Have you ever used the browse collections on FamilySearch? If you haven’t, I would like to introduce you to a new friend. A very good friend.
See that beautiful record up there? It comes from a FamilySearch browse collection. Here is the ancestry version:
Quite a difference.
I most commonly use the ancestry Drouin collection for records on my Quebec line simply because they are a bit easier to search. Not because the index is good – it’s pitiful – but because the records are broken down by year and the FamilySearch collection is in very large clusters of years. To use the FamilySearch collection I have to spend a lot more time “reading” the handwritten years. To further complicate that the years are written out in word form. That is slow going for this non-French speaker. But I digress… The ancestry marriage record for Marie Arsene was difficult to read and I couldn’t make out a few key pieces of information so I went through the process of finding the same record in a FamilySearch browse collection. It was worth the effort.
So how did I do it? Here are the steps.
Go to familysearch.org, click on “Search” in the top center. In my case I wanted Quebec records so I clicked on Canada on the map and then chose Quebec. This is the list of Quebec resources on the website:
See that collection second from the bottom? Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979? It only has 79,535 records but it has a camera icon. That camera tells me that this collection has images. Any collection with images has the potential to be a browse collection. The number of records refers only to the number of INDEXED records in this collection. I clicked on the collection:
I can search the indexed records like I normally would by typing info into the search fields. But notice at the bottom of the page there is a hyperlink that reads: “Browse through 1,399,175 images”. Bingo – I have found a browse collection. These collections are like going though microfilm online. I clicked on the hyperlink and then I get this page:
For this browse collection I get a HUGE list of parishes. I scrolled down and found my civil parish of Sainte-Luce and clicked on it.
Then I get another page where I choose the ecclesiastical parish. In this case I only have one choice so I clicked on Sainte-Luce again.
I know this one is hard to read. The important thing here is that I have three choices. They are Baptism, Marriage, and Burial collections covering different year ranges. I choose the appropriate range and click it.
Voila! Now I am in a set of images that I can click through. This set has 727 images and covers the years 1842-1869. Most collections are in chronological order but some are in alphabetical order. You can usually figure out how your collection is organized fairly quickly. Once I know how it is laid out, I like to skip forward and backwards in large chunks until I land really close and then I start using the arrows to go a page at a time.
Many of the collections you have been using may also be browse collections. Here are two gems (images have links that will take you to the page you see here with one click):
And there are so many more! Give the website a look and see if you can find a collection that might include one of your ancestors and check to see if that collection is a browse collection.
At the bottom of every location specific search page there is a list of image only collections. This is the top of the Illinois list. The entire list is quite long and contains some really great collections.
Have you ever used a browse or image only collection on FamilySearch?