FamilySearch has millions of online records. There are many search tools to put these records to use and find records that are difficult to locate. Here are a couple of these search tools, continuing from the previous blog post:
Method 8: Using Batch Numbers
When FamilySearch created the International Genealogy Index (IGI), they used an internal code called “batches” to help organize the information. When a record comes from the IGI, a batch number is included. Not all records come from the IGI, so not all records have batch numbers. But when records do have batch numbers, the numbers can be useful search tools to build family relationships.
“The batch number tells me things about the sets of images. Like what parish it was from. What kind of images they are. What year range. And they started building lists of these so that they could dive in and find the records. We can use those too,” said Robert Kehrer, senior product manager of search and hinting at FamilySearch, in his 2018 RootsTech presentation.
Families often lived in the same place for generations. This was particularly common in Europe. If you find a family who was born in a parish and lived there for many generations, the batch number for those records can be a tool to expand and reconstruct records for entire families.
To make a search, hover over the Search tab, and click Records. Then type in the given name, surname, birth date range, and place of birth in the designated boxes. A list of possible matches will appear on the right side of the screen, and the search terms will be on the left. In Kehrer’s example, Mary Leah was listed at the top as the daughter of Thomas and Jane Leah.
Click on the name of one of the possible matches to open an image of the record with that name. On the right will be a batch number—in this case, P01607-1. The image to the left will be a record of the event.
Click on the batch number to bring up the entire record included in the batch, or do a search by batch number. FamilySearch Wiki provides a key to help understand batches. The first letter of the batch indicates the source of the record. For example, the letter P refers to christening records, and the letter M stands for marriages. The number 01607-1 refers to the Meole Brace parish.
You can make modifications in the Refine Search column on the left of the screen to expand the information about the family. For example, to find Jane’s maiden name, put in Mary’s father’s name, Thomas Leah, and add Jane as the spouse. Swap out the batch number P01067-1 for M01067-1 to limit the search to marriages. Thomas Leah’s wedding record to Jane Yeastope will appear with the marriage date and place.
To search for christening records for all the Thomas Leahs in the record, change the batch number back to P01067-1, take out Jane’s name, and click Update. The correct record will show Thomas Leah’s father as Richard and his mother as Elizabeth.
To find Jane’s christening and parents, switch the deceased ancestor’s name to Jane Yeastope. Do a search with just the names of Thomas and Jane Leah as parents (leave out Jane’s maiden name, because the christening records do not include her maiden name.) This will provide a list of Thomas and Jane Leah’s children’s christening records that are recorded in that batch.
You could also search for children using Thomas’s and Jane’s parents’ names, find Thomas’s and Jane’s children’s marriages, and search for Thomas’s and Jane’s grandchildren by listing their children as parents. Using batch numbers is an effective way to build entire generations of families by switching around different names.
As information is located, click on the names in the right column, then click Attach at the top right of the record to open tools that will attach the source to the correct name in Family Tree. When you find sourced information, make changes in information on the record in Family Tree as needed.
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The hints in the upper right column of the Person page are valuable assets to help you attach records. Kehrer likened using this feature to sitting in a first-class seat on a 747 jet:
“And they [the flight attendants] come along and say, your records, ma'am. But there's a warning. Remember, hints aren't always 100 percent accurate. We're pretty close. We're … 99 percent, in general. But you should still analyze your hints rigorously,” he added.
Using these tools can help you make more accurate searches and drill down to records you might not otherwise find.
FamilySearch is anxious for you to succeed in your searches. If you need assistance, click the down arrow by the word Help at the top right of the screen. You can find a help center, a learning center, contact information, and more. The contact information will provide access to people in various areas who can help. The product managers at FamilySearch can answer questions and take problems to their team to correct bugs. Good luck!