in Latin America: Strategy Acquisition, Indexing and Research Methodologies (2014)

Moderator: Karina Morales (Family Search)
Rapporteur: Daniel Schoorl (HAPI)

Karina E. Morales, FamilySearch
General Strategy for Acquiring and Negotiating Historical Records in Latin American Acquisition

Adele Marcum, FamilySearch
Preparing Records for Publication Online

Debbie Gurtler, FamilySearch
Research Methodology: A Librarian’s Perspective

Karina Morales (Family Search, Content Strategist for Latin America)

Karina began by explaining how and why Family Search identifies and prioritizes records, as well as the process they follow in analyzing and forecasting demand for records. Country acquisition priorities have changed over time, with evidence of such from greater camera placement in Brazil and an emphasis on multiple types of records, including but not limited to Catholic parish registers, census records, immigration records, civil registration, burial records, and baptism records. She showed many examples of records of Latin American historical figures, including Frida Kahlo, Carlos Slim, Pedro Infante, Maria Felix, Juan Peron, and Jorge Negrete. She also showed a family tree she had completed using Family Search tracing her own ancestry from San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Preparing Records for Publication Online –
Adele Marcum (Family Search, Records Specialist for Central America and Caribbean)

Adele described her work as a records specialist and she focuses on records negotiation, digital capture, and acquisition. She also explained how Family Search creates production plans to determine the treatment of records, formatting options, and integrity of records. Adele also covered the process that Family Search has developed to create specifications for indexing and train volunteer indexer to identify pertinent information. One of the final aspects of her work is to complete a pre-publication check of metadata and standardize historical records collections before they are published online.

Research Methodology: A Librarian’s Perspective –
Debbie Gurtler (Family Search, Family History Research Specialist)

Debbie began by describing the research process step by step, from identifying what is known, to setting research goals, to selecting records to search, and obtaining these records and using the information. She recommended family sources as a starting point (family interviews, photos, records, etc.). She also gave demos and highlighted the features and tools available from Family Search, including family tree diagrams, family group records, and fan charts (with photos as a new feature on Family Search). The genealogical research process was explained in the Latin American context with an emphasis on church records and civil registration records beginning in late 19th century Latin America. Debbie described types of information in birth/baptism records, marriage records, and death/burial records. She also mentioned of how Family Search and OCLC have agreed to a partnership.  The main points of searching strategies that Debbie emphasized was that less is more when using Family Search and that the use of the filter options are highly recommended.


Robert Behra (University of Utah) asked about why Family Search had no images from Uruguay published online. Adele Marcum (Family Search) answered that Family Search did not have the rights to publish the images they have from Uruguay online. Myra Appel (UC Davis) asked about institutions with limited internet access whose records have been ingested by Family Search and how they can access and use the digital versions of their records. Debbie Gurtler (Family Search) answered that Family Search provides digital copies to all institutions where they digitize records from.