Opinion

LDS library offers many resources

There’s always something new at FamilySearch.org, the genealogical website of the LDS Church. You probably know by now that the church is rushing to convert their miles of microfilm held in a secure cave somewhere in the Rockies into digital records available to everyone.

The LDS Church is dedicated to the concept of free genealogy. That means new material is going online every week. If you’ve tried the site and haven’t found what you need, keep trying.

The renowned LDS Library in Salt Lake City is famed around the world for its collections. The new library webpage on the Family Search site is designed to assist visitors to access information while they’re researching. But if you’re unable to research in person you will also find this webpage of value. Among the many offerings, you can find archived webinars on just about every genealogical topic. The Library’s chief genealogy officer says this is just the beginning of the online offerings that will be available in the future. 

Something new is you can sign up for a free 20-minute consultation with a genealogist. These free online consultations are offered in multiple languages and time zones. “Free” is rare in the genealogical world, so consider signing up for help. 

Are you stuck in a family line? You might consider signing up for a session with someone familiar with the problem you are experiencing. Let’s say it’s upstate New York. The Library is sure to have someone who knows the ins and outs of tackling that tricky part of the country to research. You might find resources you never thought of or even knew existed. I’m of the philosophy you should never give up in your search for your ancestors even if occasionally you are stuck with no clear path to continue. Give the experts a chance to help you. 

The new library webpage is located at FamilySearch.org/Family-History-Library. 

Lately I’ve noticed a great many new records from around the world on the home website. The list of what’s available is staggering. For example, you’ll find baptismal, land, probate, and other records. Few of these are indexed so be prepared to search for the one you need. You can also find indexes which will give you a brief outline of what’s available and where it originated. Marriage, birth, and death records are usually handled in this way. There are also some transcribed records. 

You can also find a link on the site to the Roots Tech conference. Check it out. By the time you read this column the conference will be over but I understand sessions will be filmed and you can watch them for the next year. If there’s a topic that intrigues you, take advantage of this offer. 

I should also mention that there are family trees posted online. Use these cautiously, but follow up on any hints that seem promising. By all means spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the Family Search site. Who knows what you might find?

Columnist Nancy Battick of Dover-Foxcroft has researched genealogy for over 30 years. She is past president of the Maine Genealogical Society, author of several genealogical articles and co-transcribed the Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft. Nancy holds an MA in History from UM and lives in DF with her husband, Jack, another avid genealogist. Reader emails are welcome at nbattick@roadrunner.com. 

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