Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Records with images at FamilySearch

About every month or so the website updates their databases of records and/or images and most of those updates involve adding more records to their growing collection. The records come from people that are 'indexing' those records so that us genealogists can search for information more quickly. Sometimes the updates also include adding images along with records which for me is a must when doing research.

Last week they did a little of both and for the past couple of days I've been searching for records, this time around its marriage record IMAGES for Ohio which include ALL counties. I see only one drawback to this addition of records and images. Usually you can save the particular image to your computer's hard drive, which is what I do, and then can crop and print it later so that you don't get a whole page of dark space which uses all of your ink. But with the marriage record images it isn't so simple. I tried doing it that way and unfortunately the images are too big to crop in the program I have (a basic version of Adobe Photoshop) and even if I print them full size, then scan them and THEN crop it down to the specific record (since the images are two pages containing several records on each) they are just unreadable. What to do?

The FamilySearch website as the 'print' option already there and you can print a specific area BUT be careful when doing this because even if you get a nice close up of the record you want it doesn't mean that when you go to print you'll be able to read it. Also if the record is in the middle of either page OR its an early marriage record, the page itself won't have source information on it so you have to click back one page to where that information is and make a notation on the printout.

The later records, like those AFTER say 1900 contain much more information, including the parents names of both the bride AND groom and also whether they (either or both) have been married before and what the status of that marriage currently is. (Remember just because it says one party is 'divorced' doesn't mean its written in stone). The later records also offer occupations of the prospective couple, which is sometimes interesting if you didn't already know what they did for a living.

Some researchers think going over and over the same information is a waste of time but I don't think that's the case at all. Doing repeated searches for some individuals can in turn help you find more information and in some cases information you didn't previously know about, like occupations. It pays to going over it again especially when websites like FamilySearch add records that include images. Don't always rely on the indexed records as they aren't always complete especially when the image itself shows more.

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