Simms Shares Tips on Using Family Search with TAGHS

September 26, 2022 - Not too long ago, anyone wanting to do genealogical research had to visit courthouses, cemeteries, and seek out old family Bibles. While serious researchers still have to resort to those sources occasionally, there is now a wealth of genealogical information available online and in genealogical libraries. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has Family History and Life Centers in cities around the country for this purpose, with one located in Lufkin. Lufkin Family History and Life Center volunteer Delora Silvers Simms shared some valuable information about using the resources there at the September meeting of the Timpson Area Genealogical and Heritage Society, including the fact that they are free to the public!

FamilySearch is an ancestry database created by the LDS for use by LDS members to research their ancestry, but it is available for use by the general public. Whether accessing FamilySearch for the first time at a Family History Center or working at home, Step One is to visit There a new user can learn how to use FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Findmypast like a pro! There are fun family history activities for families, individuals, youth, or children. You can enjoy research pages for over 65 countries and all 50 U.S. States. You can learn how to get what you need in an instant with Search Bar, Google Translate, Topics, and QUICKLinks. There is an easy-to-use training system for teachers and learners.

On the Home Page you can get started by watching the Overview Video where you can discover what the Family History Guide is all about in two minutes. You can then use the Tour button to take a self-guided tour through the website. UseSEarch to find content quickly and translate for other languages. There are resources for family history for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and LDS users. In the Vault, you can find links to hundreds of additional articles and videos on family history topics. Tracker allows you to monitor your progress with an online database or editable Word files. With Stars, you can mark all the videos you have watched and articles you have read in the Family History Guide. The Misc. Menu has Help, What's New, Quotes, Events, Contact Us, etc.

Simms shared that to find birth records for 1927 for Sanarate, El Progreso, Guatemala, for example, one would click on Central America on the Family Search records page. Choose the country from the drop-down menu: Guatemala. On the country's collections page, the top part of the page lists collections with indexed records. The bottom part of the page lists image only collections. The Records column indicates the number of records indexed. The camera icons indicate that images are available. Click on the Guatemala Civil Registration, 1877-2008 collection. Click on the option to brows through images. Now you choose the locality beginning from the largest jurisdiction to the smallest. Choose the department El Progreso. Choose the municipality or city: Sanarate. Choose the record type with the year range needed :Nacimientos 1925-1930. Use the tools available for browsing the image collections.

“I read today that 2.1 million Americans do genealogy, making it the second most popular hobby in the United States” Simms said. “Every person deserves to be remembered,” she emphasized. “FamilySearch is the world's largest online family tree, with over 1.2 billion ancestors included.” The Lufkin Family History and Life Center is located inside the LDS Church at 606 Bending Oak. They are open on Tuesdays from 9AM until 1PM. Their phone number is 936-464-4155. 

The Timpson Area Genealogical Society meets at 2PM on the third Wednesday of each month in the meeting room of the Timpson Public Library on the corner of Austin and Bremond Streets in downtown Timpson. The TAGHS library is located within the Timpson Public Library and is open and staffed from 9AM until 5PM weekdays. Telephone 936-254-2966 and ask for the Genealogical Library.