The STERRY One-Name Study is a project researching the genealogy and family history of all persons with the surname STERRY anywhere in the world.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Additions to familysearch.org

I am always amazed when I check the latest additions to the LDS Family Search website.

They must have an army of volunteer transcribers judging by the amount of transcribing and indexing that is happening. The site is a 'must check' on a regular basis.

In addition to the transcribing of source records and offering them on their website for free, the LDS are entering into sharing arrangements with a surprising number of commercial sites. The arrangement seems to vary from company to company and the material that is on their site is still free to view - it just may not be complete. You may need to pay something to their commercial 'partner' to obtain the full detail of a particular entry.

A good example of this is BMDregisters.co.uk. You can search and view enough of the entry to be useful but if the entry has particular interest and you want to see every detail available, then you'll be offered to link from the Family Search site to the BMDregisters site and buy some tokens to view it. This is actually pretty good value and an excellent arrangement. BMDregisters specialise in non-conformist records that can be incredibly difficult to find so they provide a unique contribution to available online records.

This is the way I worked it. I went to familysearch.org: 'Browse By Location' links on left column and selected the Europe and United Kingdom as my present interest. This brings up a huge number of available collections. Some are transcribed records and some are still just image collections that need to be 'trawled' through year by year and page by page - just like viewing a parish register on a microfilm reader at an LDS Family History Centre.

I then clicked on the top of the Last Updated column to bring up the latest additions by date order. This gives me their latest additions.

The England, Norfolk Parish Registers, 1538-1900 is a stunning example of the digitising of entire parish registers and placing them on-line. The only way I could view such original parish registers previously was to either fly to England from Australia and head for the local Record Office or order in the microfilm and view it at my local LDS Family History Centre - which in fact I have been doing on a very regular basis for 15 years. This is just a wonderful development and thousands more will follow. The LDS has a hollowed out mountain in Salt Lake City, Utah with hundreds of thousands of microfilmed parish records from countries all over the world.

The England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1900 collection are transcribed records - one of many collections that we can thank hundreds of volunteers for transcribing. Nowhere yet complete of course but still substantial. It is updated as new transcriptions are added.

The England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8) is an example of where Family Search has entered into a sharing arrangement with a commercial company to provide the records free on line. There are now a huge number of non-conformist records available for searching on the BMDregisters site so being able to view enough of each entry to know if it's worth paying for the full entry is a huge bonus. It's worth knowing that RG6 records are all Quaker records as a large proportion of the available records are indeed Quaker. So if you're not interested in Quaker ancestors, that will reduce the number of records to check considerably. It's also possible to cross reference the RG number to the film that is available on the LDS Family History Catalogue. If the only piece of additional information you need is the chapel where the event occurred, this is a way of finding it without needing to pay for it. But if the record is of any significance, then you'll certainly want to open the purse strings.

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