08 May 2012

What Am I Searching When I Search ""Ohio County Birth Records" at FamilySearch

I am glad for the databases that FamilySearch makes available to the public at no charge. However, I do like to know what I am searching.

The "Ohio, County Births, 1856-1909" confuses me. It is apparently a work in progress although I could be wrong. The search page says that the "time period and type of record vary by county." That's not really helpful when I search the database. I could not find specifics of which records were included for which counties on the search page or the wiki page.

This is frustrating. Not knowing what I am searching is a problem that I hope FamilySearch addresses. The ability to use the site effectively within the constrains of sound genealogy methodology requires that I have a specific idea of what I am searching.

I'm happy for indexes and grateful for what FamilySearch makes available. I just wish I had a little better idea of what I am searching. And if I'm overlooking that description, hopefully someone points it out to me.


Chris Staats said...


Thanks for pointing this new collection out, Michael! Yay Ohio!

The ones I have seen so far all have included the film # and also vol/page references. I copy and paste the film number into the catalog to find that particular reel which will tell you the collection the image came from. At least where I've looked, they are all probate court birth registers, but I just started looking around today.

Bubba said...

Thanks Chris.

The ones I've used more extensively are at set of Illinois births, which as you indicated do give a film number which can drive a person back to the original source. I just wish that there was a listing of what was included in the database so that a person knew exactly what they were searching. I am appreciative of the index and the ability to get to the original film, but a listing of materials used to compile the index would facilitate troubleshooting when a name or reference doesn't appear.

Chris Staats said...

Gotcha - I misunderstood your question. A listing of record groups would definitely be helpful, especially in some of the even more vague collections like the "Ohio, Births and Christenings, 1821-1962" database. In addition to not knowing exactly what makes up an entire database, I sometimes wonder if all of the subsets are complete (i.e. - even if there are some Noble County Probate Register of Birth entries, how do I know ALL of those register entries are in there.)

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

There is a "browse this collection" button, but it just lists lots of digital folder numbers. I clicked on the first one 004009699, and got to film number 940295 which is Monroe Co.
I agree with you, that one should be able to browse the records by actual locations. When there is no index, familysearch does give the option to browse and it is easy to pick what you want to browse from.

Bubba said...

To answer Chris' second entry--even with a list, the range of years for each specific set of records would be helpful because I'm pretty certain they all don't cover the time span listed in the database.

And Lisa makes a good point too--the unindexed records have the browse option which would be nice to have as well.