Learn how to best use the free genealogy website FamilySearch.org. We’ve got expert advice on everything from exploring the FamilySearch Family Tree to visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
This detailed guide provides tips and strategies for how to use FamilySearch.org to find genealogy records from across the world.
The site’s record search doesn’t cover all its genealogical information. Under the Family Tree menu, choose Find to search the Family Tree. To search user-contributed genealogies, use Search>Genealogies. With Memories>Find, you might find photos and stories not attached to the Family Tree.
The FamilySearch records search lets you use the ? wildcard in a surname to represent one letter, and the * wildcard to represent multiple letters.
Browsing an unindexed collection? Digitized volumes may contain handwritten or typed name indexes. Look for a volume with “index” in the title, and check the beginning and end of individual volumes.
To focus your search on record collections related to a place, look under the Search tab, click Records and select a region on the world map. If you click on the United States and click New York in the popup menu, a New York research page comes up, where you can search indexed New York records. Scroll down to see collections that haven’t been indexed yet; click a title to browse.
FamilySearch can help you find records faster by filling in the search form with details on someone in the Family Tree. In the person’s Details view, look under the Search Records section of the right column and select FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findmypast or MyHeritage. You can attach a matching record from FamilySearch to everyone it pertains to in the tree. Now MyHeritage can do that, too. Look for the link at the bottom of the record to “Attach source to FamilySearch.”
The FamilySearch Wiki, which you can access under the Search tab, offers research advice, such as how to access records for a particular state or country or how to find military records.
FamilySearch’s fast digitizing pace means you should check regularly for new records from the places your family lived. Under the Search tab, click Records, then click Browse All Published Collections to see a list of all records. Click the Last Updated column heading to move recently updated collections to the top.
To find articles and videos about using FamilySearch, Click on Get Help, then Help Center and search on a topic. For example, search for Civil War, and the matches include an article on South Carolina Civil War service records of Confederate soldiers, videos on researching Civil War records and more.
If you have a few minutes, you can index digitized records on your home computer and make them searchable. Click on Indexing>Overview to get started with FamilySearch Indexing.
FamilySearch.org is the world’s biggest, all-free, all-genealogy website. This whirlwind tour covers its historical records, family tree data and research tips.READ MORE
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is a genealogy dream vacation destination. Here’s what you need to know for your next research trip.READ MORE
Learn the steps FamilySearch takes to add new records to its free website, from identifying at-risk documents to creating and indexing digital images.READ MORE
Learn the steps FamilySearch takes to add new records to its free website, from identifying at-risk documents to creating and indexing digital images.
FamilySearch.org is the world’s biggest, all-free, all-genealogy website. This whirlwind tour covers its historical records, family tree data and research t...
*FamilyTreeMagazine.com is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. It provides a means for this site to earn advertising fees, by advertising and linking to Amazon and affiliated websites.