This post does a bit of both.
My book mentions FamilySearch Labs briefly, but it was just launching as I finished the book, so I didn't explore it in any depth. Essentially, FamilySearch Labs is the new suite of digital tools created by the Family History Library. Of particular interest to me is the Lab's Record Search tool. This is a new database of indexed primary documents; most of the documents are fully digitized. It's an amazing resource. It makes huge number of primary documents available, it's rich indexing allows complex searching, and it has a really appealing interface for viewing digitized documents. As a demonstration of it's usefulness, I'll run down some of the new information I gleaned about my four case studies using Record Search.
In one case study, I trace the ancestors of a woman named Vera Beaudette, who was the great-grandmother of a friend of mine. Vera's mother was Ella Palma Beaudette, nee Tischer, and was one of the most colorful characters in the case studies.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Ella married Adolphus Beaudette in 1891. They had one child (Vera) but the marriage ended unhappily, and the couple divorced in 1902. In the 1910 census, she is oddly recorded on the census. Her daughter, age 17, is recorded as the head of the household, and she is recorded as Palma E. Lovgren, lodger:
In various documents from after that date, she is listed again as E. Palma Beaudette.
But in 1919, she published a history of East Chicago, Indiana, and is listed as E. Palma Beadette-Neil.
So, it appears that she remarried twice after divorcing Adolphus Beaudette: once to a man named Lovgren, and once to a man named Neil.
Discovering the particulars of these marriages was difficult because there was no easily accessible index to Cook County, Illinois marriages after 1900. If (as in my case) you did not have a date of marriage, it was very difficult to research.
A few weeks ago, Cook County marriages from 1871-1920 were added to Record Search. Searching for Beaudette, I found a 1918 marriage between Albert E. Neil and E. Palma Beaudette.So far, I haven't found much about Mr. Neil. Nor have I discovered a marriage to a Lovgren. Nevertheless, I have an important clue that was previously inaccessible. In another post, I'll talk a bit about the extensive indexing on FamilySearch Labs and how it provided new clues in my Simpson case study.