I have recently discovered that there are many people who use the Family Search website on a regular basis, yet did not realize that there are record files that cannot be searched. These records can only be browsed, and not all have indexes. They are a wealth of documents if you just have the patience!
This is a quicky introduction to these browsable-only records, for both the new and frequent users of Family Search! If you are not familiar with Family Search, check it out! It is free to sign up, free to search, and free to browse!
Browsing Through Family Search (I hope this makes sense!)
After signing into Family Search with your username and password, click “Search”.
Under the map on the right click the link “Browse All Published Collections”
On the left side you will see “Filter by collection name”. You can input a state, or a keyword such as “marriage”.
I typed in “tennessee”, and a list of available Tennessee records showed up. To the right of each file name you will see whether the number of records contained in that file or the words “Browse Images”. If it is a number you can search those records. Otherwise, click “Browse Images”. I chose to browse “Tennessee, Probate Court Files, 1795-1955”.
Click on the link that reads “Browse through [#] images”.
Usually at this point you can chose from available counties. For this example I will click on Madison County.
On this screen you will see all files available for the county. I will click on “County Court, Wills”.
Depending on what county and state you are looking at, you may have to choose a year range.
Here I choose which packet of names I would like to browse.
You will see a small box that tells what page number you are on, between arrows. Use those arrows to navigate through the file. Browse away! Just don’t blame me if you end up sitting up all night reading old court records!