Monday, September 24, 2007

Tombstones and Wiki's

Tombstone Inscriptions

We often talk about viewing and posting headstone photos in our family history research. However, most cemetery records do not involve websites with just photos of headstones. They are lists of tombstone inscriptions gathered by volunteers around the world and posted on the web. If you haven't searched for these records before, try it today. Simply use your favorite search engine and enter the simple search parameters: "tombstone inscriptions" and include the location you are searching. You may use a city, county name, state, province, parish, etc., in your search string.

As an example, a Google search for "tombstone inscriptions" + "new hampshire" resulted in 955 hits which list thousands of tombstone inscriptions in New Hampshire. If you don't find listings for 'the' cemetery you hoped to find in a search that included a city name, broaden the search by to a county or even the full state. The same logic is true if you have used the name of a cemetery in your search and aren't successful. Back out a step and loosen the search parameters to the city, county or state level and try again.

Don't rely on just one search engine in your quest. Use several of them and review their varied results.

What's New In Family History Indexing?

Hopefully you are one of the index volunteers or soon will be. The current list of records that are now being indexed shows that the indexing is increasing in scope. They include state and federal census records, marriage and death records and Mexican, Belgian and U.S. records. The increasing international diversity is evident in the mix. Haven't signed up to be an indexer yet? Do it now by going to the registration site. Remember, helping with the indexing is one form of 'Paying It Forward'.

How Will I Find Help Using The "New FamilySearch"?

The assistants at all branch family history libraries have or are receiving training in the tools associated with the New FamilySearch. They, combined with family history consultants in every LDS ward, will be able to help you gain the skills to maximize your research skills with the new tools. New FamilySearch is already rolling out in various locations in the world and will continued in measured steps worldwide. The last location to be activated will be the Wasatch Front area of Utah in mid-summer 2008.

Additionally, a new Wiki is being added to FamilySearch to help all of us. The new FamilySearch Wiki will function much the same as
Wikipedia. Users and experts will populate the pages with postings covering the knowledge and skills they've obtained in their own ancestral quest. You can be one of the contributing authors to this online knowledgebase, so start jotting down your entries now.

Take a little time and page through the initial postings and then jump to Wikipedia to get the flavor of a mature Wiki. I think we'll see FamilySearch Wiki turn into one of the greatest family history research tools on the web.