Gamechanger: Searching Handwritten Text

Have you heard about the new full-text search tool announced by FamilySearch at RootsTech? It searches selected handwritten document collections at FamilySearch. Currently, the collections include “U.S. land and probate records, some from the Freedmen’s Bureau, Mexican notarial records, and U.S. plantation records from the Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations collection. This tool is a game-changer for locating people who don’t often appear in indexes, such as witnesses, neighbors, and enslaved individuals, or for finding people in unexpected places. To access this new tool, visit FamilySearch Labs.[1]

The tool is still experimental and subject to change (improve), but it is not perfect. You can learn search tips and more about using the Full-Text Search Tool in this RootsTech presentation or this YouTube video from Amy Johnson Crow.

[1] Kimberly Powell, “12 Strategies for Using FamilySearch Full-Text Search,” Learn Genealogy ( : posted 29 Feb 2024).

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