A Faster, Easier Way to Find Collections on FamilySearch

Have you ever felt like FamilySearch doesn’t really want you to find specific collections or figure out what they have for a certain state? Consider the steps you they point you to taking:

  • Clicking the mapfamilysearch-map1
  • Scrolling through the list
  • Clicking on the state or “Start researching in <x>”

Then you end up at a page where there’s a mishmash of collections that are specific to that state along with nationwide collections. And the image-only collections aren’t even listed with the collections you can search.

Ohio Research Page on FamilySearch

Part of the Ohio Research Page on FamilySearch

There has to be a better way to find collections for a certain state. Guess what — there is.

The Faster, Easier Way

Instead of following the prompt to click on the map, click on the link under the map: “Browse All Published Collections.”

familysearch-map

familysearch-filtersYou’ll get a page that lists all of FamilySearch’s collections. You can use the filters on the left side of the page to narrow down the collections. But an even faster way is to type the name of the state in the box at the top.

FamilySearch includes the name of the state (or the country for non-U.S. collections) in the title of collections that are specific to a location. So when I want to see what they have online for Ohio, all I have to do is type in Ohio in that field.

Instead of a confusing page with all sorts of collections, I have one nice, neat list.

Ohio collections on FamilySearch

You can see the steps in action in this video:

12 thoughts on “A Faster, Easier Way to Find Collections on FamilySearch

  1. Good post, Amy. Crafty FamilySearch knows that I love maps, even if text-based searching will save me time… not anymore, FS! Amy has given me the bypass code, and I will no longer be sucked in to your little Cinnabon shop of spatial memory!

    • I love maps, too, Derek! That’s probably why it took me so long to really explore the “Browse all collections” link! BTW, you win the Best Analogy of the Day Award for “little Cinnabon shop of spatial memory”! (No prize except for bragging rights 🙂 )

      • Are there any specific tip available to Blacks who are searching for ancestors? I am assuming that there are some general ways common for all who search, but I believe there are some brick walls that are not so common. Can you address this?

  2. Are there any specific tip available to Blacks who are searching for ancestors? I am assuming that there are some general ways common for all who search, but I believe there are some brick walls that are not so common. Can you address this?

  3. There is one *gotcha* — if there are nationwide or regional collections that cover your state, they won’t show up if you put the state’s name in the search box or use the filters on the left-hand sidebar. E.g. if you have immigrant ancestors in Massachusetts or other New England states before 1906, you *will* want to search in the New England Petitions for Naturalization index that was created by the WPA.

    But this is a nice tip to find all the collections that have your state’s name in the title.

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