Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Learn and Find Answers on FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch.org has many overlooked and underused help and learning resources. Time you learned about them and started taking advantage of them.

First place to learn about is the help center. To get to it, go to FamilySearch.org and sign in.
Click Get Help in the upper right corner and then click Help Center.
Scroll down a tad and you'll see Select a Help Topic. This allows you to narrow down the content. Click one of the icons that applies to the area you have questions about. For illustration purposes, I'll click Search
Each page is going to have slightly different features. Some have links to getting started videos at the top and links to some often-used help content (Family Tree being the prime example). The How to Search page looks like this.
Go exploring! Click to open the various sections. In Frequently Asked Questions for any topic, at the top, is a search box. So, you can enter your own search terms to look for very specific information. I'm not going to go into all the details. Just encourage you to take a look and explore.

Next, scroll back up to the top of the Help Center Page. See those tabs at the top? More places to learn.

Let's see what Getting Started has.
This is the place for the beginning beginner to learn the basics of starting family history. If you don't need it, a friend or family member might. It's a handy place to know about. 

Next is the Learning Center. This is gold! So many courses you can take here. Carefully created by experts in their subjects. Let's take a little more time here.

First is the search box. Enter a topic you want to learn about. For instance, Native American Research. 
A list of courses appears. Not all will really be on-topic as the search engine interprets your search terms very broadly. But you're pretty likely to find some things of interest. Each description tells you how long the lesson takes and what kind of lesson it is. 

If you just want to explore a bit, browse the featured courses, the most popular courses, and new courses.
Some incredible opportunities to learn here!

And, you can also use the filters on the left to narrow the list of courses to specific places,
to your skill level, and/ or specific subjects,
to your preferred lesson format, and/or to a specific language. 
If perchance, you really want to learn about a specific family history topic and don't find what you need in the Learning Center, pop back up to those tabs and explore the Research Wiki.
The Learning Center has lessons. The Research Wiki has articles. Sometimes I just want to read about a topic and don't really have time to watch a video lesson. So I really like the Wiki. I use it to get tips for searching in specific places. But it also has more general topic articles about nearly any family history-related topic you can think of. 

Fairly new to FamilySearch.org are the Tips light bulbs you see at the bottom right of some pages. These are wonderful for when you are struggling with how to use a specific piece of the website, and more are coming. Click one and explore. For instance, I clicked the tips icon at the bottom of the Search Historical Records page. 
I can then click the topic I want to learn more about to see step-by-step instructions. Many of them have video illustrations too.

Now, go explore. Take advantage of all those learning and help resources to learn more about the website and to learn more about family history. You'll be glad you did.

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