New At Archives

by Julie Hill

Posted on November 18, 2009

Many people are suspicious of Friday the thirteenth, but not us! Archives rolled out some major changes last Friday November 13, 2009 and the team did a phenomenal job making it a smooth event.

These site-wide changes were part one of a two part release aimed to improve user experience, site performance, and design. We also added new international immigration and vital record collections--part of our ongoing effort to constantly add new records to enhance your search experience. Here are the highlights:

Search Guide

The Search Guide was designed to help members search, locate hard-to-find ancestors, and learn more about different record types. Also state and other free resource links provided. Find the Search Guide by clicking the Search Guide link or icon on the Members Area homepage.

Get search help now >>

New Collections

We've added over 200,000 Canadian immigration, passenger, and vital records to our growing international collection. If you have Canadian ancestry, or are just curious and would like to search the Canadian collections (many rare, hard-to-find records added).

Family History Forms

These new forms were created especially to help Archives members trace their family trees. These are accessible from the homepage, and should be printed and filled out with your research! Forms now available include:

  • Family Tree Chart - charts your ancestry. Each new generation adds another branch!
  • Source Citation Form - documents your sources so that you can verify the accuracy of your research, revisit your sources in the future, track where information has come from, and share your work with others.
  • Correspondence Catalog - will keep track of who you've contacted, when, and why.
  • Family Group Details - holds all the information you find about a family unit. Once you've filled these out building your tree becomes much easier.
  • Genealogy To-Do List - will help you remember what to research and where to look!
  • Research Extract - designed to hold the information about each of your sources in an organized fashion.

Orientation Video

We know that starting family history research, and learning how to use a new website at the same time can be daunting for beginners. We now provide members with a search orientation video on the members homepage that you can view anytime. The video shows you how to use our search tool, provides helpful hints, and runs through common mistakes made by beginners.

Watch the video now >>

We also made general improvements to search performance--optimizing our systems to give you accurate results, fast!

Congrats to the Archives team for a job well done. We hope you explore the changes that we made to the members area and let us know your thoughts. Please email us anytime at [email protected]. We're looking forward to announcing the exciting updates we'll be making in part two of this release very soon.

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