Project 1: Family Tree
Navigate your family tree, add ancestors, and update ancestor information in FamilySearch.
Tracker: Online or Word
Goal 1: Navigate Family Tree Vault
For FamilySearch users, navigating in FamilySearch Family Tree is essential to finding ancestors, interpreting their information, and adding records, data, and memories to their entries.
Note: You can view FamilySearch screens and The Family History Guide in side-by-side browser windows, instead of constantly switching between browser tabs. For instructions, click here. For help with an instruction, click a bold word in the step.
A Sign in to FamilySearch and move around the Family Tree screen.Summary
- Set up a FamilySearch account if necessary.
- Sign in to FamilySearch.
- Display your family tree and move around in it.
- Go to www.familysearch.org and near the upper-right corner of the window, click Sign In.
- Type your username and password, and click Sign In. If you have forgotten your username or password, click the link for username or password for help. For help with recovering an LDS account or password, read this article.
FS—Retrieve a Forgotten Name or Retrieve a Password
- To display your family tree, in the top menu click Family Tree. You will see "couple's boxes" (husbands and wives) with your ancestors' information. Landscape View is selected as the view type in the second menu bar.
- Click and drag the mouse pointer anywhere on the Family Tree screen to move your family tree around.
A welcome screen appears, showing personalized information about your family tree and helpful tools. To learn more about this screen, read this article.
Note: If your family tree is empty or nearly empty, skip ahead to Choice F to begin filling it out.Exercises
- * Good: Sign in to FamilySearch.
- * Proficient: After signing in, display your family tree and move it around on the screen.
B Change the zoom level on the screen to see a larger or smaller view.Summary
- Find and use the plus and minus icons to zoom.
- Click to the maximum and minimum zoom levels.
- * Good: Zoom in (enlarge the view) and then shrink it back to the previous view.
- * Proficient: Find out how many different zoom levels there are, and which one(s) you prefer.
C Expand and contract family lines to see more or fewer ancestors.
- To view previous generations in the pedigree, click an Expand button (arrow pointing to the right).
- To contract and return to the previous view, click a Contract button (arrow pointing to the left).
- Notice the ancestor surnames and birth locations (cities and states) as you go.
- Practice navigating around your tree, opening and closing branches until you feel comfortable exploring your family lines.
Note: Only one expanded line is shown at a time for the same generation. When you click an additional Expand button in the same generation, the other expanded line is automatically contracted.
- * Good: Click several different Expand buttons (if available) and notice the family lines that opened to view. Then click all the Contract buttons that are showing to return to the original view.
- * Proficient: Click the Expand buttons to view every line in your family tree back at least five generations (or as many as are availble). Contract views whenever needed to allow other lines to open.
D Customize your pedigree view, and review tree navigation skills.Summary
- Use the Show dialog to customize your view.
- Learn more about tree navigation in the article and video links below.
- If you want to show less information (and you want to have room for more couples on the screen), at the right edge of the second menu bar click Show. Then clear the checkboxes for Portraits and Marriages. You can also clear checkboxes for Request Ordinances (if enabled in Settings), Record Hints, Research Suggestions, and Data Problems.
- To change the color scheme of the couple's boxes from black-on-white to white-in-black, click Show, and select Invert Colors. To return to the original colors, click Invert Colors again.
- For a video review of navigation techniques, watch the FS Landscape Navigation video. It also covers concepts in Goal 2 below.
FS—Family Tree: How To Navigate the Family Tree Tool Overview—3:21
- For a review of Landscape elements, read these articles.
RIV—FamilySearch Family Tree
FS—Using the Landscape Pedigree View LANG: DE ES FR PT
- For more help on navigating Family Tree and other topics, click Get Help (upper-right corner) or the Tips icon (lower-right corner). To learn more, read these articles.
FS—Using the Help Center LANG: DE ES FR PT
Tree Tips | LANG: DE PT
- * Proficient: Clear each of the Show check boxes one at a time, noting the differences in the information displayed in your tree each time.
E Understand the privacy rules for FamilySearch that determine how information for living persons is handled.Summary
- You can see the record of a living person only if you created it.
- Living people you create are hidden from everyone else, including the individuals themselves and your other family members.
- Living people have a Private Person banner at the top of their Person page.
- Memories attached to living people are potentially viewable by anyone.
Note: Generally, data for living people outside your immediate family cannot be viewed or searched for.
FS—Who Can See My Living Relatives
F (Optional) If your family tree is empty or very small, begin to fill it out.Summary
- Link your living ancestors to deceased ancestors if needed.
- If your tree has fewer than 4 generations, use the Quick Start tool.
- If your tree is empty, use the FamilySearch First Run tool.
- Watch this video to learn how to link living individuals to deceased ancestors.
FS—When Your Family Tree is Empty—3:08
- Read this article about starting with a blank family tree. It also explains how to use Quick Start if your tree contains fewer than 4 generations.
FS—Starting with a Blank Family Tree LANG: DE ES FR IT PT JA
- Go to the FamilySearch First Run page to get help adding ancestors, starting with your parents. Click Next until you finish the First Run process. You can also click to get help with experts.
- Return to Choice A above to work on navigation skills.
Goal 2: View details about direct-line ancestors.
Once you locate ancestors in Family Tree, you can read a variety of important details about them.
A Open a Summary card for a person other than yourself.Summary
- Find and open Summary cards in your tree.
- Understand the information in Summary cards.
- Choose a person's name on the screen, and click on it.
- To learn more about your ancestor, read each of the information items in the Summary card that appears.
- For help with Summary card information, read the first page of the document.
FS—Quick Start Guide (p.1)
- * Proficient: Open the Summary cards for at least three ancestors, whose Summary cards you have not yet seen. Study the information on the card, noting dates and places of interest.
B Open the Person page for an ancestor.Summary
- Find and open person pages in your tree.
- Understand the information in Person pages.
- Use the View My Relationship tool to discover relationships to specific ancestors.
- At the bottom of the Summary card, click Person.
- On the Person page that appears, study each information category (Life Sketch, Vital Information, Other Information, etc.) to learn what types of information are included. You can use the links in the Details tab to quickly access the categories.
- For more information on Person Page details, read page 4 of the article.
FS—Quick Start Guide (p.4)
- To see how you are related to this person, near the top of the Person page click View My Relationship. A line diagram appears, linking you to this ancestor.
- * Good: Open the Person pages for three ancestors, preferably several generations back.
- * Proficient: Same as above, and use the View My Relationship tool to display a diagram of your relationship to each of these ancestors.
C Place an ancestor as the first person in the Pedigree view.Summary
- Set first position using the Details tab.
- Set first position using the Summary card.
- View a list of first-position ancestors.
Switching to a first-position view shows more generations for that ancestor in the view.
- At the top of the Person page, just above the Details tab, click View Tree. This moves the person to the first position.
- Notice that children are displayed to the left in the Tree. You can click any of their names to open a Summary card, and you can click a left arrow to navigate forward in time.
- An alternate way to set an ancestor to the first position is to do this: at the bottom the person's Summary card, click Tree.
- To see a list of the ancestors you have most recently moved to the first position, in the top menu bar, to the right of Tree, click the down arrow.
- * Good: Go back several generations and set a selected ancestor to the first position view. Then click several left arrows to move forward (more recent) in time, along the descendant line.
- * Proficient: Go back several generations and set a selected ancestor to the first position view. Then click several left arrows to move forward (more recent) in time, along the descendant line.
DUse the Person menu to quickly choose a person for first-position view.Summary
- Set your name in first position using the Person menu.
- Set another name to first position with the Person menu.
- Remove a name from the first-position list.
This helps you restore the first-person view back to you, or to any other recently viewed person.
- To place yourself in the first position, next to the Person menu click the down arrow, and in the drop-down menu, select your name.
- To select another person for the first position, in the Person drop-down menu click another name. Up to 50 names are displayed in the menu.
- To remove a person from this drop-down list (which does not remove them from the tree), hover over the name, and click the X that appears.
- * Proficient: Review the Summary section above and do each of the tasks suggested there.
E Produce a 4-generation pedigree chart for the person in the first position.
This shows direct-line ancestors and their vital information.Summary
- Create a pedigree PDF without portraits.
- Create a pedigree PDF with portraits.
- In Landscape view, click the printer icon (upper-right corner). This creates a pedigree chart as a PDF document in a separate tab.
- You can save or print the PDF document, or do both; then close it.
- To create a pedigree with portraits displayed, a) Open the Person page for the ancestor, b) Scroll down to the Print box (right side), and c) Click Portrait Pedigree. A vertical pedigree is created with portraits, including the ancestor's children and their spouses. You can click a portrait in the chart to open the Person page for that ancestor.
- * Good: Create a pedigree chart PDF with yourself in first position, with photos, and then print the PDF.
- * Proficient: Same as above, and then create a pedigree chart PDF for a recent ancestor in first position, with photos, and print the PDF.
F Produce a family group sheet for an ancestor.
This shows vital information for the ancestor, spouse, and children.
- Open the Person page for the ancestor.
- Scroll down to the Print box (right side), and click Family or Family with Sources.
- Save the PDF document, or close it.
- For more information on printing family group sheets, read this article:
FS—Printing Family Group Sheets LANG: DE ES FR PT JA
- * Good: Create a family group sheet PDF with yourself in first position, with photos, and then print the PDF.
- * Proficient: Same as above, and then create a family group sheet PDF for a recent ancestor in first position, with photos, and print the PDF.
Goal 3: View the children and other spouses of ancestors.
This helps you see family members at a glance in Family Tree.
A View the children for a selected couple.Summary
- Use the Children link to view a couple's children.
- Display the Summary card for a child.
- View the children of a first-position ancestor.
- In Landscape view, at the bottom of a couple's box click the Children link.
- To display a Summary card for that person, click one of the child names.
- To see these children, click the arrow.
Note: When you are viewing children to the left of a first-position ancestor, a left arrow appears for any new generations that can be displayed.
- * Good: Review the Summary section above and do each of the tasks suggested there for an ancestor.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for 3 ancestors.
B Explore the Family Members section of the Person page.
The Family Members section of the Person page for an individual lists his or her spouses and children on the left side of the page, and the previous generation (parents and the individual's siblings) on the right side.
- Click any name to display the Summary card for that person, and then click Person.
- If the individual has multiple spouses, scroll down to see the information for those families. To have a spouse appear as the default spouse in the family tree, select Preferred Spouse.
- To hide the Children view for all spouses of this individual, click Hide All (just above the first couple listed). To show them again, click Show All.
- * Good: In the Family Members section, open the Summary Card for a sibling of the one whose Person card you are viewing. Hide and then show all the children in the Parents and Siblings column.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for siblings of 3 different ancestors.
C (Optional) View other spouses, if any, for a selected husband or wife.
- Find a down arrow that appears next to a husband or wife in a couple's box. (You may need to expand your tree until you see such a link.)
- To display that person's Summary Card, click the down arrow, and select a different spouse in the drop-down list.
Goal 4: Use the Find menu or Go To feature to locate ancestors in your family tree.
The Find and Person menus can greatly speed up searches for known ancestors in your tree, instead of scrolling through Family Tree views.
AUsing the Find menu, search for known ancestors in your family tree.Summary
- Use the Find by ID feature.
- Use the Find by Name feature.
Note: This technique finds ancestors already in your Family Tree. Doing research for new ancestors to add to your family tree is explained in Project 4: Discover.
- If you know the ID number for a person (available on the Summary card or Person page), click the Find menu, click the Find by ID tab, and in the ID Number box, enter the data. This will place the person with that ID number in first position.
- If you don't know the ID number, a) Click the Find by Name tab; b) Type the name and birth date of an ancestor in your tree to search for; and c) Press Enter or click Find to return the name, as well as other names that FamilySearch determines might be a match.
- For help with using ID numbers in Family Tree searches, read the article
FS—FamilySearch ID Numbers.
Note: Using the Find by Name tab is essential for Goal 7, which deals with adding ancestors.
- * Proficient: Browse your family tree to select an ancestor to be used with the Find by ID feature. Find the ID number, type it in the Find by ID field, and then find the ancestor. Then browse your family tree to select an ancestor to be used with the Find by Name feature. Type the name in the Find by Name field, and then find the ancestor.
B (Optional) Do a "limited" search to refine the results.
- Click the Find by Name tab, and then select the Match All Exactly checkbox for each item that needs to be exactly matched.
Note: You should use exact matches only when you are reasonably sure that the data in all your search fields is correct. Otherwise, you will exclude records that should be included in the search.
C Quickly find recently viewed people using the Go To feature.Summary
- Use the Go To feature to find a person you recently viewed.
- Remove people from the Go To list.
- Next to Tree or Person in the menu bar, click the down arrow. A list of up to 50 recently viewed individuals appears.
- Select a person from the list, or type a person's ID in the Go To box and click the arrow.
- To remove a person from the list, hover the pointer over the name, and click the X that appears.
- * Proficient: Us the Go To feature to find three different ancestors. Then remove one of them from the Recently Viewed list.
Goal 5: Use alternate views (Portrait, Fan, Descendancy, Virtual Pedigree, etc.) to see your ancestors.
The Portrait view shows photos for your ancestors. The Fan Chart view shows more ancestors on a screen, in a semi-circle view, which helps you identify missing ancestors quickly. The Descendancy view helps you do research on descendants of a given ancestor.
AUse Portrait view to see available photos of your direct-line ancestors.Summary
- Switch to Portrait view in Family Tree.
- Navigate up and down the tree in Portrait view.
- In the lower menu bar, click the Portrait icon. Portrait view shows up to 3 generations past the current ancestor, plus the current ancestor's children. Record hints and other icons are available in this view.
- Review the photos of your ancestors that appear in the view, noticing those you have not seen before.
- To go back a generation, at the top of the view click an up arrow. To go forward a generation, at the bottom of the view, click a down arrow. Note: You can use the Show menu, as explained in Goal 1, Choice D above, to select the types of information that appear. Also, you can click the plus or minus icon to zoom the view, or drag the mouse or use the scroll bars to change the view position.
- * Good: Select an ancestor with a photo that you have not seen. Then browse the Person page for that ancestor to learn more.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Also, start with yourself in first position and count the number of direct ancestors in your tree who have photos in Portrait view.
B Display and print a Fan Chart.Summary
- View fan charts for various ancestors.
- Display Summary cards in Fan Chart view.
- Move a person to first position in Fan Chart view.
- Print a 7-generation fan chart.
- In Family Tree, on the lower menu bar, to change to the Fan Chart view, click the fan icon. The fan chart shows 4 generations before the ancestor, as well as the ancestor's children.
- To display a Summary card, click the person's name, and then close the card.
- To extend the fan chart, click a person's name at the top edge of the chart, and then then click View Tree when the Summary card appears. This puts the selected person in first position for the new chart.
- To move a person to the first position in the chart, click the fan icon next to a name.
- To print a 7-generation Fan Chart for that person, click the Print icon. (Children are not shown on the printed fan chart for the starting person.)
- For a first-position person, click a child's name to show the Summary card. If there are more than 5 children for a couple, click an arrow on the left or right to scroll through the children list.
- To see other spouses for an ancestor, click the arrow next to a spouse to scroll to another spouse.
- For help with displaying and navigating with fan charts, read this article.
FS—Navigating the Fan Chart View (p.3)
- * Good: View the Summary cards for three different ancestors in a fan chart, including one who is past the edge of the current chart.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Also, with yourself in first position, create (print) a fan chart PDF and analyze where the most blank spots are in the chart.
C Use Descendancy view to see descendant lines of the ancestor you select.Summary
- Use Descendancy view for an ancestor.
- View multiple generations of descendants and their spouses.
- Use the Show dialog to customize descendancy views.
- Click the Descendancy icon. Record Hints and other icons are available in this view.
- In the upper-left corner, click Expand.
- Select an ancestor. If possible, choose one who was born over 100 years ago, so there will be more descendants to view.
- Set the Generations to 2 or 3, instead of 1.
- Use the Expand buttons to collapse or expand lines in the view.
- Scroll down to see descendants and their spouses.
- In the upper-right corner, click the Show link. The box describes the colored icons that appear to the right of some ancestor names.
- Uncheck one or more options to change the Descendancy view.
- * Good: Choose an ancestor born in the 1800's or 1700's and set that person to the first position. Switch to Descendancy view, and trace a descendant line. Alternate between male and female descndants until you approach the year 2000.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Also, turn off the Add People and Spouses view options, notice the differences in the descendancy view, and turn them back on again.
D Use Virtual Pedigree to see a wider view of your family tree in pedigree form.Summary
- Log in to Virtual Pedigree.
- Navigate your tree.
- Use display options such as viewing person details and setting a different person as root.
The Virtual Pedigree program expands the viewing width of your family tree as you scroll over it, so you don't have to stop at each branch and reset the view. The Virtual Pedigree program also supplies hints for missing information.
- Access Virtual Pedigree.
- Click the Log in with FamilySearch button.
- Sign in to FamilySearch to display your family tree in Virtual Pedigree.
- Move the cursor in any direction to adjust your pedigree view.
- To see details for ancestor, click the ancestor name.
- To set a different person as root, click Set as Root. This opens up a descendancy view for that person.
- If you want to see more ancestors on the screen at a time, you can change the display setting. In Display Settings, choose Simple Box from the Detailed Box drop-down menu.
- * Good: In Virtual Pedigree, see how many ancestor names you can see in your family tree in one minute.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Also, set another person as Root and explore the descendancy view for that person.
D (Optional) Use additional programs to see your family tree in different display formats.
- Access One-Page Genealogy. This free tool helps you see multiple generations easily on one page.
- Click My Tree to get started.
- For a description of One-Page Genealogy features, see this blog post by James Tanner.
- Access the Pedigree Pie page. This tool helps displays a pie chart for percentages of your international heritage.
- Click Log in with FamilySearch to get started.
- For a description of Pedigree Pie features, see this blog post by James Tanner.
Goal 6: Change information for ancestors in your tree. Vault
Making corrections helps you and others see the most complete and accurate information in Family Tree.
Note: Go back only a few generations from yourself at first, unless you already have extensive information in your possession to check against Family Tree. You can return to this goal when you have done research for ancestors (Project 4).
A Update vital information for a person.Summary
- View vital information for an ancestor.
- Edit ancestor information.
- Provide a reason statement for each edit.
- Whenever practical, use the standard format for dates and places. As you type, a list will appear so you can select the standard format. See the articles below for tips on using standardization.
FS—Entering Standardized Dates and Places
LANG: DE ES FR IT PT
FS—More About Standard Place Names in Family Tree
- In Family Tree, open the Person page for the person who needs updating.
- Scroll down to the Vital Information box.
- Click the link for the information you want to change.
- Click Edit and make the changes.
- Provide reason statements for the changes you make in the family tree. Read this document for the steps to follow.
FS—Adding, Editing, Deleting Information
- For ideas on how to write effective reason statements, see this FamilySearch blog article.
FS—Tips for Writing Good Reason Statements
- Click Save to record the changes.
- For more information on editing facts and relationships, watch this video.
BYU—Editing Facts and Relationships
Note: Anyone who has signed up to "watch" changes for this ancestor will be notified when you click Save.
- * Good: Browse the Person pages for ancestors until you find one that needs additions or corrections you feel comfortable making. Then edit the Person page with your changes and supply a Reason Statement for each change you make.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for three ancestors.
B Update "Other Information" for a person.Summary
- Find the Other Information section for an ancestor.
- Edit Other Information.
- Add Other Information.
- In Family Tree, open the Person page for the person who needs updating.
- Scroll down to the Other Information box and click the Open Details link.
- For the piece of information you want to change, click Edit and make the changes. (This is similar to Choice A above.)
- Click Save.
- To add other information, a) Click Add; b) Select the information type from the list; c) Fill in the information fields; and d) Click Save.
- For more about updating Vital and Other information, read page 5 of the first article
FS—Quick Start, Family Tree (p.5) and all of the second article.
FS—Adding a Custom Event or Fact LANG: DE ES FR IT PT JA
- * Good: Browse the Person pages for ancestors until you find one that needs additions or corrections to Other Information that you feel comfortable making. Edit the Person page with your changes to Other Information and supply a Reason Statement for each change you make.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for three ancestors.
C Update the Marriage information for a couple.Summary
- Add a spouse where needed.
- Edit marriage information for a couple.
- Add a reason statement for each update.
To add a spouse,
- In Family Tree, open the Person page for an existing ancestor.
- Click Add Spouse.
- Fill in as much information as you can.
- Click Next.
To update the marriage information for a couple,
- Open the Person page for either spouse.
- Scroll down to the Family Members area, and under Spouses and Children, click the pencil icon.
- In the box on the right side, click any information link you want to update, and then click Edit. You can also remove or replace a spouse here.
- Update the information in the field, type a Reason statement, and click Save.
- * Proficient: Browse your tree until you find an ancestor who has a missing spouse for which you have information; then add the spouse or update the spouse information. Also, browse your tree until you find an ancestor who needs updated marriage information; then update or correct the spouse information.
D (Optional) Correct relationship errors or change relationships in your family tree.
These can include an unknown spouse in a couple's box, children assigned to the wrong parent, etc.
- See this document for the steps to follow in correcting relationship errors.
FS—There Is a Missing Parent LANG: PT JA
- Read this article for information on adding or changing relationship types in your tree. These include step-children, adoptions, etc.
FS—Adding, Changing Relationship Types | FS—Removing or Replacing an Incorrect Spouse
- Read this article for information on deleting relationship types, such as duplicate families, in your tree.
FS—Deleting Relationship Types LANG: PT
- To fix a looping pedigree (such as a person linked to a father who is younger than the person) in Family Tree, use the tips in this article.
FS—Solving a Pedigree Looping Problem in Family Tree
E See changes that others have made to a person's record.Summary
- View the Latest Changes for an ancestor.
- View all changes.
- Open the Person page for an ancestor.
- Scroll down to Latest Changes in the right-hand pane.
- If you want to see all available changes for this person, click Show All.
- For more information on changes to person information, read this article.
FS—Seeing and Undoing Changes LANG: DE ES FR IT PT JA
- To protect a record against change by others, watch this video.
FS—Someone Keeps Changing my Records—Now What—5:33
- * Good: Find a Person page and view all the available changes for the ancestor.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for three ancestors.
F (Optional) Use the FamilySearch Watch List to be notified when others make changes to data for an ancestor.Summary
- View the Latest Changes for an ancestor.
- View all changes for an ancestor.
- Open the Person page for the ancestor you want to track.
- Click Watch (next to Tree near the top of the page). You will be sent an email when a change is made to data for an ancestor on your Watch list.
- To stop watching the ancestor, click Unwatch (next to Tree near the top of the page).
- For more details on using the Watch List, refer to this article.
FS—Using the Watch List LANG: ES FR PT
G Correct data problems that may occur in your family tree information.
- To have FamilySearch display a red icon next to each data problem it finds in your tree, make sure that Data Problems is checked in the Show link.
- For details on common types of data problems and tips on correcting them, read the article.
FS—Fixing Data Problems in Family Tree
- You can also use the Find-A-Record website to find data problems and correct them in your tree. See Goal 9 for details.
LANG: DE ES FR PT
- * Good: Browse your tree until you find an ancestor with data problems; then correct the problem using tips from the documents above. If you have trouble finding data problems, you can use the Find-A-Record tool (see Goal 9).
- * Proficient: Same as above, for three ancestors.
Goal 7: Add ancestors you know about to your tree.
As you fill in the gaps in your family tree, you develop a sense of connection with your ancestors and your heritage. Note: If you don't have any ancestors to add at this time, skip to Goal 8 below.
AAdd a missing ancestor to your tree, using Add Husband or Add Wife in Landscape view.Summary
- Find a husband or wife to be added, by ID.
- Find a husband or wife to be added, by Name.
- Add a husband, wife, or couple in a new couple's box in your tree.
Note: Be sure you are confident of that person's vital data (name, birth or death, marriage, etc.) before adding him or her to the tree.
- Read this article for ideas on building your family tree.
FS—Building Your Family Tree
- In Family Tree, in a Couple's box that is missing one or both spouses, click Add Husband or Add Wife.
- If you know the new ancestor's ID—such as if you discovered the person elsewhere in FamilySearch, or someone gave you the ID number—then follow steps 3-7 below.
- In the lower-right corner, click Find by ID Number. (If you need to enter characters in a non-English language, click the Template: Standard link for options.)
- Type the ID number.
- Click Find.
- If you find a couple match, click Add Couple, or if only one person is a good match, click Add Person.
- If the matches are not correct, then a) Click Refine Search to retype the ID number (if incorrect), or b) Click Cancel.
If you do not know the new ancestor's ID, then:
- Fill in as many fields as you can in the Add Parents dialog.
- Select Living or Deceased.
- If desired, click additional Find options, and fill in more search fields.
- Click Next.
- If you see a correct match, click Add Couple or Add Person, or
- If the matches are not correct, to try a different search, click Refine Search, or
- To add the new person you entered in the search as a member of the tree, at the top of the list click Create New.
- Refer to the article for details about using the Find feature for adding ancestors.
FS—Linking a Person into Your Line LANG: ES
- For more information about adding ancestors to your tree, read the article.
FS—Adding a new Person to Your Tree
- * Proficient: Add a husband or wife to your family tree, using the guidelines above.
B Add a missing child for whom you have accurate information.Summary
- Find the Family Members section for an ancestor's Person page.
- Find a child to add, by ID or name.
- Add a child to its family.
- Change a child's relationship if needed.
- In Family Tree, open the Person page for an existing spouse.
- In the Family Members section of the Person page, click Add Child.
- Follow the basic steps in Choice A above to search for and add the correct person as a child.
- If you need to change the child's relationship from "biological" to another ("adopted," "step," etc.), follow the steps in this article.
FS—Add, Change, Delete Relationship Types LANG DE ES FR PT
- * Good: Add a child of an ancestor couple to your family tree, using the guidelines above.
- * Proficient: Same as above, adding a child to 3 or more ancestor couples.
C (Optional) Migrate information from other databases to your FamilySearch tree.
If you have family tree information in other databases or websites, such as Ancestry or RootsMagic, you may be able to automatically copy that information into FamilySearch Family Tree without having to do manual data entry.
- Watch this video for tips on moving information from Ancestry to FamilySearch.
BYU—Ancestry to FamilySearch—11:27
- Learn about sharing information between FamilySearch and Ancestry.
BYU—Sharing Information between FamilySearch and Ancestry—5:54
- Here are some tips for handling very large genealogy files.
BYU—How to Handle Very Large Genealogy Collections and Files—60:26
Goal 8: Add sources for an ancestor's records in your family tree. Vault
When you add sources to an ancestor's entry, you help others see the evidence for the dates or other information that exist there.
ALearn about sourcing and why it's important.Summary
- Primary sources: vital records, certificates, census records, newspapers, etc.
- Secondary sources: histories or journals of someone who did not experience the event.
- Citation: a reference that describes where to find the source information.
- Sourcing helps everyone understand each other's work and helps avoid confusion and duplication of effort.
- Sourcing provides authenticity to claims that are being made.
- Watch for conflicting information in dates and places. Genealogical Proof Standard: Conduct a reasonably exhaustive research, accurately cite sources, ensure evidence has been skillfully interpreted.
- Become well-acquainted with the types of records you are using, including possible contradictions in them.
- Read these articles to learn about the importance of adding sources for your family history work.
FS—Sources in Family Tree LANG: DE ES FR IT PT JA
GC—Sourcing: Key to Family History Detective Work
- Learn how to determine accuracy of information in records.
GC—Determining Accuracy of Information | FS—Document Analysis and Evaluation—6 pgs.
- Understand the Genealogical Standard of Proof for sources.
FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 1
- Ensure that your research meets the Genealogical Standard of Proof.
FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 2
- Learn how to apply the Genealogical Standard of Proof to sources you are evaluating.
FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 3
- * Good: Study and be familiar with each of the points listed in the Summary link above.
- * Proficient: Same as above; also, read at least three of the articles in this Choice and write down key learnings.
B Use the Landscape view to find ancestors who need sources listed for their information.Summary
- Find light-blue icons for sources.
- Read the details for the sources.
- Look for ancestors with a light-blue icon in the couple's box—this means that record sources are available. If you don't see any of these icons, expand one or more ancestor lines to find them. A purple icon means there are research hints available for the person.
- Click the light-blue icon for an ancestor who needs a source attached. (You can also find source hints in the Hinting area of the ancestor's Person Page.)
- At the bottom of the Record Hints dialog, click Show Details. This displays a window with record hints and research suggestions (if any) for the ancestor. Choice C below explains how to review and attach the record in your family tree.
- For more on using the Record Hints in FamilySearch, read this article.
FS—Record Hints LANG: DE ES FR PT
- * Good: Follow the steps above to locate record hints for one of your direct-line ancestors. Make a note of these, so you can use them for attaching sources in Choice C below.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for three direct-line ancestors.
C In Landscape view, review and attach a source to your ancestor's Person page.Summary
- Follow the Review and Attach process.
- For a record that's a match, use one of the copy, print or share options.
- Attach a record that's a match.
- Click a blue record hints icon (see Choice B above), and then click Show Details.
- Click Review and Attach to proceed, or Not a Match to return to the Family Tree screen. Assuming you are proceeding,
- To view the basic information for the source record, click the View: Record link (upper-left).
- If the information does not match your ancestor, click Not a Match, and return to your family tree. Or, if you decide not to attach the record at this time, click Return to Family Tree (bottom of the screen).
- If you want to copy, print, or download the record information, click Go To: Record.
a) To copy the record text to your clipboard so you can paste it into another document, click Copy;
b) To print the record text, click Print;
c) To share on social media, click Share and choose an option from the drop-down menu;
d) To store the information in your Source Box, click Source Box and choose Add to My Source Box.
- When you are finished, return to the Attach Historical Records screen (click Back in the browser.
- Type a reason for attaching the source, and then click Attach. The source record is automatically attached to the family tree.
- Click Return to Family Tree at the bottom of the screen. In the ancestor's Person page, notice that the Record Hint no longer appears in the Hinting area (upper right); instead, it appears as a Source at the bottom of the page.
- Read these articles for a review of adding and attaching sources.
FS—Attaching FS Historical Records |
RIV—Adding and Attaching Sources
- To learn about changing the focus person in the Source Linker, watch this video.
- For a detailed look at the record hinting process, read this blog post.
Record Hints LANG: DE ES FR PT
- If you would like to attach websites as sources for records in your tree, read this article about using Tree Connect from RecordSeek.
RIV—RecordSeek for Recording Sources in Family Tree
- * Good: Attach sources to the Person pages of at least three ancestors. Be sure to include reason statements for each.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Also, share your sources with a friend or relative on social media, or save them to your Source Box in FamilySearch.
D Tag events to the sources you have found, or edit or detach sources.
- Follow the steps on page 3 of the document to tag events for your ancestor.
RIV—Adding/Attaching Sources to a Tree (p.3)
- For more information on editing or detaching sources, read these articles.
FS—Tagging Sources—2:00 | FS—Detaching Sources—2:00
- * Good: Tag one or more events to a source you have found.
- * Proficient: Same as above, but for 3 ancestors. Also, edit one of the sources.
E Print sources on a Family Group Record.
- On a Person page, go to the Print area on the right and click Family with Sources. Now the sources you attached will appear in the family group sheet next to corresponding ancestors.
- To see a sample Family Group Record with sources, click the picture at the right. The sources are at the end of the document.
- * Proficient: Print family group sheets with sources for each of the ancestor families you selected in Choice C.
F (Optional) When light-blue icons or Hinting are not available, use the Sources feature in the Person page to find and attach sources.
These are sources that you have come across in doing research.
- Learn about record sources and how to use them to document information for your ancestors.
FS—Putting Documents as Sources in Family Tree—11:24 | FS—I Want to Learn More about Sourcing—11:24
- Learn how to attach documents to a source from a Person page.
FS—Correct Way to Attach Sources in FamilySearch—10:34
- For ideas on keeping track of your genealogical sources, watch this video.
FS—Genealogy Source Checklists —32:51
- To see lists of current and missing sources for your ancestors, refer to Goal 9, Choice B in this Project.
Goal 9: Use Find-A-Record to add sources and update information for ancestors.
FindaRecord.com helps you determine which of your ancestors have opportunities for sources, corrections, and other updates in your tree. This site pulls information from your FamilySearch tree and shows ancestors who need data updates.
A Get started with Find-a-Record.
- Go to the Find-A-Record site.
- Click Sign In with FamilySearch.
- Click the blue Sign In button on the FamilySearch screen.
B Set your choices for people and record issues to display.Summary
- Set the number of generations for Find-A-Record to scan.
- Select the items to search for.
- Run a Find-A-Record scan.
- In the Find-A-Record screen, choose values in the drop-down menus for "Who do you want to find?" (the default is Cousins).
- Choose a value for "How many generations?" (the default is 5 generations or 100 years).
- If you want to eliminate some entries in the Opportunities list at the right, click a category in "What do you want to do?" and clear checkboxes as needed.
- In the Opportunities list on the right, click Details for any opportunity you want to investigate. Tip: Keep your FamilySearch browser window open so you can make updates to your tree and switch back to Find-A-Record for Opportunities.
Find-a-Record will scan your family tree and return Opportunities. The scan time depends on the size of your tree and the number of generations selected. If these are large, the scan may take 10 minutes or more.
Note: Opportunities for missing father, mother, and parents are discussed in Project 4: Discover, Goal 2, Choice D.Exercise
- * Good: Follow the steps in the Summary list above to create an Opportunities list for one or two categories. You can copy the list to a document to work on it later.
- * Proficient: Same as above. Then choose an ancestor in your tree several generations back as the start person and choose Descendants in the "Who Do You Want to Find" box.
C Work through the Opportunities list, and make needed updates in your tree.Summary
- Run a Find-A-Record scan.
- Use the scan results to make updates in your tree.
- Scroll through the Opportunities list that appears after you run a Find-A-Record scan, and make note of the ones you want to investigate. (You can click Fixed or Hide to remove an Opportunity from the list.)
- Open your family tree in FamilySearch, and make needed changes to ancestor information.
- * Good: Follow the steps in the Summary list and the steps above to update at least 5 members in your family tree.
- * Proficient: Follow the steps in the Summary list and the steps above to update at least 10 members in your family tree.
Goal 10: Add notes about ancestor entries, or join discussions about ancestors.
Adding notes and documentation to ancestor entries helps you a) Solidify your ancestor's information, b) Track issues and questions, and c) Communicate with other FamilySearch users about common issues.
A Add a helpful note about an ancestor.Summary
- See existing notes on ancestors.
- Add and save a note.
- In Family Tree, open the Person page for the ancestor.
- Below the Details tab, click Notes (at the right), or scroll to the bottom of the page.
- To see existing notes, click Open Details or click a link in the Notes box.
- Click Add a New Note to create a note.
- Write a title and text for the note. Make sure there is enough information to be clear to others who will read the note.
- Click Save.
- * Good: Find at least three ancestors who have notes recorded and read each of the notes to find out what others have added. If you have an observation to add about an ancestor, or see information that is in question, add notes to ancestor records.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for 8 ancestors.
B (Optional) Learn about current Family Tree user discussions regarding your ancestors.Summary
- See existing discussions on ancestors.
- Add and save a discussion.
Note: User discussions are usually posted to bring attention to record discrepancies, duplicate ancestors, or other problems with records.
- In your family tree, click a name to open the Summary card.
- Keep opening Summary cards until you find an ancestor with at least one discussion noted on the card.
- Open the Person page for that ancestor.
- In the Details tab, click Discussions.
- In the Discussion area on the Person page, click one of the Discussion links.
- To add a comment, click the Add Comment link at the bottom, type your entry, and click Save.
- To create a new discussion, in an open Discussion box click Add a New Discussion.
- Write a title and description for your discussion, and click Save.
- For tips on participating in discussions, read this article.
FS—Participating in Discussions
C Use the FamilySearch messaging feature to contact a person for information.Summary
- Find a contributor to whom you'd like to send a message.
- Type and send the message.
- Read this blog article about the FamilySearch Messaging feature. You can use it to send a message to someone who has updated a Person page (if that person has an available contact email address in FamilySearch).
- In the Latest Changes section of a Person page, click any contributor email link. The Messaging window opens.
- To display the Message Text window, at the bottom of the window click Send a Message.
- Type a message (up to 10,000 characters), and click Send. Your message will be delivered as a FamilySearch email.
- Track conversations in the Messages link at the top of the Family Tree screen.
- To contact the person by regular email instead of the messaging feature, click the person's email address in the Messaging window.
- To check for incoming messages, click the Messages link in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch home screen. You can click an individual message to read it in the main window or click Show Allto display all messages you have received. In the main window, you can also highlight a message and click the Delete link to remove it. Your replies to messages appear in the main window.
- To respond to a message, a) Highlight the message in the list, b) Type your message in the "Write a message" box, and c) Click Send.
- * Proficient: Find a contributor to one of your ancestors and send him or her a message (question, information sharing, etc.). Then follow up on the message reply. (If no reply is received, choose another contributor and try again.)
D Track and resolve conflicting information in genealogy lines.Summary
- Document parentage accurately.
- Use discrepancy charts.
- Resolve conflicting evidence.
- Document parentage accurately, as explained in this Ancestry video.
- Use discrepancy charts to track the differences in varying versions of an ancestor's line.
GC—Organize the Inconclusive
- Learn more about how to resolve conflicting evidence. AC—Resolving Conflicting Evidence—38:13 |
LDS—Dealing with Contradictory Evidence
- Explore Lesson 17 on the Evidence Explained website by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
- * Proficient: Find an ancestor whose notes or Person page information indicate conflicting evidence or a problem with parentage. Then use the key points in the articles and video above to develop a plan to resolve the differences.
Goal 11: Merge duplicate ancestors in your tree.
Duplicate entries for ancestors have been added over time to Family Tree. To eliminate the duplicates, you can merge two similar entries for an ancestor, keeping the information in just one entry.
A Search for possible duplicate entries in your tree.Summary
- Find a person in your tree who may be a duplicate entry.
- Note the duplicate person's ID number.
- Learn about duplicate records and how to handle them.
FS—Merging Duplicates in FamilySearch Family Tree—10:33
- Read the article (pages 5-6) or watch the video to get an overview of how duplicate entries are found.
FS—Quick Start, Family Tree (p.5-6)
FS—Duplicates in Family Tree
- Open the Person page for an ancestor who you think may have duplicate entries in Family Tree.
- In the Tools box, click the Possible Duplicates link.
- In the Matching People dialog, make note of the ID numbers for each person who has identical or very similar information.
- * Good: Follow the Summary points above for an ancestor with duplicate entries.
- * Proficient: Same as above, for two ancestors with duplicate entries.
B Use Find-A-Record to identify possible duplicates in your tree.Summary
- Find duplicates with Find-A-Record.
- Go to the Find-A-Record site.
- Clear all the checkboxes except "Problems." Find-A-Record will return a list of possible duplicates as well as other potential problems in the tree.
- * Proficient: Follow the steps above and select a pair of possible duplicate records to merge.
C Merge two duplicate entries in your family tree.
- Here is an overview article on the merging process.
FS—Merging People in FamilySearch's Family Tree
- Read these articles to learn how the merge process works.
RIV—Merging Duplicate Entries—2 pgs. | FS—Merging Duplicate Ancestors in Family Tree
- If you need to undo a merge that has been done, follow the steps in this article.
FS—Undoing a Merge LANG: DE ES FR PT JA
Note: Merging duplicate entries can be a complicated process, so use caution.
- * Good: Study the articles above and perform a merge of two duplicate ancestor records in your tree.
- * Proficient: Same as above, but merge duplicate records for three separate ancestors.
Goal 12 (optional): Produce customized ancestry charts.
Using customized or expanded pedigree and fan charts helps you see more of your ancestry or use different approaches.
A Use TreeSeek.com and other resources to produce expanded pedigree and fan charts from your FamilySearch data.
- Access www.treeseek.com.
- Click the Log In Now button.
- Sign in to FamilySearch, and then click Accept.
- Select the starting person for the chart by name or Person ID.
- Select the type of pedigree or fan chart you want.
- Click Create Chart and wait until the chart is completed.
- If you want to save a copy, click Download Chart.
- For more information on using TreeSeek to produce pedigree and fan charts, read this article.
RIV—Creating Charts with TreeSeek.com (2 pgs.)">
B Use blank, printable ancestry charts for individual or family projects.
- Download a variety of free printable templates from ObituariesHelp.org. These include charts that are also useful for younger children.
- Download free blank charts from About.com.
- Download free blank forms and charts from Ancestry.
C Use TreeSeek.com to produce a Source Tracker chart for ancestors.
- In TreeSeek, select the starting person for the chart by name or Person ID.
- Select the Source Tracker chart.
- Click Create Chart, and wait until the chart is completed.
- In the Census tab (default), click any check mark to see the corresponding FamilySearch census source for the person, or click the magnifying glass to search for a FamilySearch source record for the person.
- To view source records or search for them, click the Vital Events tab.
Goal 13 (optional): Change your account settings in FamilySearch.
You may need to change various account settings from time to time, such as your password and preferences.
A Edit your FamilySearch settings.
- Click your name in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch screen.
- Select Settings.
- If desired, change your Settings in the Account menu. These include username, password, display name, and Helper Number (the number other FamilySearch users can enter to give you access to their family trees).
- If desired, change information in the Contact menu. The email address listed here is the one that other FamilySearch users will use to contact you, if the Public box is checked.
- If desired, change settings in the Notifications menu. These include notifications from FamilySearch, Family Tree, and Indexing.
- If desired, change settings in the Preferences menu. These include LDS information and the starting persion ID for the family tree.
- If desired, change settings in the Connected Accounts menu. These include all family history companies who can access your family tree information, per your agreement. You can revoke access in this screen.
- For help with changing account settings, watch these videos. |
- If you want to sign out from FamilySearch, click your username and then select Sign Out.
Goal 14 (optional): Use apps and websites listed in the FamilySearch App Gallery to explore your family tree.
The FamilySearch App Gallery is a growing collection of family history software and sites that complement FamilySearch; some are additionally certified by FamilySearch.