Genealogy and history books

A great chat tonight about what books we use as part of our family history research.

What are your favourite genealogy/family history books? Share the names and the focus of the content eg Ireland, Australia, NZ Do you read books about where your ancestors lived? Fact or fiction?

I take Surnames of Ireland by MacLysaght, @Irish_Genealogy‘s book & Brian Mitchell’s Genealogical Atlas of Ireland off my shelf most.

Taming A Plateau .. A History of the Beechmont District #GoldCoastHinterland #Queensland My mother and father met in the Beechmont area, my Dad was teaching, and Mum came home to her family on the mountain for the weekend.

Haven’t been reading much at all from books recently so, this evening I will be looking for good ideas (and either this question is early or my clock is wrong!)

Depends why I am researching – for a biography I will certainly check out books and websites about the area they lived in and why they might have moved there.

I use a book written about my husband’s mother’s family from Cornwall to Southland. It is good for giving who the families are, but the dates are not always accurate – and people are missing.

For my family there are a couple of useful books. Sailors and Settlers. Migration from Nova Scotia to Waipu, Northland. Many of my father’s family in that. And my mother’s features in Guardian of the Valley, the story of Christ Church, Taitā, Lower Hutt.

I just ordered a book on Bruff, Co. Limerick yesterday, where one ancestral family came from. It’s local history but interested to see the names of families, etc.

I have books relevant to my history. Victoria University of Wellington: 1899 – 1999. Away from Home: The Story of Victoria House. The WEL Herstory: Women’s Electoral Lobby in NZ 1975 – 2002. Plus reports and brochures. Plus reports I wrote on history.

I used to read a lot of historical novels … can be useful for getting a flavour of time and place.

I usually find the book I am reading is my current favourite. I know many of the books I read should be used more as reference books however by reading the whole book I think I absorb more FH knowledge and therefore skills.

My favourite genie/FH books relate to the places my ancestors came from, Irish history mid-19th century, the Irish Famine, Immigration/Emigration. You can see my favourite books on my blog at

so many books to choose from. I’ll be posting some photos. The first book Phillimores is probably very predictable. And Grenham’s is a testament to fine scholarship.

Here’s a couple more. The Digging for Diggers is wonderful for researching military ancestors in Australia. And Nick Vine Hall’s book is probably a bit old now but still useful.

These next two are great reference books I picked up 2nd hand. Evidence Explained helps me when I’m citing my sources and the Mechanical Eye is great for photo research in Australia.

The Featherston Chronicles: A Legacy of War has information about my father’s role in the prisoners of war riot at the Camp in Featherston. He was on the roof with a rifle and fired shots at the rushing throng. He testified at the Enquiry.

Farewell my children by Richard Reid is one of my favourites, Oceans of Consolation (Fitzpatrick), Dorfprozelten Teil II has been invaluable for the Bavarian immigrants from that village. Argyll 1730-1850 (McGeachy) Robert Dunne (N Byrne).

I used to read historical novels too. Philippa Gregory is one of my favourites. Which reminds me I have one that is unread sitting somewhere.

Nick Vine Hall was my first FH book.

Made my think how useful the local societies are great for having a range of books to read. Especially local books. Reading the books / references @MargLBailey has been mentioning brought this to mind and made me realise how you can be far from home.

I think photography books are so useful and among my most frequently used books.

I particularly liked Is history fiction by Curthoys and Docker.

Some of my collection of genealogy books here

One of the first FH books I bought was Pauline Litton’s Pitfalls and Possibilities in Family History Research. Have bought so many books since then! Gibson Guides great for English records, Grenham for Irish.

Walter Macken’s books a set during the Irish Famine are evocative.

AND the books I read most are those I download from the Internet Archive, Google Books, etc on clan and family histories. I have quite a few I consult often. Wonderful they are available and free.

I have quite a few of the ‘Tracing your…’ books which I have as Kindle versions. I tend to use as reference mostly. I don’t really get time to read much these days, except at bedtime when I just fall asleep…

May I recommend a #Book for those researching Ontario Ancestors… Genealogy in Ontario 4th Edition by Brenda Dougall Merriman…

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How do you find your next great genealogy/history read? Are you in the process of writing your family history in a book? What format will you use?

In the good old days I found interesting books at conference book stalls and speakers books. Now I read mostly online – not really proper books – sometimes white papers, sometimes blog posts. I usually save them and read later.

I am slowly writing my autobiography. I need to get serious about doing it. I write notes when I think of a topic. I haven’t decided how I will stick it together. I have a lot of material in spreadsheets and documents to use. I need a professional editor.

I listen to podcasts – family history – e.g. the Genealogy Guys and ABC’s Bookshelf and read genealogy mags. That’s usually more than enough suggestions.

Years ago I thought I might like to write about about the experiences of a working woman. Never got over thinking I would like chapter 6 to be called Boys Talk. All about how in a meeting some people do not listen and present others ideas as theirs. Decided that I should get over being so bitter about corporate life and get on doing things I loved doing. Is not doing genealogy so much better?

currently taking a shortcut to writing a family history and using photos with captions to make a #familyhistory photobook

I like the idea of themes with autobiographies unless there is an overarching theme over the decades.

I published my Kunkel family history in hard back. I can’t believe that’s nearly 20 years ago. I have two in drafts that need a lot of updating and editing. My energy levels aren’t what they were, sadly

the Hazel Edwards ones have some good ideas

Not that I have any experience writing books – I think that a good editor can help bring it all together. You have interesting topics. Not sure if anyone has written a history of computing in NZ especially from someone on the ground at the time. Interests me.

This Friday I am helping some people start writing their family stories on a blog.

I have mainly been reading fiction from authors like @NathanDGoodwin and others recommended in the facebook group for genealogical authors

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How do you manage your personal library of digital or hard copy books? Do you mainly purchase your research/reference books or borrow from a library?

Mine are all in my Kindle App in Collections. I also add them to Zotero, which you can do straight from Amazon with one click. I have one folder for the books I’ve bought and another one called ‘Wishlist’ 🙂

If I wanted to start cataloguing all the books I have at home, what would you recommend I use online?

Zotero. There is a Chrome Extension that if you are on the Amazon page for your book you can add all the details with one click. You can add tags/notes and file the entry in multiple folders at once without duplicating it. And its free! And backed up in the cloud! I love it. I use it for my books, but also for all my saved resources eg conference handouts, blogposts. Can file in multiple folders and add tags for easy search/retrieve.

Definitely as you can choose which library or organisation has done the cataloging, books with barcodes can be scanned in via app, great search interface too all free for personal use 2 posts here…

Libib is the app he used for his 3000 books . Delighted with it

I have my books on LibraryThing but fear it’s sadly out of date. I note on GoodReads whether the book I’ve read is my ebook, a library book or on my shelf.

I like to buy ref books. Historical fiction from library or Kindle. Dithering over Advanced Genetic Genealogy though. The library has a copy which I’ve read, but at €50, I’m not sure how much use to have on the shelf when the tech is changing so fast.

I have the Bettinger books but not this one. They are useful for understanding the background and how it helps your FH.

Plus so much is online and with a complicated topic smaller bites of material is sometimes easier.

One of the reasons I like digital is that we used to move lots. We used to have large, heavy solid wooden book cases. One day I donated most of the books to the book sale at the school fete. Since then we share most books and keep a few special favourites.

My books in their location are all on a ssheet. Most are very old. I don’t buy hard-cover now. I’m trying to get rid of them, but it’s hard. I gave my children books (1940s/50s) to my nephew for my g-niece this year. Digital in folders by topic.

I love old children’s books too – Violet Needham and Nina Bawden, Arthur Ransome and of course the ubiquitous Enid Blyton.

I still have all my old children’s books – Enid Blyton, Malcolm Saville, W E Johns, C S Lewis, Agatha Christie, Dick Francis 🙂

I find it easier to read paper books, but I need to downsize. I don’t often borrow from the library. I don’t have time to read them.

I am a crime/police procedural tragic. Authors and books I’ve loved for years: Tara French, Michael Connelly, the Rebus books. Have recently discovered the Louise Penny series about Inspector Gamache. Also an excellent book by @damyantig You Beneath Your Skin.

I read both hard copy and digital books. With the latter I always have them with me, can look up places or words easily. I also find them easier to read an night.

I mainly go for digital books now as I can read them any place anytime. I do like reading old novels so they download for free. Plus I have the bad habit of reading multiple books at a time. I can even leave a book for a year or so and go back to it.

I find Kindle is easier for my bad eyesight now, being backlit and can increase font size. I struggle with normal books these days. Also, I always have access to my entire library wherever I am.

I usually buy hard copy books for reference reading but also love that I can buy digital copies for some. I am a fan of highlighting and adding comments to my reference books

mainly digital nowadays and try to remember to add them to my LibraryThing account other wise I might buy twice or indeed read Historical fiction, my favourite genre twice

I tend to borrow historical fiction from the library, and buy non-fiction (usually hard copies, but Kindle versions if necessary/impatient!)

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Are you an avid reader? What other genre do you favour? Share some authors or titles we can read. Share your favourite reading spot (photo or words) and maybe a pic of your To Be Read pile. Favourite tipple or snack while reading.

Not since I found online genealogy. Reading has almost disappeared from my life. I’m busy trying to solve the next DNA match or find the next record!

golden age detective fic, crime, fantasy. Anything really. TBR pile is largely non-fic, that I haven’t been in the right mood for!

yes, avid reader of historical fiction and lately Australian rural fiction, light stuff but fun. Chocoholic. Digital, digital Local library has BorrowBox and Libby – the genealogy/ family history magazines are all available in Libby

Good reminder to look at the FH mags at the library, thanks Carmel. I have mixed luck finding what I want for books at the library.

These days, when I read, I read for information and, more often than not I hunt down what I want to find online. I haven’t bought an actual book for a while

I used to be more so – used to read about 3 books a week. I love crime, historical mystery stories eg Paul Docherty. fantasy eg Robin Hobbs. Loved the Outlander series.

I read for at least an hour most mornings. It’s usually news or FH news looking for something to share on Caloundra Family History FB page. I often get distracted, say down a scientific DNA paper & have remember to come up for air. I might try a book tomorrow.

Jennifer Jones recommended this book a while ago. On my TBR list. Writing True Stories by Patti Miller .

Readers: Maybe you would like to answer the final question and leave a comment on this post.

State records and archives

Tonight’s twitterchat was about the state records and archives in Australia and New Zealand.

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What are some of the best locations to visit for finding Australian and New Zealand government record collections and why? (Ed. check blog sidebar for links to these locations)

I love the National Archives, Qld State Archives and NSW State Archives. I haven’t visited in person though since Covid began but hoping to soon

In Tasmania, definitely @LibrariesTas as they have both archives and records on the one website including many government departments

Guide to records found at archives @LibrariesTas…

@LibrariesTas there is also a reading room where you can see some original documents but need to book in a session due to Covid. Also includes a National Archives archivist to answer your questions from there

Many old Tassie convict and other official records have ended up in state library in Sydney. Don’t get me going on that one!

I have only visited a few – namely Queensland State Archives which I would think is pretty close to state of the art. I enjoyed NSW State Records Office the last time I visited at Kingswood and of course the National Archives in Canberra.

@nswarchives is the archive I’ve visited most often. Go in winter; avoid the snakes. Why visit? For the divorce & criminal records, not available online, and especially to see the archivists. Delightful, helpful people.

Archives NZ has four offices across the motu: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Each hold records for their region, with Wellington holding national goverment records. Their website has some good research guidance:…

I like the Archives in Wellington, NZ however with the lack of travel across the ditch with COVID restrictions it could have changed lots since I last visited. I think I like it because it was the first archive I visited regularly.

And I wonder now what will happen for non-NZ visitors, as the reader cards have been ditched, and you need to log on and order with RealMe.

I suppose I will have to figure that out however I am still not over the loss of Archway. I found it so much easier and much quicker to find things so do not go online that much at all currently. Archway was a favourite rabbit hole but not anymore.

My most often used collection is NZ BDM Historical Records. Sometimes I use Archives New Zealand, but not often. Not doing much NZ work at present as I am solving a large Indiana, US group of DNA matches.

I’ve visited Victorian State Archives in Melbourne many times and National Archives in Canberra only once. I’d love to get back there

The staff can make a huge difference to an archive…that’s for sure. I’ve been very grateful for the outreach that QSA staff have been able to do in the past.

I still laugh at the time one of the NSW archivists called out “Brooke! Here’s your divorce!” and I thought, oh no, not again 🙂

Most heavily used are TAHO, State records in Kingswood and Public records in Melbourne because that’s where most of my ancestors were. All excellent in situ or online. A brief foray to Adelaide was shall we say … interesting

With my family tree firmly grown in Qld soil, the Qld State Archives is my favourite, and most used archive.

I have only visited one SA at Cavan a suburb of Adelaide Think one needs to live in a capital cities to visit any of them.

PROV In Victoria. I found family land records. So cool touching records that my ancestors also had their hands on.

NSW State Archives is also a great source of info for me Re some of my side interests incl German and Irish. I’m especially fond of their deceased estate records.

If you have early Qld ancestors sometimes they will be found in the NSW State Archives from before separation

Another excellent archive is the Australian War Memorial. Very helpful to have archivists to explain all those pesky military abbreviations.

I visited back when the printouts and images were on that heat-type paper. Reading unit reports there vs online now. Now so much is digitised.

@nswarchives is my favourite and home archives, mostly for divorce papers and deceased estates. So much to glean from these records.

I also love that QSA is open one Saturday a month for those of us that work. It was a lifesaver when I was working. You can’t always choose your RDO to suit yourself.

I forgot local council archives are great too. So Brisbane City Council archives have great staff and really interesting records

Many a day I have spent at the Brisbane Council Archives Alex researching house histories. I should have frequent flyer points by now.

There you go….perfect example. I think people who had ancestors on staff would find it interesting too. Some local councils make their info available through their library service e.g. cemetery info or rates info.

While focusing on Govt archives, it’s worth remembering there are church archives with amazing info, incl details of marriages or baptisms. Some are v helpful and open, others less so, but worth checking out.

I probably use NZ Historical BDMs the most … Also Archives NZ Collections

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What preparatory strategies do you use to make the most of your visit to an archive?

I always research online before I visit an archive and note the numbers of each item I want to order in person. It saves so much time to be organised before you get there.

Agree. All my favourites involve interstate travel so I always have a long prioritised list of what I want to look at and order up material in advance where possible

I investigate their special collections ahead of visit. Pioneering or land records, for example. I then make a research list of what I need to find

If you plan to access more recent records, eg hospital, asylum, gaol records, you’ll need permission from a government dept. I’ve done this with the health dept & it was a little slow but not too painful.

The only problem is you probably need all the details before you request permissions. And they change the access sometimes too. Used not to be able to even see orphanage records, next thing they were digitised and online!

I’ve only experienced this with the Health Dept, getting access to asylum records of my great-grandfather. The main thing they wanted was to show kinship through line of descent. Who better to do that than a family historian? Simples.

Divorce Packets I bring some heavy cardboard corners to @nswarchives to try and flatten those buggers to photograph them.

Clarity about what questions I am seeking to answer/what information I am looking for (to avoid distraction and the likelihood of hiving off all over the place).

Check to see if they’ll be open when you visit and if you need to book first. Check if you need to bring any coins for lockers etc. Check what you can take in with you e.g. cameras/phones/pencils. See how far ahead you can order files in to the reading room.

Such practical tips, Alex. I do keep a $2 coin in my library tote. Can I add memory stick/USB drive to the list. Its good for getting image files from the camera PC in the corner (of NSW Archives).

SNAP. Although now I have a little bag hanging on the door handle of the study with all my QFHS Library/Archives ID stuff together.

I have a dog clip with a pile of library, county record office, archives, etc and my Oyster Card to keep them easy to find. I just need to remember where the safe place is when I need any one.

Mind you there are some that will only let you use USBs you buy from them, as happened to me in Edinburgh in 2019.

I did that – first time back after lockdowns etc and I forgot all my ID (staff were kind and understanding, thankfully)

FACT: I do not prepare extensively for archive visits. Typically I arrive, request something I know they will have and then search the catalogue for other interesting records while waiting for the record to arrive. I seem to remember this visit in 2012 I was only allowed one book at a time. Not sure if I ever covered the time I was checking out before closing. Must hunt out my old notes.

Becoming familiar with the catalogue for the archive you need the most is important, incl how to find previous reference details – I think QSA has had three iterations of record ID in my time.

When I visit an archive I like to check their times, whether they require a photo for ID, prepare a list of records I want to search and if possible, pre-order. Important to know if they’re onsite or need to be retrieved. And no matter how well you plan, you will always discover something at the last possible minute before closing.

Most of my Tassie stuff is done online otherwise I make sure I have ipad ready to take notes or photos whenever I visit an archive, also a USB in case I can copy directly from a spreadsheet etc

I try and keep a running list of things I want to see at a particular archive, so I’m fairly prepared, and then order as many documents up ahead of time as I can. For Archives NZ it is six – I’ll pre-order the largest items, and then order more once there.

Before a visit I always order records that I need to see. I rarely go for just one record. I try to look at multiple records to make the trip to the city worthwhile

I guess its obvious but order as many items as you can before you go. However, some items, like the criminal files, take a few steps through indexes & non-indexed records to get to the ultimate prize (grandfather’s rap sheet).

What records have you found in person at Archives that are not digitised? Are these records available to be copied or ordered?

Found ships papers which had more information than passenger lists, found gt gt grandfather complained about being charged for a shirt he did not need – predeparture conditions at Plymouth

I found crew lists for whaling ships and could make copies from microfilms

Personnel records, land selection docs and maps, original electoral rolls, prison admissions, petitions from 19th century. On and on. ❤️ Them all!!

I just have to wait for records to be digitised or pay someone else to visit.

My favourite personal find came from an index of Qld’s earliest equity court files. My 2xgreat grandfather was a witness and the docs told me he was a pork butcher on Tooloom goldfields even though his family was in Ipswich.

Divorce records, police & court files, but the most important (& emotional) records found so far are great-grandfather’s asylum records. His records, combined with a coroner’s report, revealed so much. I’m lucky enough to live “close”, didn’t need copyservice.

So much that’s not digitised and require looping back through layers eg Colonial Secretary’s papers.

PROV Vic have digitised many of their records. It’s not necessary to visit archives as much as in the ‘old days

We are becoming spoilt with so much digitised Jennifer but it makes life so much easier.

It does, but lack real atmosphere of a records centre. Great for us though

Short answer: lots. eg letters and docs in the dreaded special bundles in NSW. SR NSW have a handy scanner patrons can use and I believe TAHO do now also. I Always end up taking lots of photos as well as making notes

Collections I’m mostly looking at in Archives NZ Wellington are Intentions to Marry notices and land records. They can be copied by staff, but it’s expensive. There is a ton of stuff not digitised still.

I am waiting waiting waiting until 2030 for a record in Archives NZ to be opened to find out why my grandfather went to jail. #ANZAncestryTime Hope I am still around!

I collected many probate documents at Archives NZ prior to them becoming available online. I understand The Notices of Intention to Marry are not online. Dissolution of Marriage/ Divorce/Petitions, etc for are not online and there are time restrictions

I found personnel records for my grandfather when he worked for the State Electricity Commission at the NSW State Records office which were very illuminating. I was allowed to take photos of them with my camera.

In my early research days nothing was digitised. Had to order ahead and get photocopies mailed to us. It was quite a slow process

I rarely visit in person as most stuff is online but when researching my Captain Smith who is no longer mine, I looked at ship crews on microfilm

Most records I find that are not digitised can be requested to be so online. Large items or very old ones might need to be viewed in person

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Share some of the best discoveries you have made in archival records?

My convict ancestor’s diary was quite a find at the Mitchell Library

My other shocking find at QSA was that my 2 x great grandfather had been left in an orphanage when his mother remarried and at age 12 was ‘sentenced to a hulk for 5 years in the Brisbane River for being neglected.” I cried.

If I ever did a PhD Sharn it would be on the orphanage my grandmother and her siblings were in and yes, the boy ended up on HMS Vernon or whatever it was called in Sydney…sigh. The children suffering the sins of the parents and all that.

It is very sad isn’t it Alex. Mine was especially sad because while he was in the Diamantina orphanage his mother had six more children

My most shocking find was a suicide letter left by MURDERER of a child in my family. File had obviously never been opened. On unfolding the letter flakes of dried blood fell out. Murderer was found dead next to the murdered child with the letter. These days The blood would def be evidence. He also had his English Birth certificate in his pocket. One day when I have time I will look for his ancestors and pass info on

One of my best moments was finding a pristine copy of my printer ancestors last pamphlet from 1849. No copy previously recorded. A prospectus for his absurd matrimonial agency for which he was mocked in the newspapers.

Thru Joan Rees index found a letter where he sent a copy in to Col Sec wanting them to buy copies & distribute to female immigrants. They declined of course but did not return the prospectus. Absolute gold

Best find was the Donegal Outrage papers relating to my Rebecca Jackson convict at @NARIreland when I visited 8 years ago. On my blog sidebar is a section researching Rebecca Jackson with all posts about my time in Ireland

Divorce records can provide insights into the marital situation though perhaps may be biased by the laws of the time eg one party being guilty.

Could be bias or could be that case had to be presented in such a way to get it through, particularly for a woman. I recall being struck by the court’s instructions that if the husband turned up in the next 6 months, Grandma’s 1950s divorce would be cancelled.

I’ve found a few divorces that I didn’t know about listed in the Archives NZ index. And with help from people here I found convict records which may be my family, my 2xgreat grandfather’s missing son.

One of my favourite discoveries was when I was researching a WW1 soldier named on our local war memorial. Ordered up a box of documents not knowing what was in it – found a photograph of him!

I am usually quite stiff upper lip but Archives have reduced me to tears – not of frustration (although it’s been close sometimes) but because of the subject matter and “hearing” their voice as it were or seeing their writing.

Reading the coroner’s inquest into my great grandmother’s suicide was like that, and her sister’s testimony. Incredibly sad and moving.

My grandmothers will leaving the Electrolux Fridge to my father. Love something not expected. Or seeing a catalogue card for my great-grand fathers passenger records.

I’m addicted to Inquest files. They have lots of unexpected info I love that the Vic Inquests are digitised. I Lose hours in middle of the night diving into them

I read inquest files for my research in the 1990s/2000s when you had to visit the Coroner’s clerk’s room and write notes from them on a laptop or on paper. I haven’t read any since then.

Court & police records from NSW archives revealed just how much of a rotter my biological grandfather was. Combine that with his army record from the Australian War Memorial, which revealed multiple courts-martial, the archives painted a sorry picture.

I think my best ever find was in the Kew archives where I discovered that my great uncle had an MI5 file on him …. a large one!

Actually Sharn yes I think finding that your ancestor was the subject of spying would be amazing. Particularly if there was still footage or photos of them going about their daily business.

It really needs to be a book one day Alex. He was way more than just a spy!

Inquests can reveal deaths that were never registered and the horrors behind the event. Coronial enquiries can also offer health insights eg my grandmother’s death from heart attack.

Following my great grandfather’s trial through court trial records, Gaol records and judge’s notebooks and subsequently into Law Journal. Newspaper reports can lead you to some of these cases and popular opinion but archives give the recorded detail.

Criminal records are often the most interesting aren’t they?

It’s probably always your first real record isn’t it? It’s hard to say it was “great” because it was so sad – an inquest I found once about an accident on a farm. I felt like I was in the court room as I read everyone’s testimony.

I discovered in NZ archival records that my maternal grandfather had gone to jail and that he used an alias. The record is closed so I am waiting to find out what happened …

It’s so exciting to see your ancestor’s signature and his/her involvement with issues of the day especially as the colonies were being established.

Discussing Family Search

Tonight’s  ANZAncestryTime twitter chat was looking at the website Family Search.

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Why do you use @FamilySearch for your family history research? What records do you find most useful?

Great resource to find what records are available inc non-indexed ones

I use FamilySearch for my British, German and Swiss research and for finding relatives in the US. Often I find records. Can’t find elsewhere.

I don’t use it as often as I should

I also like using FamilySearch for New Zealand probate records which are indexed and digitised.

Yes they are great. The digitisation is so much better than my lopsided photos I took in @ArchivesNZ years ago though I think I had out my Grandfathers probate the day he should have been scanned.

I don’t use Family Search as much these days as I did a lot of my detailed family research when we had to use FS microfilms. They were a fundamental part of my research.

FamilySearch is free although you have to register and it has a very good coverage of English parish registers.

Recently discovered the catalogue which is a great resource down to the county/parish level.

Good point Andrew that sometimes it’s still necessary to work through the digital version as if it’s a microfilm. Definitely exploring each available source for your place is important.

I mainly use familySearch for English Parish Records.

Yes, I’ve used them extensively for that as well as my Irish and Scottish parishes, back in the day. Invaluable.

I’ve found it helpful to search the catalogue by place and by keywords. The latter seems to work better for Irish townlands Griffiths etc.

I use them for NZ wills, England and USA Census records, whatever I can find. I look in the catalogue, but it is often not easy to find what I want.

FamilySearch has been the only place I found records for South America and the Grenadas and Jamaica. They were extremely helpful records for me

they have fantastic records on FamilySearch. I 💌their remote access research service. Today they sent me a copy of my 4th G-grandparents wedding registration.

That’s fantastic @AncestorDigger. I haven’t tried that but should since I haven’t been able to get to registered locations recently. Good tip!

It’s so easy, and quick! 4 days since I sent the request. WOW!

What they are not useful for are NZ births deaths and marriages as no dates are provided and records have mistakes.

I usually have Ancestry, Findmypast , FamilySearch and perhaps MyHeritage or The Genealogist open while I research. I search them all if I don’t find what I want on one site.

most recently for Registry of Deeds in Ireland and for some US research, particularly for formerly enslaved people. It’s most valuable to me for records not held by other providers e.g. S. African records and those Irish Registry of Deeds Indices

That’s interesting Tara. Do the names appear on the index that’s being worked on for the Register of deeds.

Do you mean the volunteer transcription project? Not for the names and places I was searching – that will happen in time. For now, I searched through decades of Grantor and placename indices to find reference details then ordered copies

The value to me was that I could search the indices from comfort of home in my own time, without COVID or opening time restrictions.

I’ve been using the images for the Registry of Deeds too. It’s time-consuming, but quicker than visiting the office!

Yes, exactly. You can do it at time/place that suits and their service in RoD @PRA_Ireland is excellent.

I haven’t needed to order a deed at all yet (mostly because I didn’t find anything!) but using the image indexes combined with the memorial images gives so much.

I used @FamilySearch for a few things like looking for passenger records for ancestors coming to New Zealand & looking for records I cannot find at other sites. FS results may even be linked to a site that does have it

I always use the wiki for suggestions of where to search, and I use FS for the digitised SA records

I used to like the map to find NZ records. Seemed quicker.

When I work with people at the library and they have research other than Australia NZ I always recommend the wiki on Family Search for suggestions of where to search

Recently heard about Ontario probate records on FS. Lots of coverage for Canadian records.

Familysearch is nothing short of revolutionary for Irish genealogy. They first put up a pilot index of the civil registration records in 2009 & it was a huge leap forward.… It’s actually been superseded by now in most cases, apart from birth indexes 1922-58, marriage indexes 1947-58.

I couldn’t have progressed my research so far without the @FamilySearch microfilms – I would peruse every film for every place of interest.

There have been great advances for #Irishresearch over the past 10 years of so. No longer the nightmare of extracting info from local societies or only in Ireland (though it made for a good holiday)

Those were the days Pauleen. The excitement when the film finally arrived! it definitely wasn’t instant but I do miss those days

If only my German village was available on @FamilySearch however the local history, and local historian, (plus visits) were invaluable to me.

I use it for Scottish research, both indexed and unindexed images. If the record you need hasn’t been digitised, you can request it. Also there’s a free consultation service…

I use them most for searching by parish – can narrow down on a place and see everything that is available for that location.

My friend @saytheirnamesIr talks about democratising access and that may not have been FS’s objective but it’s the result (although I wish they’d unlock some more records for general viewing)

I can’t tell you how often in researching #IrishSlaveholders I must go directly to records for the Slave Schedules and search there, because they do not automatically appear on searches for named/known slaveholders. Factual, historical info hidden by algorithms!

Access to records is a significant challenge for African American people and other marginalised groups. If records are hard to find it is so important for us as researchers to ask why? And then try to remedy the situation.

It is I think quite an amazing resource to have free to use. I have visited the FamilySearch Library in SLC a number of times and that is an incredible experience!!!

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Share smashed brick walls or discoveries found using @FamilySearch? Or what are you hunting for and have not found?

Found school records including prizes for Latin and published works from 1830 Academy in Edinburgh. Very exciting.

Harking back to the Microfilm days. My brickwall was my German ancestry. Told not to bother because of the war destroying records. Eric Koppittke said ‘rubbish’ so I ordered films and found gold!

Unfortunately back when I started I was told there were no Catholic Germans or from Bavaria by the GSQ expert at the time (NOT Eric). It took several certificates to prove him wrong. And yes, same story about the war for other’s research – wrong again.

I found the slave ancestors on the island of Carriacou for a friend who knew nothing of his heritage. That was a wonderful find. More than happy especially as I’d also found his biological father! A very happy friend

I discovered I have a pioneer Mormon great something uncle who was quite an interesting person.

I found the passenger records for when my grandfather came to NZ in 1909 prior to going back to England. Not a big find. I had a photo of an index card seen at NZ archives index cards though great to see the card details source. Another favourite find from @FamilySearch was

my great grandmother, Amelia Bretel passenger records. Originally from @ArchivesNZ. I found a potential sister & brother although still looking for Jersey census records to confirm relationships.

Found a gt grandfathers will where he left his land to his daughter, my grandmother

I have made contact with a few cousins through FamilySearch but the legwork has been done on Ancestry or MyHeritage with DNA matching. Just had to correct my 2xgreat grandfather on FS. Someone has muddled him with a person with the same name

My South African branch – was able to find out so much more about where they went and who their FAN was which has led me to intriguing connections back in Ireland

A recent breakthrough on @FamilySearch was finding the burial information for my great grandfather in Glasgow. Something I’d been hoping for over the years.

I like using digitised copies of parish registers because often the original register has more than the index. Two of my Price ancestors died in coal mining accidents in Staffordshire which were recorded on the parish register but not the burial index

Found school records including prizes for Latin and published works from 1830 Academy in Edinburgh. Very exciting.

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What have you used and found useful with other FamilySearch features such as Memories, the Wiki, Phone app, and more?

I use the Wiki a lot to look up what is available for a place and similarly the Catalogue because not everything is indexed on FamilySearch.

I find the tree a tad exasperating because of all the duplications and errors … worse still duplicated errors. I correct things from time to time but it can be a bit trying!

Ditto for me. Just have to accept it and focus on more productive research. I fix a few big errors usually at #RootsTech time to remove false “relatives at RootsTech” reporting.

Yep couldn’t agree more. I had entered my great grandmother and someone has her emigrating to New York. Family took me to see her shortly before she died in Sussex, UK 🙁

I often merge duplicates. Every child has a new set of parents, so one has to do a large number of merges. I pick them up through my Legacy tree. Then I connect families up as well. I often do a @WikiTreers family at the same time as a FS one

Yes, I’ve started doing this more. Finish research on someone then do FS and WikiTree. Not done many yet though

Ive done grandparents and great grandparents as biographies on blog then added to Wiktree, might need to also add to FS. But in blog I embed images and newspaper clippings. Harder to do in wikitree.

I almost forgot about Books! you’ve got to check out what is available there.

I often peruse the FS YT channel too they have gradually added many of the RootsTech videos

Now I look at it, I have used the Wiki. But I tend to go straight to the record set that I want to use rather than going through that site.

The @FamilySearch wiki is a place I check for information. It is wonderful for people like me that have not been researching for years. There is links to all types of content that can help with #familyhistory research.

Yes and it’s great when you suddenly find yourself researching in a completely new and unfamiliar area as has happened to me a few times

I’ve used the message facility, but it is unreliable as notifications do not always arrive to let you know there is a message. I haven’t used memories yet, but plan to load some of my @WikiTreers profiles when they are rechecked.

The @FamilySearch wiki is a place I check for information. It is wonderful for people like me that have not been researching for years. There is links to all types of content that can help with #familyhistory research.

I like the phone app for when I am out & about. Useful for #familyhistory discussions when needing to check something out. It’s easy to use. Also for events like Relatives at #RootsTech.

I love the Wiki. You just never know what you will find there. I have the app on my phone but don’t use it much. Mainly due to lack of travel over recent years

the most useful features on FamilySearch are the Wonderful Wiki, and the Tremendous Tree! Although the tree has some issues, it also has some gems…certificates, photos, obituaries and much, much more.

The tree can have issues but if you do your own research it can still connect you with others researching the same families

I’ve used the wiki for context on unfamiliar record sets but otherwise don’t use the memories/phone app stuff

I have used the Wiki, the phone App, Relatives Around Me during RootsTech, the catalogue, records and I transcribe when I can

I use the Wiki a lot to look up what is available for a place and similarly the Catalogue because not everything is indexed on FamilySearch.

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Are there any areas you would like FamilySearch to focus on for records or functionality, etc? Discuss…

I would like to see more records digitised and able to be seen at home. Going to a FamilySearch Library or an affiliate library is not always easy and you may have to book a spot and stop just when you find something

Does anyone go to a @FamilySearch library or Affiliate Library to follow up the sources not available at home? Do you have a good process to know what to follow up?

GSV is an Affiliate Library, but all the images I want to access are only at a Family Search Library 🙁

“Affiliate libraries have some limitations and may not have all the services of a family history center. There may be some FamilySearch Historical Records collections that may not be available.” From @FamilySearch…

Yes, Northumberland Parish Registers are available at FHCs but not Affiliate. I was a sad bunny the day I found that out.

That’s seriously weird as I used them extensively as microfilms years ago and they’re great because the bishop demanded extensive additional data.

The Diocese is very protective of them. Even at Northumberland Archives you have to practically guarantee them your soul to get a copy. For a while FS had unindexed copies of some but I think that was an error and they are gone again now

A reminder to download records when one sees them, here today, gone tomorrow

Caloundra Family History, on the #SunshineCoast, is one too. NZ and AUS lists at @FamilySearch……

I was horrified and disappointed to find that @FamilySearch had Papua New Guinea B&Ms online up to the 1980s. Not just indices, but the full details from the certificates. Legal compliance maybe, ethical to include so much on living people, I don’t think so

Especially in this day and age of identity theft. Too much info out there is not good.

I wish they had a report/improve facility for all records. I know that would take resource time to review/decide but some transcriptions are simply inaccurate.

I have edited some transcriptions where there is an edit button, all have been accepted

The ones I’ve been able to edit, I’ve done that but some of the worst mistakes are in records where that function isn’t available

It’s frustrating especially since less experienced researchers may either take the transcription at face value or miss that important record because of the transcription.

Stopping people changing the tree when there are sources attached to the person showing the correct information. Having a better process for correcting records. Better searching when dates are given. Not assuming everyone is American.

Control people just automatically adding hints/sources and people to trees because something looks OK Same problem with other big sites. Algorithms could check more logic. Eg born before parents born, in 2 places at once, and many more.

Yes @FamilySearch could tighten up their algorithm codes to be a little more sensitive. Seems like the current ones haven’t been updated lately. Phaps we the #Genealogy community should put the pressure on…

I would like FamilySearch to make it harder for someone to make changes to the tree when there are lots of sources already attached to a person. I’ve just had a consultation to ‘fix’ an improper merge as a result of an error.

Just a warning about Irish records on @FamilySearch right now there seems to be a back end glitch where the wrong county is assigned in the index so your search result might say Tullamore Co. Louth (instead of Co. Offaly). Have reported but not fixed yet

Don’t forget that a lot of those records are also available at