thegenealogygirl


20 Comments

Creating Free, Beautiful Charts on TreeSeek

Adeline Perrault, 5.13.2017 fanchart

I love beautiful, informative charts.  I love them even more when they are free!  That lovely fan chart up there was created for free at TreeSeek.com, using information from FamilySearch.org.

In the center of that chart is Adeline Perrault, my 4th great grandmother straight up my maternal line.  I wanted to look at my tree based on only her ancestry to see where my holes are and make some decisions about where I may choose to research next.

Now, if you are thinking to yourself that you don’t use FamilySearch so creating that lovely chart is not an option for you, guess what?  TreeSeek has you covered.  You can create a chart from a gedcom file.  If you don’t use a genealogy software program, but you do use an online tree service such as the one found at Ancestry.com, you can download a gedcom file of your tree to use on TreeSeek.

Let’s take a quick tour of TreeSeek and the chart options you have.  When you go to TreeSeek.com you will see a landing page like this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.03 PM

Notice that in the center gray box you have two options: “Login now to create your chart” and “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.”  The login option will take you to a FamilySearch sign-in page.

Before we log-in, I want to point out that if you scroll down you will see some of the chart options available:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.15 PM

After clicking the log-in option I am taken to a FamilySearch sign-in page.  If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will need to upload a gedcom file, your chart choices will be limited, but that beautiful 9 generation fan chart is available to you.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.52.30 PM.png

After logging in I am given some quick options.  Under “Starting Person”, there is a drop-down menu that currently has my name, Amberly Beck, showing.  The other options I have automatically are: my husband, children, and parents.  I can also choose anyone I like based on their 7 character PID number in FamilySearch.  I simply type that PID number into the empty box to the right of my name.  After selecting the start person, I choose my chart.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.26 PM

Here is the complete list of chart types to choose from:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.38 PM

I can name my chart if I like and select whether I want to include the siblings of the start person on the chart.  Once I have made my selections, I click the green “Create Chart” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.47 PM

Next, I will see this message as the chart is being created.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.07.16 PM

Once the chart is complete it appears in a window like this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.07.28 PM

I can click the green “Download Chart” button to download this chart as a pdf.  Once I have the file, I can save it as a jpeg if I like.

If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will click on the “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.03 PM

That will take you to this page:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.32.26 PM

You will click the white “Choose File” button and then select your gedcom file from your computer.  After your file has uploaded, you will see this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.00 PM

In the dropdown menu you will see a list of people in your gedcom file.  They are organized generationally starting with you.  I chose my great grandfather and a 9 Gen Fan, and then clicked “Create Chart”.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.21 PM

Again, my chart shows up and I have the option to download the pdf file of the chart.

Here are a few other cool charts I was able to make.  These options are only available to FamilySearch users at present.

mixed first names cloud

Mixed first names in a name cloud from FamilyTree on FamilySearch, using me as the starting person.  This means this comes from my portion of the tree on FamilySearch.  Remember, no one has their own tree on FamilySearch.female first names cloud

Female first names in a name cloud.

male first name cloud

Male first names in a name cloud.

surnames name cloud

Surnames in a name cloud.

5 Generation Photo Family Chart

I think this chart is my favorite of all.  It uses the profile photos I have selected for each person on FamilySearch.  My parents are in the center with my brother and I beneath.  I removed the names of anyone who is living, but those are also on the chart.  I want to go in and update each person with the best photo of I have and create this chart again and frame it.  It’s such a lovely visual for my children to really get to know our family tree.  I also need to either remove my brother or add my other siblings.  😉

One last note, these charts print up beautifully in very large sizes.  They can be printed at any copy store.  If you live near BYU, the BYU Family History Library has a wonderful fan chart printing service available for anyone to use.  You can print a full color 24×18 poster print for $3.50 or a full color 24×36 poster print for $7.00.  They are printed on a high quality, thick paper.

 

Have you used TreeSeek to create any charts?  Do you have another favorite service for creating charts?

 

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 


12 Comments

Can you spare 30 minutes? – An Indexing Update

IMG_4477

Close up shot of me proudly wearing an indexing button at RootsTech 2016

In March I shared my 2017 goal to index 6,000 records.  I am so happy to report that one of the indexing projects I have been helping with is soooooo close to being finished!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.55.46 AM

On the right side of this screenshot you can see the stats on the 1881 Canadian Census, Part B.  So far, 53,664 images are complete, 10 images are awaiting indexing and 6 images are awaiting arbitration.  (I am pretty sure that means that the 10 images that need to be indexed will be added to the final arbitration list once they are indexed.)

This has been a fun challenge for me to help with.  I have been researching my Québec ancestors for about 4ish years now.  It was so painfully slow at first.  I don’t speak French.  But now I can zip right through things that felt impossible four years ago.  I’m still not a French speaker by any means, but I do know how to read most French Genealogy records for Québec.  Helping with the 1881 Canadian Census – which is in French – has really helped boost my understanding of the language and of names that I don’t have in my tree but sometimes see as witnesses to events for my family.

When I started, my accuracy percentage was not great.  I didn’t understand the diacritics well at all.  I’m still no expert, but I have memorized the keyboard shortcuts to help me type them and can recognize them in sloppy handwriting quite accurately now.

I was able to index 2,075 1881 Canadian Census records!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.57.00 AM

Now that the project is nearly complete, and there are no batches available to download, I have moved on to the 1856 France, Saône-et-Loire Census.  It is stretching me even more.  I love it!

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 10.56.26 AM

My accuracy has gone way up.  There are occasional batches that are so hard to read and I get a surname wrong for a large family and my accuracy goes way down, but overall I’m doing pretty well at 97%.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.04.47 AM

So far this year I have indexed 2,660 of my 6,000 record goal.  I’m a bit behind the pace I was hoping for but making progress.

Have you tried indexing?  If not, I promise there are plenty of English projects that need help.  Even a bunch of beginner projects.  FamilySearch is one of the many organizations you can index for.  They happen to be my preferred place to index because they provide their records freely to all.  If you have never indexed, check out the resources for indexers on FamilySearch.  The indexing page currently looks like this.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.47.09 AM

I promise it is beginner friendly.

This infographic is a great summary of why indexing is so vital to genealogy.

fuelthefind1-686x1024

Have you indexed?  If so, who do you like to index for?

 

Do you have 30 minutes to spare?  If so, help “Fuel the Find” today by indexing one batch of records!

 

 


13 Comments

Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch_Logo

If you are reading this, you are most likely familiar with searching for records on FamilySearch.  What you may not be familiar with are three types of “hidden” records you can utilize on FamilySearch – images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection; browse collections; and digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.

Hidden Record Type 1:

Images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection.  I will use some Québec records as my example.  Let’s start with the Québec search page on FamilySearch:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.32 AM

 

You will notice at the top of the page it reads, “Québec Indexed Historical Records”.  It is important to note that not everything in this list is completely indexed.  As I scroll down the page I can see a list of Québec records, which also includes larger collections that have Québec records in them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.49 AM

 

Only a few collections are showing until I click “Show all 21 Collections”.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.00.33 AM

 

 

As I scroll down the list, I am looking for any collection that has a camera beside it.  That means there are images in the collection.  Close to the bottom is a collection entitled, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979”.  It has a camera icon which means there are images in the collection and it lists that there are 79,535 indexed records in the collection.  The question I have is, are there more records in the collection that aren’t indexed?  I simply click on the collection to go to the search page.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.15 AM

 

Once I am on the search page I scroll to the bottom.  The collection has a browse option at the bottom that reads, “Browse through 1,399,175 images”.  This means that in this collection of 1,399,175 images, there are a little over 1.3 million records that are not indexed.  If I click that “Browse through 1,399,175 images” button, I can search the records like digital microfilm.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.29 AM

 

I get this list of parishes to help me navigate the images.  I noticed one today that I have never seen before:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.40 AM

How’s that for a parish name?  😉

Here is a parish that I regularly search:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.54.56 AM

I click on the parish name again and get this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.55.03 AM

Then I can click on one of the date ranges and get this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.55.17 AM

It is basically a digital microfilm.  This particular collection is tricky to navigate because it contains such a large span of years and the years are written out like this “one thousand seven hundred forty seven”, except they are written in French.  Despite it being a bit trickier to navigate, it is totally worth it.  I get faster every time, it just takes a little practice.

Any collection that contains images has the potential to contain more images than indexed records.  If everything is indexed in a collection, you will not see the browse option at the bottom of the search page.  MANY indexed collections contain images that are not indexed.

Hidden Record Type 2:

Browse collections.  These collections are also accessed from a main search page.

We will go back to the Québec search page and scroll to the bottom.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.32 AM

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.56 AM

These collections are labeled as “Québec Image Only Historical Records”.  Most locales have several of these browse collections.  None of the records are indexed yet.  I clicked on “Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920”.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.53.28 AM

You will notice that I have no search box, just the “Browse through 4,956,093” images link.  When I click that I am taken to this page:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.53.38 AM

From here I can select a location, I chose Iberville:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.12.41 AM

Then I choose a range of documents:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.12.59 AM

Then I am once again looking at a digital microfilm.  This particular collection would be hard to use unless I have a time frame and location in mind for the record I am seeking.  That information would come from other good research.

Hidden Record Type 3:

Digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.  This particular type of record is brand new to me.  In fact, I have no idea when FamilySearch started doing this.  They snuck it in recently.  I discovered this record type while I was using microfilm at the FHL in SLC.  I had a list of Estate Files I was looking for.  I had found 6 and went looking for the 7th file when something wasn’t quite right.  That led me to look at the catalog entry for the microfilm to double check the information I would expect to find.  I thought maybe I had written the microfilm number down incorrectly.  This is the page I went to:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.19.36 AM

I scrolled down to find my microfilm number in the collection of 419 microfilm to see this list:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.19.44 AM

Ummmmmm… see those little camera icons on the right?!  This entire collection was digitized AFTER I had made my list of microfilm to search just shortly before going to the library.  When I click the camera I get a digital microfilm that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.20.01 AM.png

What on earth?!  When did FamilySearch start doing this???  The craziest part is that the images aren’t on the South Africa search page, not in the same grouping you can find here.

So.

Check the catalog, and check it again, and check it again.  I know that the rate of digitization far exceeds the rate of indexing but apparently FamilySearch can’t keep up with cataloging in an orderly fashion either?

One important last thought – FamilySearch often has images available that go away once the entire collection is indexed.  If you find an image that is important to your research, PLEASE, don’t assume the image will always be there.  Save a digital copy of that image.

And while we are on the subject of disappearing images, it is important to know that the contractual agreements that FamilySearch enters into with the owners of records can change at any time.  In fact, several collections that matter to me and my research are no longer available.  FamilySearch still holds the microfilm, but they are under lock and key because the contracts were renegotiated.

 

Have you been using these three types of “hidden” collections on FamilySearch?

 


8 Comments

Unraveling the John Boles Mystery – Part Two

duban-bay-image

Durban to The Drakensberg” by John Hone, 1988, photo of Durban, Natal, South Africa

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  He is the younger brother of my 3rd great grandmother Catherine Boles.  John, his wife Christina, and his 7 living children who were all born in Scotland, just up and disappeared in 1890.

In 2014, a serendipitous connection with a kind stranger from Scotland, led me to an immigration record for all 7 Boles children traveling to Natal, South Africa without their parents.

Then there were the 3 marriage records for Elizabeth, Christina, & Helen Boles.  All 3 marriages took place in Natal, South Africa.  Helen’s 1906 marriage record stated that she had the permission of her parents to marry.

This was the first clue that indicated John & Christina Montgomery Boles might have also gone to South Africa.

I scoured FamilySearch and Ancestry looking for any record collection that might help me build on what I knew but I couldn’t find anything.  The collections were sparse and had very limited time frames.  I did some basic googling with no great results so I did what we all do at times, I set the John & Christina Boles family aside.

Fast forward to sometime last year, when I revisited this part of my tree.  I was committed to adding something to this story.  So I dove into some google searching to see what record collections exist for Natal, South Africa.  The National Archives for South Africa led me to a bunch of potentially helpful records.  The only problem was that they look like this:

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-33-10-pmscreen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-33-25-pm

I wasn’t entirely sure where I could go next based on this data.  So I went to my good friend, the FamilySearch wiki.  But.  I went to it through google.  The wiki itself has a terrible search algorithm so it’s best to use google as your entry point.  I found myself on a page entitled “South Africa Natal Death Notices“.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1-40-37-pm

Close to the bottom of that screenshot you can see the section “Microfilmed records at the Family History Library”.  This link takes you to a catalog entry on FamilySearch.org for microfilms containing Estate Files for Pietermartizburg (Natal).  The collection includes 419 microfilm reels organized by year and file number.

This discovery got me pretty excited so I searched the National Archives of SA website as thoroughly as I could to identify as many potential estate files for John, Christina, their children, and the 3 sons-in-law that I knew of.  I had quite a list.  I compared it to the FS Catalog entry to identify microfilm numbers.  My list of microfilms was growing.

My big question was this – What exactly will I find in those Estate Files?

 

When I go to BYU for research, I can order two microfilms from the FHL in Salt Lake City for free, every two weeks.  No more.  I was trying to decide how much of my precious research time to dedicate to this family.  Which films should I order?

While pondering on this set of questions, I discovered that there is a 5 year window of estate records available on FamilySearch in a browse only collection for Transvaal.  I checked this against my list and discovered one candidate: William Wise, husband of Christina Boles.

Hooray!  This meant I could view an estate file from home to get a sense of what this record type, for this location might tell me.  This was just what I wanted.

Because finding this particular record took several steps, I will outline those steps in detail.

The first step was finding William’s file number on the National Archives of SA website.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-05-54-pm

I was looking for file number 3681 in the year 1959.

It was time to take that information over to FamilySearch.  I went to the main “Search” menu on FamilySearch and got myself to the South Africa landing page that looks like this.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-04-17-pm

Then I scrolled down to the bottom to find the browse collections.  These are collections that only have images with no index.  You search them like a digital microfilm.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-04-25-pm

Then I selected the Transvaal Estate Files.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-04-38-pm

From here, I clicked on “Browse through 191,580 images“.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-04-47-pm

Then I selected the appropriate year of 1959.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-06-15-pm

That led me to a screen filled with file number ranges.  My file number was further down the page so I scrolled down.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-06-51-pm

I am looking for file number 3681 which falls into the very last number range of 3660-3736.  I clicked that range.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-07-03-pm

Now I am essentially looking at digital microfilm.  You can see that first image has a large stamped code of “3660/59”.  I am looking for 3681 which is only 21 files later.  I left this page on the “thumbnail” view and scrolled down until I could see the first page of file 3681.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-2-08-49-pm

There is my file on the third row, far left.  I can now click on the thumbnail to view the first image of my file.  Then I click the little arrow in the black menu bar to arrow through the file.  What I discovered was a 5 page estate file.  Page one is the cover sheet.  Page two is the death notice.  Pages three and four are William and Christina’s will.  Page five is “Acceptance as Trust of Executor”.

Just to give you a little taste, here is the death notice for William.

wise-william-1959-estate-file-2

From this record I learned so much new information!  I added a birthplace in Scotland of Trenent, age at death in years and months (which helped me narrow down a time frame for birth), address at time of death, date and place of death, and the names of William and Christina’s 3 children (including their daughter’s married last name).

Finding this file got me really excited to see John and Christina’s Estate Files.  I moved those microfilm right to the top of my BYU list.  On my next visit I ordered both microfilm and hoped for the best!

Was I finally going to learn when and why John Boles went to South Africa?

 

…to be continued…


12 Comments

Jerry, the Super-hero Indexer

gg, i heart indexers

In February of 2014 I wrote several posts all about indexing.  I even issued an indexing challenge.

Indexing is a vital part of the amazing increase in accessible genealogical records.  We ALL benefit from indexers.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for indexers and their service.  But that soft spot grew to bursting this past November when I read an article about a man who had made it his goal to index 1 million records before he died.

Yep, you read that correctly, ONE MILLION records.

He didn’t quite make it.

His name was Jerry.  Jerry indexed 952,891 records before his death on 6 November 2016.

952,891 records!!!

 

Jerry’s family members are planning to index the remaining 47,109 records in his memory.

Well.

After reading that, my indexer-loving-genealogy-obsessed heart just couldn’t take the amazingness of Jerry’s service without rededicating itself to more indexing.  I didn’t start out with any particular goal in mind, I just decided to index when it worked.

I am guessing that anyone who was conscious at the time, will remember the American turmoil that was going on the 6th of November 2016 and that still continues.  Because of all of that, I was watching the news A LOT more than usual, and still do.  Do you know what you can easily do while watching the news?  Index.

In November and December I indexed about 3,500 records.

When I looked at my stats recently I decided to set a goal for 2017 to index 6,000 records.  I know it’s a far cry from a million, but it’s SO MANY MORE RECORDS than I usually index.

As a genealogist who relies on indexers, I express my deepest thanks to Jerry.  Thanks for his service and for his example and how it has inspired me.

Thank you Jerry!

 

Do you index?  If you want to join the party you can index for many different organizations.  Find one you like and pitch in.  Every little bit helps.

 

You can read more about Jerry here.

gg - indexing superhero - small

PS – This post is not meant to make any sort of political statement or imply anything about my own political leanings.  I love people SO much more than politics.  Vote however you feel comfortable, worry about the state of our nation however you choose, I love you for you, not for your voting preferences.  🙂


14 Comments

FamilySearch Book Scanning Service

Title Page - FWE Book

Title Page for a Family Record Book kept by my 2nd great grandfather Frederick William Ellis.

Among the many cool things in the boxes that belonged to my grandmother was a Family Record Book that her grandfather had kept.  It has a bunch of information that I already knew but it was handwritten by my 2nd great grandfather.  Such a treasure!  And while I say that it is information that I already knew, I think the important thing here is that he actually knew many of these people personally so his record will contain hidden gems that may help answer questions.

Like most of my genealogy adventures, I try to digitize and share what I find in a way that is useful for my family members.  Only one person can physically possess this book at a time but I certainly don’t want it’s existence to only benefit me.

That’s where FamilySearch comes in to help me out.  They offer a free book scanning service during RootsTech.  So I took my book along to RootsTech and had it scanned for free.  That book is now digitized and available on FamilySearch under the “Search” tab in the “Books” collection.  You can find it here.

If you have a book that is not under copyright, or a book that you own the copyright to, or a book that is under copyright but you get signed permission from the copyright holder, you can take that book to RootsTech and have it scanned.  A very cool service.

Additionally, FamilySearch will accept donations of items like journals, family Bibles, compiled histories and so on.  You can stipulate in your donation that they must scan the item and make it publicly available and they will!  The item will then be stored appropriately and can be viewed in person by family members at the Church Archives building.  This is a great option if you have an old item that is in danger of deterioration or if you have special family items and no one to care for them after you pass.  They have different storage methods including very cold storage that they use to help preserve really old items.  In fact, if your item is stored in one of these cold storage areas you have to make an appointment to view your item well in advance so they can slowly bring it to room temperature for your viewing.

I am so grateful for the many free services FamilySearch offers that help me to make my genealogy work available to my family members in a free and easily searchable way.  This book is a treasure and now it can be treasured in every household that descends from Frederick William Ellis and not just in my home.

Here is one last image from the book.  It’s the family group sheet for Frederick and his wife Susan, written in his own hand.

FWE & SKD family group sheet

 

Happy Wednesday.  I hope you make an amazing genealogy discovery today!

 

Note:  I could only find the information for donating items that are relevant to LDS church history.  I know that FamilySearch accepts donations of other items and stores them properly and digitizes them, I just couldn’t find the appropriate link in the time I have…  I’m off to pick up a preschooler.  If you are interested in this info let me know and I will track it down.


5 Comments

Browse Collections on FamilySearch

Arsene

Marriage record for my 4th great grand aunt Marie Arsene Duval.

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:

arsene - bad

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:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.04.19 PM

 

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:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.05.09 PM

 

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:

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.05.37 PM

 

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.

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.06.03 PM

 

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.

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.06.12 PM

 

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.

 

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.06.23 PM

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):

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.26.55 PM.png

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.33.43 PM

 

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.

 

Bonus tip:

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 9.39.30 PM

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?