Goal 1: Get help with your own family history work. Vault
Although The Family History Guide has a wealth of resources and tasks to work on, there are times when you need some personal assistance with challenges in your family history This goal points you in the right directions.
AFind and access FamilySearch help resources for your family history questions.
- Use the Get Help feature in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch screen, or the Tips icon in the Family Tree navigation screen.
- Know the basic help resources that are available. These include phone help, online chat, and Q and A with helpers.
FS—Get Help in Person—4:14
- Get help by phone from FamilySearch.org. In the U.S. call 1-866-406-1830; for other countries, select the country name from the drop-down list.
- Get help by online chat from FamilySearch.org. Click Help in the main FamilySearch screen, and then select Live Chat. Follow the prompts in the chat window to get help from a FamilySearch representative.
- Send an email to FamilySearch Support. From Help, click Send Message; then select the message type, fill in the fields, and click Send Message.
- Submit questions to a FamilySearch Center. From Help, click Find Local Help; then type the name of your local FamilySearch Center and click Find.
- Discuss what situations would be best handled by each of the support situations listed.
BFind and access Ancestry help resources for your family history questions.
CFind and access Findmypast help resources for your family history questions.
DFind and access MyHeritage help resources for your family history questions.
EGet help for your own research tasks.
F(Optional) Explore the resources at a family history center.
- Visit a local family history center and talk with a volunteer. These services are free to all. To find a list of nearby family history centers, click here. To find a family history center anywhere in the world, click here.
- Use the free Premium website offerings at a family history center. These include full access to Ancestry, Findmypast.com, MyHeritage.com and others. See the full list of premium sites available at each family history center.
Goal 2: Get involved with genealogical societies for information and support.
Genealogy societies publish magazines, offer support groups, and provide a wealth of family history information.
AFind genealogical societies in the United States.
BFind international genealogical societies.
- Explore the FGS website (Federation of Genealogical Societies) for information about societies.
- See a list of genealogy societies on the Ancestry site.
- Refer to the "Get Help" goals in most of the Project 4 Country Pages for information about genealogy societies and social media groups for specific countries.
- See Project 4: Discover, Goal 1, Choice D for tips on writing to individuals and organizations for genealogy help.
Goal 3: Collaborate with others doing family history work. Vault
Working with others helps you get more done on your own work, as well as giving you the chance to help others. In the process, your data usually becomes more reliable, and you may form lasting friendships with those you partner with in family history.
AShare your family history efforts.
BWork with others on family history.
- Working with others requires planning. Make sure to divide up tasks and keep up communication to avoid duplicate efforts.
- Get family members or friends involved in collecting memories (photos, documents, stories, etc.) to be uploaded to FamilySearch.
- Divide up family lines for research, to avoid duplication of effort.
- Keep each other informed about progress achieved as well as roadblocks that remain.
- Get help from others online who are researching the same names. Watch this video for tips.
FS—Get Help from Others Researching the Same Name—3:59
- Study these resources for additional ideas about working with others on family history.
AC—Quick Tips for Increasing Collaboration—32:08
- Watch this video to learn how you can use descendancy research to find distant cousins who may want to help you with your research.
- Read this article to learn how to contact other FamilySearch collaborators. FS—Collaborating with Other FamilySearch Contributors LANG:
- Join the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) to keep in touch with others who are researching the same surnames as you are.
- * Good: Identify one or two collaborators for your family history work. Contact them and get started with your collaborative research.
- * Proficient: Same as above, with at least 5 collaborators.
- Discuss ways to collaborate with others on family history. Have students take notes on families, friends, or others to collaborate with.
COrganize or participate in family gatherings that promote family history.
DJoin an online user group or forum for a genealogy website.
Here are some noted user groups and online communities for genealogy and family history:
- Use the Member Connect feature in Ancestry to stay in touch with other Ancestry members who are researching common ancestors. For details on Member Connect, see this page.
- Post your genealogy queries on CousinConnect.com to get assistance from other researchers. You can also browse queries by country, region, or surname.
- For some simple tips on writing queries to online help groups, read this article.
OT—Good Quesry vs. Bad Query
- Explore the GenForum Message Board for answers to questions.
- On Facebook, contact the RootsMagic user group or the Legacy Family Tree user group for answers to questions on their respective software versions.
- Have students explore the links and make note of which user groups they might be interested in joining.
ECreate or join a family association.
Goal 4: Help another FamilySearch user with his or her family tree.
One of the joys of family history is "paying it forward"—sharing what you've learned with others, so they can move ahead faster in their work.
AUse the Help Others feature in FamilySearch.
- Have your friend send you his or her Helper ID number. This number is found in the person's Account Profile on FamilySearch. If the person can't retrieve the Helper ID for some reason, you can use the person's full name and birth date instead.
- On your Family Tree screen, click the Help Others link.
- In the Username tab, type the username and Helper ID of the person whom you are assisting. If you don't have the Helper ID, click the Full Name tab and fill in the First Name, Last Name, and Birth Date fields.
- Click Sign In. The Family Tree for your friend will be displayed, and you can browse and edit the data. Be sure to log out when you are finished.
- If you need to change your Help ID, a) Click your name (upper-right corner of the screen); b) Choose Settings; c) Change the value in the Help Number field; and d) Click Save.
- * Good: Use the Helper ID feature to assist one person with family history.
- * Proficient: Same as above, with two people.
- Have students pair up and exchange Helper ID numbers and then log in to each other's FamilySearch family trees. Important: After exchanging Helper IDs, make sure each student follows Step 5 and changes his or her Helper ID to a new value.