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Note: You may view and download the materials in this section for free, but do not post them on other sites without permission from The Family History Guide L3C.

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About The Family History Guide

The Family History Guide is a website that represents a best-in-class learning environment for family history. Its scope is broad, but its focus is narrow enough to help you achieve your goals, step by step. Whether you're brand new to family history or a seasoned researcher—or somewhere in between—The Family History Guide can be your difference maker.

Mission Statement: "Our mission is to greatly increase the number of people actively involved in family history worldwide, and to make everyone's family history journey easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable."

Here are some of the unique features you'll find on the site:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this site free?
    Yes. There are no fees or subscriptions for using the website or its contents. Getting more people involved with family history, and more effectively, is the mission of The Family History Guide.

  2. Does The Family History Guide accept advertising or promote commercial products?
    There is no advertising on the website. When we link to commercial websites, it is to highlight the free resources there. Exception: we link to commercial DNA testing sites, as there are currently no sites who produce reliable DNA results for free.

  3. What about copyright?
    The site and its materials are copyrighted, so please do not email or repost any of the content without written permission from The Family History Guide. For training use, see the Terms and Conditions page.

  4. Is this an LDS Church-sponsored site?
    No, this site is not sponsored by FamilySearch® or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is endorsed by FamilySearch and is recommended for training on Views expressed here are solely of its site owners.

  5. Is there information in the The Family History Guide for LDS users?
    Yes. Information about LDS items of interest is available in the LDS tab on the Home page.

  6. Does The Family History Guide contain genealogical records?
    No, but it helps you learn how to use the vast record sources at FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, etc. You can use a number of links in The Family History Guide to go directly to popular search pages by location or record type.

  7. May I add a link to The Family History Guide on my website or blog?
    Yes, in fact we encourage it.

  8. Are there links to other family history sites?
    Yes, there are many helpful links to tutorials, articles, and videos in The Family History Guide. See About the Projects for details.

  9. What if I have other questions about The Family History Guide?
    Use the Contact Us link on the Home page, or send an email to: for more information.

Computer Basics

Need to learn or refresh your basic computer skills? Click any of the links below to learn more and get prepared to work on your Family History Guide Projects. Vault

About Computers Basic Skills Windows Skills Mac Skills Internet Skills Other Skills

Family History Basics

New to family history? Click any of the links below to learn more and get prepared to work on your Family History Guide Projects. Vault

Family History Terms and Concepts

Guidelines for Beginners


FamilySearch Partner Access

For questions about partner access sign-ups, see the following FAQs:




American Ancestors


About the Projects

The 9 Projects in The Family History Guide are:

  1. Family Tree
  2. Memories
  3. Descendancy
  4. Discover
  5. Indexing
  6. Help
  7. Technology
  8. DNA
  9. Countries and Ethnic Groups

Each project has skills of learning and doing. You can apply these skills in many different ways, for many of your ancestors.

Learning and Doing

To help you with learning and doing your family history, each Project has Goals, Choices, Steps, and Resources.

  • Goals are activities you can work on, often for an extended period of time or for many ancestors. Think of these as learning objectives, rather than quotas.
  • Choices are different aspects of a Goal that you can try. These are often shown in a suggested sequence, but you can determine the order.
  • Instructions are the steps you follow to complete a Choice.
  • Resources are links to helpful articles and videos you can use to teach yourself important family history concepts and skills. (Learn more in Project Resources.)

Project Resources

Many of the Choices and Instructions in The Family History Guide link to documents and videos.

Try it: launch a video or document by clicking an icon from the list above.

Page numbers in parentheses, such as (p. 3-4), mean the information you need is on those pages. Page numbers without parentheses, such as 8 pgs., mean the document is 8 pages long. (No page number means the document is a web page.) Hold the mouse pointer over the document icon above; it directs you to page 3.

Icon video timings in parentheses, such as (3:00-4:30), mean the information you need is in that part of the video, so you can fast-forward to it. With no parentheses, such as 25:21, the timing refers to the total length of the video.

Tips: Many of the FamilySearch videos have accompanying handouts. When you open the start page for the video, you can launch the .PDF file (usually less than 10 pages) as an alternative to watching the video. Also, some videos have static screens at the beginning; for those, you can skip ahead a minute or so without missing much.

Online Tracker

You can keep track of your progress in The Family History Guide by using the Online Tracker (Misc. and More menus). After you create a free account, you can take notes online and set your progress status with handy slider bars. The changes you make, as well as the dates of your revisions, are automatically saved in our secure online database for your ongoing use.

Tracker (Word)

Each Project in The Family History Guide has a corresponding Tracker file that helps you keep track of the progress you have made with Goals and Choices for that Project. There are brief instructions at the top of the file to help you with using it. To download a Tracker, go to the Project you want and click the Tracker link on the left side of the page.
Note : The Tracker files are in Microsoft Word format so you can edit them. If you are using a Mac device, the Pages program or app can open the Microsoft Word file.

QUIKLinks for Country Pages

A handy feature of The Family History Guide is its QUIKLinks. These are links that take you directly to a given record collection or other link on the sites of FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, or Findmypast, without having to navigate through menus to find it. Here are some guidelines for using the QUIKLinks:

  • Record collections that exist on multiple sites do not have duplicate QUIKLink entries. For example, if a record collection exists in all four sites, it is only linked in the first area: FamilySearch.
  • Generally, record collections with fewer than 100,000 records are omitted. You can still find these collections on the given website, including records by province, state, diocese, etc.
  • Once you find a specific record collection, you may be required to log in to that site to view the records.

You can see an example of QUIKLinks in the left side of the United States country page.

The Vault

In addition to the videos and documents shown in each of the individual projects, there is a huge collection of additional resources waiting for you in the Vault. It contains categories you can expand or collapse, as well as links and titles for many helpful videos, documents, and websites not included in the Projects.