Lesson 4

Workshop 4 - Large Databases and Census Case Study

Website Resources

What if the Records section of FamilySearch.org doesn’t have the information you need? Where else do you think you could go to find that information (or to find where the information is located)?

There are so many resources at our fingertips. No one resource has everything, but with your innate internet surfing ability, there is a lot out there that you can get easy access to.
 

One resource we will be discussing today are the census records. This video will help you understand why census records are useful for our research.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGR2ikS0XYc

·         What makes a census useful to family history research?
 

5 Step Research Process

All of the different websites we’re going to go over today fall under steps three and four of the 5 Step Research Process.

●      Step 3: Select Records to Search

●      Step 4: Obtain and Search the Records

In order to select records, you need to know what records are available, such as vital records, cemetery records, newspaper, and military records, to name a few.

In order to search those records, you need to know where they are available. Our goal today is to help you understand what other large databases are available to you as a BYU student and what kinds of information they have.

 

BYU Family History Library website: a launch pad for searching

http://lib.byu.edu/sites/familyhistory/

The BYU Family History Library is an incredible resource that is available to the BYU and the Provo communities. They have classes, digital databases, reference books, links, and a lot more. Take advantage of what they have to offer.

On the above website you will notice a “Important Links” menu on the right-hand side. This menu has links to a lot of very useful databases. Many of them require a paid subscription to use—a subscription that has been paid by BYU for BYU students and campus guests with an appropriate login when you are on campus. I would encourage you to explore the website in the “Links” menu on your own time. Today we will focus on just three of them.

 

LDS Partner Access

If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are eligible for a free subscription to MyHeritage, Find My Past, Ancestry, and American Ancestors. To sign up for this subscription, go to familysearch.org/partneraccess. Once there, you will see the four icons for the websites, and under them, “Join for Free.” You will have to sign up for each website individually, but once you have, you will be able to bypass this page and go directly to the websites, and will be able to sign in with the username and password of your choosing.

 

Large Paid Subscription Databases

 

MyHeritage

www.myheritage.com

●     MyHeritage is a large database similar to FamilySearch and Ancestry.com. However, like these other companies, they have some different record collections that could be useful in your research.

●     MyHeritage is a paid subscription website, but you get access to it for free on BYU campus or through LDS Partner Access.

●     You do NOT have free access on campus (however we do have free access to a similar website www.worldvitalrecords.com, which is owned by MyHeritage)

●     Start your searches broad and then narrow down.

●     MyHeritage has a database for Family Trees. This allows you to attach records you’ve found in MyHeritage to the family tree. You can then make this tree public so other people can view and help expand the tree.

●     Known for ‘record matching’ (When you upload a tree, it can begin to find new record matches to attach to the tree).

●     Uses categories (given off the right side of the main search screen) for filtering.

●     Contains a more world-wide set of records – based out of Jerusalem but NOT church-owned

 

 

Find My Past

www.findmypast.com / www.findmypast.co.uk

●     Another large database similar to FamilySearch. However, like these other companies, they have some different record collections that could be useful in your research.

●     Specializes in British Isles research (English company)

o     Still contains US records, as well as some other countries.

●     Paid subscription website

●     Comes with the LDS partner access.

●     You do have free access on campus (without signing in).

●     Start your searches broad and then narrow down.

 

 

American Ancestors

americanancestors.com

  • Another large database similar to FamilySearch. However, like these other companies, they have some different record collections that could be useful in your research.

·         Specializes in Colonial America.

·         Paid subscription website.

·         Comes with the LDS partner access.

·         You do not have free access on campus.

·         Start your searches broad and then narrow them down.

 

 

Ancestry.com

http://www.ancestry.com

●      Large database like FamilySearch.org, but it’s a commercial company and it has some different record collections.

●      Paid subscription site, however, if you are using BYU internet you have free access (ancestryinstitution.com).

●      Comes with the LDS partner access

●      Start your searches broad and then narrow down.

o      Wild card searches (An asterisk (*) will fill a number of gaps with any possible endings while a question mark (?) will substitute any single letter that might show up in that place)

o      Census searches down at the bottom

●      You can determine what collections Ancestry.com has by going to their “Card Catalog” and searching key terms (such as state name and record type) in the keywords box, e.g. England Marriages

●      Ancestry has a database for ‘Member Trees.’ Similar to Family Tree in FamilySearch but it has different features and links especially to Ancestry. (FamilySearch connections available: can transfer information to FamilySearch from Ancestry, but can’t go the other way other than initial 4-5 generation upload at beginning of free subscription)

o      You can also make this tree public so other people can view and help expand the tree.

 

●     Why is it smart to check all of these different websites when researching a family?