren’t in your direct line, such as your great-grandfather’s siblings? From the Ancestral File search form, type in the father’s full name and at least the mother’s first name. The search will return a list of their children. Click on each name to go to each child’s individual record, which can contain vital statistics and marriage data. Each individual’s page also has links to a pedigree chart and family group sheet.

IGI tip: Behind the batch numbers—I further confirmed my suspicions about James and Susan using a little-known IGI search technique. At the bottom of the Web page showing James Hendrickson’s marriage to Susan Strange is a batch number. Using my cursor, I highlighted the number and copied it. Next, I returned to the search form, clicked my cursor in the Batch Number box (bottom left) and pasted the number I’d copied. I typed Hendrickson in the surname box and again chose North America as the region, but didn’t narrow it to Missouri. This time when I clicked on the search button, the system returned just three results: all Hendrickson marriage records from Cass County, Mo., that were batched together when entered into the LDS system. (Click on Source Call Number to see more on the source of this data.)

One of those results was for a marriage that took place the day following James and Susan’s ceremony, between Anna Hendrickson and William Groves. This entry caught my attention because on the 1870 census, James was living in the same household as William Groves (Graves), and next door to Susan Strange! The pieces began to come together.

If you’ve found an ancestor in the IGI, be sure to do a batch number search (not all IGI results will have a batch number, however). You never know what else you’ll find.

Pedigree Resource File tip: Submission search— Again, I found more information here than I’d dreamed existed. But I used another little-known search technique to find even more: Once you’ve located an ancestor using the Pedigree Resource File, click on the name to go to the individual record page. Near the bottom of the page you’ll find a section called Submission Search, with a long number written to the right. If you click on the number, you’ll be returned to the search form and the number will automatically be entered into the Submission Number blank. Next, type in your ancestor’s surname and click the search button. You’ll get a list of all of the people with your surname whose records were submitted by the same individual.

In the case of Polly Moore, my Submission Search returned a list of 12 Moores sent in by the same Indiana researcher who submitted Polly’s data. More than half the names were unfamiliar to me, and again opened up new avenues of research.

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