Sunday, 25 January 2015

I've searched everywhere and I can't find it....

Really? Have you?

Over the last six months or so I have noticed a lot of seasoned, as well as fresh genies, be it in Facebook groups, in mailing lists or in the audience during my talks, who say they have searched everywhere and can't find X?

Usually the query is about a burial, wedding or a birth.

But have they really looked everywhere? Or do they really mean they have just looked at the on-line resources they know about?

What about visiting a library, or asking relatives what family documents they might have? Have they thought about the other indexes available?

My anecdotal experience tells me that many who say they have looked everywhere have not looked at

When I suggest this,  some say "it is only for the United States", others say that "they don't have records just trees".

Well actually they have a huge number of parish and civil registers, from around the world which are digitised and available in their records collections, with more being constantly added.

TIP: So why not browse the list  of collections at and filter by the place you are currently interested in researching and see what is available? You might get a nice surprise to unlock a brick wall or two...

BTW the camera on the left of a collection Title means there are images,

if there is a number under the heading Records, then the images have been indexed. If that is still a work in progress don't worry, you can browse the images, like turning the pages in a book.

Others, who have "looked everywhere" have not known that their local library has CD's or microfiche which can be checked.

So if you ever find yourself feeling like you have searched everywhere, take a deep breath, step back from your research and think:

Have you explored ALL the possible sorts of indexes and records for the event you are looking for?

Why not build yourself a checklist to make sure. Compiling a checklist for an individual can:

  • help you think outside the square about what other sources of information you could be investigating for a particular event
  • ensure you don't repeat a task you did years ago, like order that certificate again. LOL!

To save you the time of developing one for yourself, here is an Evernote checklist template I created in 2014.

Please feel free to copy and paste it into your own system, be it in Evernote, OneNote or just a plain old Word file.

And good luck with searching everywhere...

Till next time


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