“Find a marriage on ‘FamilySearch’—It’s free and contains billions of names!” So begins the recent article by British research consultant, Marci Despain. Her inventory of tips for finding ancestral marriage records in the world’s largest genealogical archive appears in the recent issue of Inside History. The bi-monthly magazine features in-depth works about Australia and New Zealand's history and heritage.
In this special “marriage issue” of Inside History, Marcie explains that FamilySearch is a non-profit website maintained by the genealogical division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It’s free to use,” she writes, “with new records and collections added nearly every day.”
The article gives researchers strategies for efficiently finding information in the Church’s vast collection. Marcie suggests using two approaches--looking across the entire site by using search fields on the home page, and also delving into a specific collection.
She expertly leads the researcher step-by-step through both methods and gives helpful information along the way, such as why some marriages performed in Australia appear in the Ireland Civil Registration Indexes rather than in Australian collections. Similar tips open new possibilities for researchers who have hit a dead end in their pursuit of ancestral information.
Marci also explains:
· when to use or ignore the “Exact” match feature in FamilySearch
· why entering less information into the search can at times yield better results
· how to anticipate variations in the spelling of names
· why adjusting the time frame of marriages can improve results
· how changes in record keeping laws are reflected in search results, and
· how to manage place name changes
Further detailed instruction on using website features according to individual circumstances is included.
Marci Despain is a British research consultant for FamilySearch in its Family History Library in Utah.
Inside History is one of many publications available at newsstands that in recent months have featured the Church and its community services in response to the increasing attention being focused on Mormons.