Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hide and Seek with FamilySearch Record Search

In a recent post dated 13 September 2010, Dick Eastman cited an announcement from FamilySearch that 5 million records from 19 countries had been added to the Record Search collections. I decided to take a look at the new records and went to the Beta FamilySearch website. I began to get interested when I could not find the first two collections listed of the new records, Argentina, Cordoba—Cordoba Marriage Records, 1642–1931 and Argentina, Santa Fe (Rosario) —Church Records, 1642-1972. The third item listed, Austria, Vienna—Population Cards, 1850–1928, was shown as having a New Index. However, the records shown on Beta FamilySearch were only from 1850 to 1895 and I could find nothing that indicated that newer records might be available.

The next set of records, Belgium—Death Registration, 1851–1900, seemed to be in the collections, but the associated Wiki FamilySearch page was last modified on 26 August 2010 and had a heading saying that "This article describes a collection of historical records that is scheduled to become available for free online at FamilySearch."

On down the list, I found Brazil, Rio de Janeiro—Church Records, Diocese of Itaguai, 1700-1940, but the earliest records only go back to 1865 and I had to look through each of the States until I found Itaguai.

OK, so then I thought, maybe these records all went into the older Record Search site? The old site now has a suggestion that you go to the new Beta site, but actually on the old site, the number of collections had gone down to 452 collections from a high of 454. I found, for example, that the Argentina, Catholic Church Records were last updated on 3 September 2010 and are 1% complete. Yes, that is 1%. The Nicaragua records listed in Dick Eastman's post as new, show that they were last updated on 31 August 2010 and are 53% complete.

So where are the new records? Back to the Beta site. This time to look for Mexico, Zacatecas—Catholic Church Records, 1605-1977. Zacatecas is a state in Mexico and all of the records for the Catholic Church are in one collection. If you click on Zacatecas, you get a list of cities or towns. Clicking on a city gives you one or more Catholic parishes in that city. However, actually, the parishes are organized into diocese. According to the Wiki FamilySearch, "In 1995, the Catholic Church in Mexico had 14 archdioceses; 58 dioceses; 5,345 parishes; and 1,611 chapelries (sub-parishes). Together they hold a great number of records" So where are the records for the diocese? And how do the records for a city or town correspond to the diocese? There really wasn't any way to tell if the records from Zacatecas were new or old. It is probable that someone looking for Catholic Church records might not know the diocese, but would know the city or town, but there are records kept on diocese level.

Again, back to the Record Search site. In the list from Dick Eastman there are several, to be exact, eight new collections listed for Canada. In the older Record Search site there are three collections in Canada that are marked as new or updated. 

 What does all this mean? It means I can not tell hide nor hair of the announcements coming out about new records being added to the Beta FamilySearch or Record Search or whatever. In some cases I cannot find the records, in other cases the descriptions in the announcement do not correspond to what is in the collections. Just as a suggestion, why not make a list, as they go along, of all of the records added and subtracted and just let the users see the running list?

1 comment:

  1. Your suggestion makes to much sense.