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Research Notes 2017-8-21

FamilySearch has announced the next phase of its digital fulfillment strategy. This includes phasing out the microfilm rental service. At this point, more than half of the microfilm rolls are digitally available online at no cost.  FamilySearch is digitizing 1,500 microfilms a day. If you are wondering where to find all this digital goodness, you can start with the FamilySearch Catalog. The link to learn more located just above the search box will take to an intro page which describes the catalog and offers strategies for searching these resources.


The FamilySearch Catalog and the Family History Library are part of the WorldCat online catalog network. If you are not familiar with WorldCat, you can find an article on it in the April 2016 issue of the Ancient City Bulletin.


As we all know, digitizing the records is only the first step. Before those records can be searchable, they have to be indexed. Did you notice how much faster the 1940 census records became available online than the 1930 census? FamilySearch developed an online indexing platform and recruited people all over the world to help get the index done. Instead of taking months (if I remember, the 1930 census took almost two years to finish the indexing), the 1940 census was completed in less than a year. FamilySearch continues to improve the indexing system. They recently released a web indexing platform that works on just about any computer. Learn more at


Speaking of indexing . . . Here’s an update on the War of 1812 pension preservation and indexing project.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is pleased to announce National Archives staff have recently resumed document conservation of the War of 1812 Pension files covering surnames M(Moore)-Q. Document conservation is the essential first step in digitizing these files. Our digitization partner,, has scheduled image capture of these newly conserved documents to begin the second week of September 2017. As capture resumes, new images will be added to on a rolling basis. The Federation and the dedicated volunteers of the Preserve the Pensions project have worked tirelessly for well over a year to negotiate a resolution to the work stoppage. This portion of the project plan is expected to be completed by third quarter 2018.

What is a tag cloud and why should I be interested?

Printed publications have tables of content and indexes to organize and find particular articles, topics or chapters within the document. Online publications use menus, the search box and tag clouds. When an article is published online the site manager often includes a series of keywords – called tags – to identify the content of that article. Many websites collect these tags and display them so visitors at the site can easily find the content they want to view. This collection of keywords is called a tag cloud and it is the digital equivalent of an index.

When you visit the SAGS Support website, you will find the tag cloud in the right sidebar on most pages. The Tag Cloud graphic you see here is just a portion of the one you’ll find on the site. SAGS Support has been in operation since February 2016 so there is a significant amount of information posted there. Our tag cloud is arranged in alphabetical order and the font size for each tag gets larger as more articles are published with that tag. You can see here that the Family Tree Maker topic has significantly more articles than Confederate research.

Putting the tag cloud to use is easy. If you want to see the articles discussing a topic, just click on that tag in the tag cloud and the site will present you with every article tagged with that keyword. Stop by SAGS Support and try it yourself.

Final Notes

Each new post published at SAGS Support is automatically emailed to member subscribers and/or delivered to their newsreader. Research Notes is published every Monday morning and other articles are posted during the week. Subscribers have the option to control how often these updates are delivered. Look down at the bottom of this message and you will find a Manage Subscriptions link in the fine print as you see in this example. Click it and you will be taken to the Subscription Management page. Use the Delivery Frequency column to change your delivery options from “Immediate” to either “Daily” or “Weekly”.

Fine Print

Sample of the “fine print” at the bottom of each post.

Also down at the bottom of each delivered post is a Comment button. If you would like to comment on something discussed in a post or ask a question, just click the Comment button and you will be taken online to the comment section of the post where you can share your thoughts and read what others have shared.

To learn more, download a copy of the SAGS Support Guide.

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