Roots & Branches: ‘Quick sheet’ explains FamilySearch website

Last year, George G. Morgan did a superlative job in putting together a “quick sheet” primer on

For an encore, Morgan has tackled the other 500-pound canary of the genealogy world,

First, a little more about Morgan: The Floridian has done just about everything worth doing in the professional genealogy world – from authoring books to co-hosting a “podcast” to being an officer in various groups.

Second, a little more about Genealogical Publishing Co.’s “Genealogy at a glance” series: They put a segment of genealogical knowledge about particular ethnic, geographic or record group on front and back of an 11-by-17-inch laminated and folded sheet – just the right size to take on the road while researching.

The “Genealogy at a glance” sheets have varied in quality although each is written by an expert in the topic covered and gives concise information.

The quick sheet starts with some history: The predecessor of FamilySearch was the Genealo-gical Society of Utah, founded in 1894 and under whose name a microfilming program of records around the world was begun in 1938. The original society was and FamilySearch now is the nonprofit genealogy arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The website was opened to the public in 1999 and to say that it has revolutionized the genealogical world is an understatement, especially in the last five years as it has begun to digitize its vast records – bringing all those documents to home computer desktops.

Morgan runs through the current three major divisions on the website: “Family Tree,” “Memories” and “Search.” He recommends creating a log-in immediately upon starting work with the website, but that’s not mandatory if you’re just going to use the “Search” functions.

As far as “Family Tree,” this can be merely a record-keeping tool for individual genealogists, but the hope is that people collaborate by uploading their trees and swapping information.

“Memories” is the newest part of the site. It allows users to upload family photos, documents and stories about ancestors.

The “Search” function has several uses: Digitized and indexed records can be browsed; Family Search Catalog can be looked at, and databases of record extracts can be searched.

Morgan also details the instructional materials; everything from product support, personalized research assistance by e-mail and a 75,000-article-and-growing Research Wiki.

“Genealogy at a glance” sheets cost $8.95 each and can be ordered from Genealogical Publishing Company on the company’s website,

Among those now in circulation are quick sheets on the following topics: American cemeteries, Scot-tish, African-American, French-Canadian, Michigan, Pennsylvan-ia Virginia, Irish, English, Revolutionary War, French, German, Polish and Italian.

Beidler is a freelance writer and lecturer on genealogy. Contact him at Box 270, Lebanon, PA 17042 or at