Friday, October 18, 2013

Use the FamilySearch Wiki

Do you remember using an encyclopedia?  If you were lucky, your parents purchased a set to be used at home.  Otherwise, you made a trip to the library.  
FamilySearch Wiki for Pennsylvania

If you didn’t know something or didn’t understand something, you looked it up in an encyclopedia.  Today it is even faster and better and a whole lot cheaper. 

Genealogists should be using the FamilySearch WIKI.  I cannot recommend it enough.  In order to do your research you have to study and learn.  The WIKI gives you abounding information to prepare for your research.  

On the opening page smack dab in the middle you will see a search box.  You can search by place or topic, such as Ohio, military records, probate, chancery court, naturalizations, etc.  As you have learned, not every state or county is alike in their legal system and jurisdictions.  Therefore, after you have read all about probate records in general, go to a state that you are researching in, such as Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania.  
Links to more information

I did just that for Pennsylvania and there are 1,659 wikis for Pennsylvania!  So, I clicked on just Pennsylvania.  Along with key information, unique features, maps, etc. is a listing of key topics and other topics.  Click on probate and now you will learn even more.  Pennsylvania wills have been filed with the “register of wills” in each county, where they are recorded in indexed books.  There is more good information.  I also see that some are available online at  I will need to check that.  Scrolling on down is a link to the Pennsylvania probate record in the online collection of the FamilySearch Historical Records.  Do I need to write a letter to a courthouse or go to Salt Lake City to use microfilm?  Maybe not!  It might be that I’ll find what I need online.  If not, I’m prepared to rent microfilm or write letters. 

Some of the Wiki articles are more informative than others.  For example, there is a Massachusetts Genealogy Guide complete with maps and historical data time line.  Even more interesting information is found in the county guides.  You can click and click your way through information that will make you a better genealogist and insure that you are going to succeed in your research. 

Make a practice of using the FamilySearch Wiki.  It’s a good thing!  

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