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FamilySearch Web Guide
11/17/2010
The how-tos, hacks and helps you need to make the most of the FamilySearch website.
Since its launch in May 1999, FamilySearch has provided free records to the genealogy community at an astonishing rate. Not only does the site already have more than a billion names in searchable databases, but volunteers are transcribing a million names a day from historical records. FamilySearch had racked up more than 5 billion hits two years after its launch; today that number has surpassed 15 billion—more than twice the population of the entire planet.
 
Owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), whose members practice genealogy as a matter of faith, Family­Search and other LDS resources—including the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City and worldwide Family History Centers—are open to people of any religion. FamilySearch offers access to helpful resources and worldwide records via a constantly improving user interface, a pilot record search project, and an ambitious plan to digitize print publications that are currently available only on site at the FHL. We’ll show you how to best use the site’s resources to track down your ancestors.
 
Starting out
FamilySearch genealogy resources, as you probably know, are free, funded by the LDS church and its members. For several years, the site has been undergoing an upgrade. Updates will include online family trees (a feature termed “New FamilySearch” that’s being rolled out gradually, first to LDS members), an integrated record search, and an FHL catalog withentries you can comment on. Because Family­Search is always growing, you’ll want to keep track of where to find what. Here’s a navigation guide:
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