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What Does the Camera Mean on FamilySearch Historical Record Collections?

By Jan Edwards If a FamilySearch Historical Records Collection has a camera by the title, it means there are images. If this collection has a search window, it means it has or is being indexed. When you type the name you are researching into the search window and nothing comes up, make sure you check to see if the collection has been completely indexed. For instance on the Historical Record Collection List (where you can browse all the FamilySearch Collections), the Alabama Estate Files, 1830-1976 has a camera so we know there are images. The total records are 25,297. That is really a small number in most cases. Click on the title, and scan down to the lower part of the page. You will see

Key to Online Researching: Keep on Clicking!

By Jan Edwards Many collections we have access to have more than one image/page and many second images/pages are missed. Take the great collection that is on FamilySearch for free access including the image called the WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration. If you were male, and you were born on or before April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897 you had to register for WWII. If you would like to know more about this collection, FamilySearch Research Wiki has a great article that explains why older men had to register! WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Here is image one for Fred Herman Raterman, this record is beautiful! It gives his full name, where he lives, his address, his age, h

Finding Evidence of Slavery in the Family

By Robin Foster Photograph taken by Robin Foster Have you ever wondered how to determine if there was an enslaved person or a slaveholder in your family history? You may lack the understanding of how to do that type of investigating. Whether your ancestor was enslaved or owned slaves , in a series of posts I will share the first resources that you should check: oral history census records wills vital records records on hand Oral history Does anyone recall your family having or being servants? Did ancestors seem to have close ties with people of the opposite color? If your ancestor had or was a servant, was your family acquainted with other members of their family? How did you come to know

Pick a Word to Begin Your Story

By Jan Edwards We love to find stories of our families we are researching. It is so exciting to find a good story. I found the WWI Draft Registration on one of my great grandfathers and it said he was missing his left hand. I asked my mom did she know that and she said “Yes, he was hunting and used the gun as a cane and blew his hand off.” "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Aug 2014), Washington > Yakima County; H-Searle, Charles W. > image 4048 of 5763; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Admin

Speed Limit 65

By Jan Edwards I was recently on a road trip, and in Oregon the speed limit on the Interstates is 65. I always drive the speed limit, get in the car, set the cruise control at the speed limit, and head out. I noticed on several trips and this one recently that I think I’m the only one driving 65, either that or my cruise control is busted. It looks like I’m sitting still, car after car flying by me and the thought came to me “Why are we in such a big hurry?” One time I was driving and there was a train crossing; just as I was getting close I saw the “ARM” starting to block the crossing, and I thought “I am not waiting for this train.” I drove 7 miles to get around it! The other day we went t

Why Me?

By Jan Edwards I’ve been working in the Family History Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints since March of 1994. It has been a great experience, met lots of great people, helped lots of great people and learned lots of great things. One of the most interesting things when a person new to the Center comes in they ask a question, “Where do I start?” I look at them and say “with yourself.” The next statement is always the same, “why me?” I say the same thing each time, “why would you want to start anywhere else?” They then state isn’t that like just re-inventing the wheel? We usually get into this discussion, “yes, but my great aunt did so much of ours already.” And again,

Genealogy in Balance Versus Juggling

Robin Foster standing in front of the grave of grandmother, Ora Foster (1899-1971), in Mount Glenwood Cemetery, Illinois. By Robin Foster My connections to the past have become a large part of my identity. Every piece I find reveals more about my own potential. When you have been bitten by the genealogy bug, I have learned that it is so important to make sure you remain in the land of the living. People can tell if you are juggling other responsibilites at the same time or if you really have everything in balance. Sometimes I have had so much going on at once that I have had to step away from everything to weigh my priorities and make sure I am spending time on the most important things i

Death Certificate Tells Unknown's Fatal Story

Let’s take this death certificate I found today (located at the bottom of this post) while searching in South Carolina. It seems to be pretty disappointing if you found it, no name, no parents, but it does tell a story. The date was August 28, 1915 in a city called Mullins in Marion County, South Carolina. To the best of his knowledge the Section Master W. P. Martin informed the county that a negro man, a tramp, no known family, and not known in the community, died today in a tragic accident. The victim lived long enough to tell his story, “about 1 am I took refuge under a box car to get out of the weather.” He then fell asleep. This act ended up being the cause of death as he was crushed by

What Chocolate Taught Me About Family History

Actual photo of the creations at: The Great Unbaked By Jan Edwards Imagine this chocolate truffle, can’t you physically start tasting it before you even pick it up! All of your senses come alive, you SEE the experience you are about to have, you HEAR it come out of the box in anticipation, you SMELL the aroma as it comes close to your nose, you TOUCH that lovely chocolate between your thumb and pointer finger, you raise it to your mouth in anticipation of the TASTE, the saliva starts running, and the “I LOVE CHOCOLATE ENDORPHINS” are alive! At work we call this “You are now enjoying the experience!” Two days a week I disappear from being online, I work with a great bunch from “The Great Unb

Choose Your Place to Connect to Genealogy! Just Ask!

We are on all the major social media networks, so you can connect to us in all your favorite places. Ask a research question or share your successes with us! Also, please invite your friends. Facebook Group - Genealogy! Just Ask! Facebook Page - Genealogy Just Ask Twitter Profile - @GenealogyAsk Google Plus Page - Genealogy! Just Ask! Google Plus Community - Genealogy! Just Ask! Pinterest - GenealogyAsk LinkedIn Group - Genealogy! Just Ask! Skype: Genealogy! Just Ask! - Send a request to be added to our Skype research group to or We need your username for Skype.

Indexers Rock!

By Jan Edwards Thank you INDEXERS! You ROCK! Today was a day of appreciation towards those that spend countless hours indexing! That is one tough job! Every time we go to a search window and type in a name we need to say “THANK-YOU INDEXERS!” Without their dedication and constant work we would not be able to just “TYPE IN A NAME.” We would be ordering in film, looking at reel after reel one image at a time, searching and searching for the names we are seeking. Those unindexed film are called “BROWSE IMAGE ONLY” collections now. Some of the challenges the indexers face are…Smeared ink, missing ink, too much ink, water stain over part of the name, part of the page missing or torn, script handw

Power of Two Plus You!

By Jan Edwards After the most amazing month of working as a “power of two,” Robin Foster and I have decided to work together to assist, teach and train others through out the world! A couple of months ago I was wanting to create a Facebook page and needed a catchy name, instantly the words “Genealogy, Just Ask!” popped into my mind. We have decided to keep this name and do just that, let other’s ask questions, work together and see if we can’t find the help needed to answer the questions. We hope many will benefit from this “teamwork!” One person cannot know everything, but everyone can know something. Put great ideas together and you can accomplish so much more then struggling by yourself

Found the death certificate, now what?

By Robin Foster Where should you look after finding your ancestor's death certificate? It can be difficult to discern how to use the clues that you find. Apply the following ideas gleaned from the death certificate on the left to discover more about your ancestor. 1. Search for Charles Arnold on the census in 1920, 1910, 1900, 1880 and 1870. Perhaps you will be able to find him living with his wife and children then with his parents and siblings as you move back each census year. 2. Record the names of Charles' children and siblings that you find on the census. Research them forward to the 1940 Census to see what you can learn about their families. 3. Check death records and the Soci

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