4 Changes to the Search Experience that Make It Easier to Find Records, Attach to Family Tree

April 27, 2020  - by 

Searching records on FamilySearch.org has never been easier! The latest updates to FamilySearch’s search experience improve the ability to refine searches, find record collections, and standardize record dates attached to persons on the Family Tree.

Many FamilySearch users looking for records start on Search Records page, which is found by clicking Records in the Search drop-down menu on the home page. To use the Search Records page, fill out one or multiple boxes with information such as an ancestor’s name, birthplace, or birth year, and click the Search button for a list of results.

A few improvements have been made to the search experience. Below are a summary of the changes.

1. Search for Multiple Relationships within Historical Records

Originally, when searching for records about a person, users could only search for one related person per relationship type (such as a spouse) at a time. However, now users can include two related persons per relationship type in their searches. In other words, a person can now be searched with the names of spouses, parents, or other persons (for example, children) at the same time.

search multiple relationships screenshot

For example, this update may be helpful for using children’s names to find census records.  This can work well for families with common names by having another name to more uniquely identify and locate that family in a census.  This may also be helpful for finding obituary records where multiple family members and others may be listed.

2. Refine Your Search without Returning to the Original Search Page

If users want to update and refine their search when they are searching with a collection-specific field—by searching Relationship to Head of Houseshold in the 1940 US Census, for example—they can now do this from the search results page instead of returning to the original Collection Search page. To quickly refine a search, users need only adjust the information in the left-hand column of the search results and then click Update.

3. More Flexible “Find a Collection” Search Experience

A new update to the Find a Collection feature makes it easier to search specific collections without knowing the exact collection name. Before the update, users were required to search for collections using the collection’s exact title. For example, instead of entering in “Alabama State Census, 1855” when a user wanted to search these records, the user can type in type in more general, less detailed keywords like “US Census Records” or “census records,” and the search experience will pull up a list of possible collections.

Broader search terms screenschot

4. Automatic Standardizing When Attaching Records

standardized dates screenshot

An update to the attaching records experience saves users time standardizing event dates and locations! Now, when users attach a record to a person, the attached record’s event dates and locations will automatically standardize.

The update also allows users the ability to edit the information that is attached as they are attaching the information.  This is especially helpful when the information on the record could be represented in a better way.  For example, the 1940 Census has a “Residence in 1935” field that is often filled with the words “Same House” or “Same Place.”  This new feature allows you to change it to the same location as listed for the residence in 1940.

Try out the updated search experience and see what new information you can find about your family!

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  1. Wonderfull update about automatically standardizing when attaching records and update that now users can include two related persons per relation type in our searches and also being able to refine our search without returning to the Original Search Page, and a new update to fine a collection. . Thanks Ramona Jenkins

  2. It would be very helpful if the “attaching records” as shown in example 4 above would allow us to update the family search information. For example if the birth information happened to be switched, such that the date and place were given in the record we’re attaching, and only a year and state were in the family search info it currently is not an option to move the full information over into family search in this “attaching” process, but requires us to copy the info and return to the details page to enter it. This could be done here instead.

  3. This is awesome! I love the changes to simplify the user interface. I’m excited to use the finding ancestors through multiple relations and tweaking the search criteria without having to go back to the original search page. I am thrilled with the new automatic standardize date and location feature because I have many errors and it takes time to go back and correct them. I realize I will still have to go back and correct the ones in the past but from now on, I will save a lot of time. Searching by a collection with a general reference instead of having to know the exact name of the collection is another great addition. Thank you family search for continuing to upgrade my experience at no cost!

  4. All good updates– Thanks to the engineers who work with the patrons to fill the many requests that come into FamilySearch. I have a request– I’ve thought about it fore several years. Since it is Memorial Day tomorrow and we have recently moved to an area that many ancestors once lived, I thought it would be fun to find our ancestors burial place. I tried to use Roots Magic and did get some results but just not what I was looking for; would it be possible to be able to locate my ancestors burial in one county or local area? We have a “view my relationship” – Wonderful! I would love to see that go just a bit further.
    BTW– I hardly ever use Roots Magic any more because I just don’t need it like I used to! FamilySearch Family Tree is so complete (nearly)!

  5. Your team does such a great job making Family History searching so efficient and I love the idea of automatic standardizing! Thank you for all your team’s efforts in bringing family history records right to our doorstep!

  6. thank you or letting us know about the new updates, I havent been on Family Search for a long time, but it has always been my GO TO Your GREAT!

  7. So grateful for the More Flexible Find a Collection search. The name and email fields are required below but will not allow you to type, or autofills with an email that is no longer in use.

  8. The only problem I have with the standardizing places is that some places aren’t in the standardizing.