FamilySearch.org is (in my opinion) the best FREE Genealogy Site. I’ve found a great many records in FamilySearch by searching by name. It allows you to refine your search by dates and areas. However, there is much more to FamilySearch than meets the eye. There are millions of Free Records on FamilySearch that can’t be found via their search, because they are not yet indexed.
Here’s how to find them:
- Log in to FamilySearch.org. If you don’t have an account, just set one up, it’s FREE.
- Click on Search
- Under the Search Button, there is a link that says “Browse All Published collections”. Click on it.
You will see the Historical Record Collections listed. Note the column ‘Records’.
- If there is a number, that means the file has been indexed and you may find your ancestor by searching their name, however, you may want to view the record collections, since indexing is done manually and therefore subject to typing or transcription errors.
- If there is a link that says “Browse Images”, then this record is not indexed. Click on Browse the Record and you’ll be given other options, such as County, then name of file. Note the scroll bar on the right side, you may be able to scroll down. The display window is short and there is usually more to see below the fold.
Once you can view the file, under the Record name at the top of the page, you will see Image and a box with the page number. Just change the page number and click “Go”. Most of the files are alphabetical.
For Example, I found a record under Iowa, Fayette County Probate Records 1851-1928. When I click on that, I then was given a list called Probate case files (series1) with additonal information including the Letters for the names. I selected no. 282-341, C 1881-1895. date ranges. In this case, it appears that a file card with the name, date, type (e.g. estate) and number is placed before the pages with the documents. The next file or files will be the documents for that file. On page 16 we find the card for the estate of Olive Conrad. The executor of his estateis James Conrad (a son or brother?).
There are several pages of documents. On page 24 we find an appraiser’s Bill, that lists Olive Conrads assets.
Pages 16 through 171 are all relating to the estate of Olive Conrad.
Also listed for Iowa, is the Iowa State Census, 1925.
I suggest you take some time to scroll through the pages and see what is there.