FamilySearch Search Tips

FamilySearch now has 126 databases for Italy! Many are at least partially indexed but most are only digitized–the images are there but they need to be searched record by record. For a list of the towns covered, use this link:

Tip 1: When using that list of databases available on FamilySearch, look for your province of interest first and then be sure to check all the entries for that province for your town. For instance, if you click Browse Images next to Italy, Palermo, Termini Imerese Civil Registration (Tribunale) 1862-1910, you’ll find that there are actually records for 40 different towns in Palermo province included in that section. But you wouldn’t know it from the title.

Tip 2:  Have you ever used FamilySearch to search for records on your family members and you find all sorts of stuff but you can’t tell if you are finding EVERYTHING there is to find on your family? Or maybe you are finding big gaps between birth records of children in a family or you know a couple got married in a certain time frame but their marriage record is just not showing up?

It may be that not all of the films from the town have been indexed yet, which means you need to determine which have been indexed and which have not. To do this, go to the Family History Library catalog and print a list of all the films available for your town of interest. Then go back to the FamilySearch search engine and Restrict Records by Film Number (it currently defaults to restrict records by country). Enter a film number in the search box and leave all other search parameters empty. If you get results, you know that film has been indexed. But if you get NO RECORDS found for that film number, you know it has not. 

A good example: I was recently searching FamilySearch records for Santa Margherita di Belice, Agrigento Province. I was finding a lot of information, but certain things were not coming up that I knew should be there. I tried that “restrict records by film number” and determined that only records from 1820-1840 have been indexed so far.

Tip 3: There are lots of misspellings and errors in the transcription of the films, not to mention errors on the original records themselves. In order to find what you are looking for, you might have to get creative!  It’s more likely that misspellings are in the surnames instead of the given names, so if you don’t find what you are seeking easily, try searching with only given names and a range of years; or maybe by a child’s first name and the first names of parents (with no surnames filled in); or by film number and a first name (if you know a particular record should be there).

Have fun, be creative and don’t give up! Leave no stone unturned!!!!

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