Saturday, October 31, 2015

BOOT CAMP - Lesson 5 - Using the Help Section of Family Search

It seems like many of us don't want to get started on a project as big as researching our family lines because we just don't know what to do, how to start, where to go for information, what to do with the information once we get it, and so forth.  Well, today we are going to explore the HELP section of Family Search.

1.  Go to (you don't have to log in but it is good to do so - see Boot Camp Lesson 1 for instructions how to sign up and/or sign in.

2.  Now, look in the uppermost Right Hand Corner to where it says "GET HELP".  This is the answer to most of your questions concerning research, using Family Search, adding names to your Family Tree (as well as photos, stories, etc.) and so much more.

3.  There are 2 sections.  Let's discuss each of these sections individually.

A.  CONTACT US - This is for that one-on-one help that is needed at times.  There are 4 ways to actually get help in the contact section.
     - You can CALL them.  The phone number for the help area is shown for your country.
     - You can do LIVE CHAT.  This is really fun but know that you will actually be typing your questions to someone live - meaning you will get an immediate answer because there will be someone on the other end of your chat actually answering your questions.  You should have a decent Internet connection or your session may time-out. You will have to answer a couple of questions before you start (name, email, and phone number as well as select a number that refers to the department of your question - Family Search, memories, research etc. - they will show you the list)
     - The next way is to MESSAGE them.  This is an email conversation.  You will need to supply your name, email, phone, and question. You send a question and they will first send a letter letting you know that they got your email then they will send you a response by email (although, I have had some of them call me as well as email).
     - Then there is FIND LOCAL HELP - This will direct you to the nearest Family History Center for assistance
     -  Also under the Contact Us section is REMOTE CONNECT and MY CASES.  Remote connect is where you will download a program that will allow a member of the Help team actually connect to  your computer and work within your computer - they from a different location thus remote.  This is helpful if you need some help - like in Family Tree - and you just don't understand their instructions on how to fix a problem.  The team member can access your computer (only with your approval) and actually fix the problem as if they were sitting right there with you working on your computer.  For your cases, sometimes you have an issue that the team needs to fix.  They will give you a case number. You can refer to this case number to see how things are progressing with the help or corrections.

B. SELF HELP - This is just like it sounds, you can use these links to help yourself find the answers you are looking for. (If you can't find your answer, try the contact methods listed above).
     -  QUICK START TO FAMILY SEARCH - This is a short 3.34 minute fun video explaining what Family Search has to offer.  It also shows how FamilySearch got started.
     -  GETTING STARTED - This actually takes you to a page that will give you links to specific areas to begin your work on FamilySearch,  1) Discover your story, 2) Explore your family tree, and 3) Find your ancestors. Each will take you to another page to help you in those areas.  Be sure to explore these and follow the links to learn more about these topics. While you are at those pages, click back to the HELP section and if you see the words QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, click on it.  This will bring up some of the most popular questions with answers to help you understand how to use these parts of Family Search.
     -  HELP CENTER - This has tons of the most popular questions asked about research and Family Search.  Pick a topic you wish to know more about then pick a question - or write in your question in the space provided.
     -  THE LEARNING CENTER - This is my favorite.  They have just about every topic you can think of covered in a lesson.  This is a How To section. Most lessons are in video format but many have PDF's to look at and some even have handouts.  These are taught by very experienced people in the topic discussed. It tells you how long the video is - 5 minutes to over an hour.  Be sure to have a decent Internet connection to watch.
     -  RESEARCH WIKI - WIKI is a resource center. It mostly covers locations and some topics.  Whereas FamilySearch covers mostly people, WIKI will help with locations.  Note: There are some display changes coming to WIKI so if you look at it today, it may look differently tomorrow but the same info will be there.
     -  WHAT'S NEW - This will let you know of any recent changes in Family Search. It tell what has recently been added to Family Search and some changes to how to use things in your Family Tree.  This is helpful if you see changes and don't understand them.

So that's it!  When you are working on Family Search or in Family Tree, don't forget to look up at the HELP section for updated information, how to do something, or to ask a question....don't forget that Live Chat can help you RIGHT NOW!  Have fun learning!