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Research Notes 2018-1-29

There is a wealth of historic and genealogical publications and documents freely available online. The best place to begin your look for these treasures is the Internet Archive. If you are not familiar with Internet Archive, you’ll find a good introduction in the January 2016 issue of the Ancient City Bulletin.


Internet Archive allows users to download copies of most of the publications in the archive and you get to choose the format that suits your purpose. Although you don’t need to create an account to use Internet Archive, it does have its advantages. One in particular is the ability to save useful documents and publications to your account. All you have to do is “favorite” that item – click the star icon just below the reader screen – and it’s added to your profile.


An example of documents saved to a user profile.

It won’t take long before you have your own family history library. The left sidebar has a search box and several tools – topics, collection and creator – to organize your collection. Just above your pubs display is a bar that makes it easy to sort your collection by views, title, date favorited and creator.

By the way . . . if you are using the desktop Firefox brower (free – Windows, Mac and Linux) you might want to get familiar with Firefox Screenshots. It’s free, easy and allows you to capture the entire browser screen or just a small section. This can be useful when there is just a paragraph or image you want to capture. If there’s a lot of useful information, you will probably want to download the entire publication or add it to your profile library.

Want to learn more about Internet Archive and how to take advantage of it? We’ve posted some articles you might find interesting in the SAGS Community Research Center on Facebook and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


FamilySearch has a new research tool – FamilySearch Places. It’s purpose is to help us learn more about the places where our ancestors lived. When you first open FamilySearch Places you’ll see a map. In the top left corner of the map is a block containing a search box and the menu icon (the 3 lines at the left side of the search box). Enter the name of the place you want to research – Matagorda, Texas, United States in this example.

FamilySearch Places screen

It will take a few seconds, but the map will redraw to display the place you listed. The search panel on the left expands to display information about the place. This panel scrolls up/down to provide even more information. Below the Basic Information section is the History Section with links to display how this area changed over the years. In this case, Matagorda was a Mexican province until 1836 when it became a part of the Republic of Texas, and later a county in the State of Texas in 1845. This can be especially helpful with European countries whose borders changed over the years.

FamilySearch Places

Keep scrolling and you’ll find links to outside articles related to your place. Keep scrolling and you’ll find a list of alternate names for your place and even more information.

FamilySearch Places is an impressive research resource. I really like the way it provides links to a broad range of local and historic resources to help us learn more about a place. The WhatWasThere and historypin sites also look quite interesting. Things could get even better using them.

We’re opening a discussion on FamilySearch Places at the SAGS Community Research Center on Facebook so members can share their experiences. Come join us!

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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