Genealogists who follow the Genealogy Proof Standard are told to conduct a reasonably exhaustive search.

How does the full-text search of some land deeds and probate records at FamilySearch impact that? At this point, using the FamilySearch full-text search of these records simply helps the researcher to find some things–pulling some more low-hanging fruit from the tree. That’s not bad. There’s no doubt that it can help one find things in places one would never have looked or in records that are unindexed.

It’s great to be able to find references to a person buried in the list of payments from an estate or in a metes and bounds description to a piece of property. Those references before the full-text search would have been too time consuming to find before. But the old indexes still need to be searched. This search does not eliminate the need for searching land deed indexes that most locations created themselves manually when the records were originally created. Those grantor and grantee indexes still need to be accessed–and most are online at FamilySearch if the deeds themselves are.

But do not indicate that you’ve manually searched every page of records from a location when that is not what you have done. Indicate that items have been located using the full-text search of those records at FamilySearch. We do not cite records that we do not use and we should not suggest that we’ve done searches that we have not done.n

If I’ve found things using the keyword “rampley” and filtered my results to Hancock County, Illinois, (as shown in the illustration), I should track that in my research log. I also think it should be noted in any discussion of items found. One reason for that is that these indexes may not be static.

Other considerations:

  • What records are actually indexed in the full-text index.
  • What searches were conducted for variant renderings of names.
  • What search parameters were used other than names (if any).

Searching the FamilySearch card catalog can give you an idea of what land or court records could be in the full-text search at this point. Keep in mind that some record holders may not allow you to view their records from home.




No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Recent Comments