Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be sure to check the records at FamilySearch's Record Search Pilot

A number of prominent blogs posted an announcement from FamilySearch concerning "Twenty-nine new collections were updated or added this week at—with 26 million names and 1.5 million digital images!" I noted some time ago that FamilySearch had stopped announcing new collections on its start-up page so I was interested to see what had happened with the "new" collections.

The Record Search website is a valuable new source of original digitized records as well as newly minted indexes covering many heretofore unsupported areas of the world. But I had been checking the site regularly and was surprised that so many records had been added this last week when I had checked the site two or three times since Sunday and had not noticed a huge influx of new records. So off to the site to check out the "new" records.

Hmm! The first records listed on the announcement were Costa Rican Church Records. There was a red star marking additions to Costa Rica Church Records, 1595 - 1992. The record search page indicates that the records were last updated on 17 June 2010. Clicking on the "About this Collection" link takes you to the FamilySearch Wiki page for these records. Looking at the revisions for the Wiki page shows that the Wiki page for this record collection has been online since 26 May 2009. The record collection has been online since, at least, 20 May 2010. So what does it mean that the records are "new?" It may mean that the records were updated and new records added to the collection but not necessarily that the collection is "new" to Record Search.

What does it mean that the records were added within the last week? You have to look carefully at the comments section of the announcement. For the Costa Rican records the notation is "Waypointed images." Now, what does that mean? In fact, nearly all the records added were "Waypointed images." Google does not have a definition for "Waypointed images." A waypoint is a reference point in physical space used for navigation. Just guessing but it might mean that the programmers were inserting indexing locations in the data or marking images for indexes. Anyone know?

What else is "new?" The rest of the new material consists of updated indexes, linking new indexes to previously published images and providing new indexes. So there aren't really new collections just more index references and some new images. (Some means 1.5 million new images). 

You might want to look at the announcements carefully and consider what is actually being announced. The only really new index and images was for New Hampshire Deaths and it came online on 10 June 2010, a little more than a week ago.

Record Search is a dynamic new source for original records and indexes. It is constantly changing and I recommend an occasional look to see what's new.  But when they announce "new" records, check out what is really new images and what is new indexes.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting...I was excited to see the addition of Costa Rican Church Records. Thanks for bringing me back to the reality of "thinking deeper."