|Using FamilySearch Historical Records|
Using FamilySearch Historical Records
European parish records of christenings, marriages and deaths extracted and collated as part of the FamilySearch.org website (hereafter called "FamilySearch Historical Records") are a "de facto" no-photocopy source of name documentation. They are useful for 16th century names throughout Western Europe as significant numbers of parish records survive from 1500 onwards. Also, onomastic dictionaries tend to focus on the earliest cites for names, so later cites may be excluded for space, even though a name might still be popular in the 1500s.
FamilySearch Historical Records are a great source for late period names from anywhere in Western Europe because the search is online and easy to use. Especially for England, there are so many records in there with many different spellings that not finding a particular spelling of a name in FamilySearch suggests that spelling wasn't common and may not have been used at all in the late 16th century.
The FamilySearch Historical Records
The FamilySearch Historical Records are hosted on the genealogical website FamilySearch.org and consists of the former International Genealogical Index (IGI) and additional records added to the FamilySearch website. There are two main types of entries on the Family Search website:
The first is User Submitted Genealogies, which is family information contributed by members of the LDS church. This section is not suitable for documentation, because it is genealogical research, which could be excellent or terrible, and generally modernises and standardises name spellings. Their own web site says "The quality of this information varies. Duplicate entries and inconsistent information are common. Always verify contributed entries against sources of primary information."
The second part is the Historical Records, which is mostly suitable for documentation (see below for the list of approved batch numbers). In this, two community members have transcribed information from an existing source, often a scan or photograph of a parish record, though sometimes a Victorian transcription of an older source. If the two transcriptions do not agree, an expert will look at it and decide which is right. That means that they're at least as dependable as the other sources we use, and we consider those transcriptions reasonable documentation for the spelling and dating of a name element. Since they are predominantly extracted from parish records, the former term for these in the College of Arms is “IGI Parish Extracts” which has recently been replaced by “FamilySearch Historical Records” to reflect the broader collection of historical records now available.
FamilySearch Historical Records as SCA name documentation
Pelican Queen of Arms has declared that batch numbers starting with B, C, J, K, M (except M17 and M18), or P are generally acceptable, and batches that are all digits, begin with M17 or M18, D, F, H, L, or T are not acceptable. All other batch numbers will be evaluated on a case by case basis. See the June 2011, September 2012, May 2013 and January 2014 LoAR Cover Letters for details of the relevant precedents.
Using the FamilySearch Historical Records
So, how do you use them?
An example summary for the last name <Hastyngs> using an exact spelling search:
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